Econ­omy and class

Volvo’s bril­liant new diesel is a sign of things to come, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THE wheels are the first hint that some­thing is dif­fer­ent about this new green Volvo. The two-door C30 DRIVe hatch runs fu­tur­is­tic plate-style wheel cov­ers that are said to re­duce tur­bu­lence and im­prove fuel ef­fi­ciency. And that is what this car is all about: econ­omy.

It sips a claimed 3.8 litres of diesel for ev­ery 100km, giv­ing it a con­ceiv­able cruis­ing range of 1300km on a sin­gle 52-litre tank and pro­duc­ing only 99g of CO2 for each kilo­me­tre it trav­els.

The only car more eco­nom­i­cal on Aus­tralian roads is the diesel Fi­esta ECO­netic.

So the Volvo beats any hy­brid on sale and even the tiny three-cylin­der Suzuki Alto, as well as point­ing to a se­ries of fu­ture Swedish cars that will also carry the DRIVe badge.

Value

THE DRIVe ver­sion of the C30 costs $36,990, about $12,000 more than the smaller Fi­esta, so it’s one of the bet­ter-value Volvos in re­cent his­tory. It’s re­ally cheap at the fuel pump.

How­ever, it’s a Volvo so it also comes with a host of safety fea­tures, plenty of crea­ture com­forts and ex­cel­lent build qual­ity.

Technology

THE DRIVe gear in the C30 is built around a stop-start sys­tem for the en­gine and a re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing pack­age.

The stop-start technology au­to­mat­i­cally switches off the en­gine when the ve­hi­cle is sta­tion­ary, even for only a cou­ple of sec­onds. In other diesel cars, such as the Mini, this sort of sys­tem feels jerky, but Volvo claims a worth­while econ­omy ben­e­fit of up to 8 per cent. If you find it an­noy­ing, you can turn it off with the but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole, though you will have to do that ev­ery time you start the car be­cause it de­faults to on.

The stop-start sys­tem’s econ­omy drive is aided by the re­gen­er­a­tive sys­tem that charges the bat­tery as soon as the driver brakes or takes the foot off the ac­cel­er­a­tor, re­liev­ing the en­gine of that func­tion and thereby re­duc­ing fuel con­sump­tion.

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