First drive: Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe

* On sale now * Price from £16,552 * Small, swift, but pricey...

31 December 2008

First drive: Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe

Pity those poor marketing types who have to come up with a snazzy new name for their 'green specials'. Most of the eco and blue names have been taken, so Volvo has come up with DRIVe which, of course, should be pronounced drivey!

At the moment, only the C30, S40 and V50 ranges benefit from the selection of engine, gearbox and aerodynamic tweaks that result in economy hikes and emissions drops, but they may well work up the Volvo range in due course.

We're concentrating on the C30, which has had most work done to achieve an impressive 115g/km and 64.2 average mpg.

New front, rear, underside and wheelarch spoilers work with the snazzy flush alloys to cut drag, while tweaks to the engine's electronics, longer gear ratios and the addition of low-rolling-resistance tyres also do their bit.

The end result is a very driveable diesel thats refined and punchy the gear ratio tweaks make it quicker than the standard 1.6 diesel which, incidentally, has been deleted to make way for the DRIVe.

Otherwise, its pretty much standard C30 fare it's a smart, small hatchback with a classy cabin and decent kit, but it has only four seats and not much of a boot. In spite of its jazzy looks, it's not the last word in sporty hatches and the ride is a bit jiggly around town, but its pleasantly refined and reasonably comfortable.

You cant argue with the economy and emissions advantage of the DRIVe, or that it costs only 400 more than the entry-level 1.6 petrol car. Yet, at over 15,000, its still quite a pricey small hatchback.

Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe
On sale Now
Price from £16,552
You'll like Small, classy, swift and eco-friendly
You won't A bit pricey; rough ride