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Volvo S40 1.6D DRIVe S
Volvo's recent tweaks to its DRIVe eco trims were always going to get the thumbs-up from us. Its new stop-start system and various aerodynamic and mechanical changes over the old DRIVe model cut the CO2 output to 104g/km – a number many superminis with much smaller engines struggle to achieve. It also bumps up the average fuel economy to a seriously impressive 72.4mpg.

What about the other pollutants? With a NOx output of 0.164g/km and barely any particulate emissions, you can still cruise around with a clear conscience. Also, don't forget that the S40's ultra-low CO2 emissions mean it contributes far less to climate change than rivals.

No driving compromiseThink it won't be much fun to drive? You'd be wrong – the S40 will hold its own on rural roads, yet it's also comfortable enough for the motorway. It's no slouch, either – the 1.6-litre diesel engine under the bonnet produces 108bhp, so it won't struggle getting up to speed.

Being a Volvo, it's also safe as houses. There's traction control and an electronic stability programme to keep you shiny side up, with a full quota of front, side and curtain airbags to help protect you if you do have an accident. There are also ISOFIX points to keep the child seats safely in place, too.

There's enough room for four people to sit in comfort, and the boot will take most of your holiday gear without you needing to be a Tetris champion.

ECO-Nomical, Too
The 1.6D DRIVe S model is relatively cheap to buy next to its eco-trim rivals, so it won't make quite such a dent in your life savings – but there are other monetary benefits to the DRIVe version. You'll fork out only £35 a year for a tax disc because of its low emissions, and its low fuel consumption will mean you won't be paying for diesel quite so often, either. Its company car tax rates are temptingly low as well, no matter how big your monthly pay packet is.

However you look at it, the S40 DRIVe is a great choice – it's safe family transport that'll also help to keep the environment safe from harm.

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