Volvo Car Corp. will unveil its all-new C30 hatchback at the Paris auto show this week.

The C30 turbocharged small car debuted as a concept to great acclaim at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Based on Ford Motor Co.’s C1 global architecture, it will go head-to-head with compact competitors such as the Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI.

The entry-level C30, which goes on sale in the U.S. in mid-2007, is designed to attract new buyers to the Swedish luxury brand, officials say.

“The compact format has not prevented us from integrating much of what is best in larger Volvos,” says Hakan Abrahamsson, C30 project manager. “Most of all, it is engineered to offer best-in-class safety.

“Although the C30 is 8.7 ins. (22 cm) shorter than the S40, it has the same safety level as (the S40), even with respect to rear impacts,” he says. “The body structure is designed in the same way to contribute controlled deformation, and the inner protective systems are similar.”

Different grades of steel are used in the front structure to distribute impact forces in a controlled way. In addition, Volvo engineers use a transverse mounting to prevent the engine from intruding into the passenger cabin in a crash.

Volvo also includes its Side Impact Protection System with side airbags and inflatable curtains. The Whiplash Protection System also is standard on front seat headrests to help prevent injuries.

Depending on the model selected, the C30 weighs 2,604-3,095 lbs. (1,204-1,404 kg). It is 168 ins. (425 cm) long and 70 ins. (178 cm) wide. Wheelbase is 104 ins. (264 cm).

The C30 will be available in the U.S. with 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions and an electronically controlled 5-speed automatic. In Europe, Volvo will offer six gasoline and four diesel-engine options, depending on the country.

However, only a 2.5L T5 light-pressure turbocharged I5 engine will be available in the U.S. The T5 generates 220 hp at 5,000 rpm and 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque at 1,500-4,800 rpm. Acceleration from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) is 6.7 seconds with the manual transmission and 7.1 seconds with the automatic.

Volvo will build the C30 at its Ghent, Belgium, plant on the same platform as the S40 and V50.

Price will be announced about 10 days before the vehicle goes on sale, but the C30 is expected to be Volvo’s lowest-priced model, slotting in under the S40, which bases at $24,240.

Volvo is forecasting 60,000 sales worldwide in the C30’s first full year. U.S. volume won't be available until later in the year, but Volvo Cars of North America LLC generally sells 25%-30% of worldwide volume.