Jul 21 2009 Peter Hayward
Volvo's DRIVe for greener motoring
VOLVO'S latest idea is to launch DRIVe ultra green versions of many models including the C30 coupe.
This uses a refined version of the Peugeot 1.6 turbo diesel with automatic stop/start which manages an excellent 72 miles per gallon, and just 104g/km of carbon dioxide.
That's among the very lowest emissions on the market but in doing it, the company has maintained the car's drivability, so that it's slightly quicker to 60 miles an hour than the standard 1.6 diesel.
It has plenty of urge and although the engine can be heard when under load, it's never over loud.
Handling and road holding are both superb, with almost no roll, tremendous grip on dry roads and very positive and direct power steering.
Comfort is also good except for a slightly unsettled ride at slow speed in town.
Safety is up with the best you can buy and the svelte shape, with glass tailgate harking back to the P1800 of the 1970s, has grown on me.
It comes with a good level of equipment in SE guise, including air and alloys, stability control and good seat height adjustment. But being a low three door, access into the back is not easy.
Like all Volvos it also comes with On Call - a system which links to a call centre for directions or other help and even calls the emergency services if you have an accident!
Volvo C30 SE
Mechanical: 108bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Combined mpg: 72
Insurance group: 8
CO2 emissions: 104g/km
BIK rating: 18%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
Main rival: Ford Focus Econetic