Feb 1 2010 Peter Hayward
Volvo offers great economy
VOLVO'S S40 DRIVe is the economy model of the range with a 1.6-litre diesel borrowed from Peugeot and tuned for very best fuel sipping.
I expected it might have pedestrian performance but I was agreeably surprised at the turn of speed it offered when pressed.
The engine can be a little grumbly from low revs but smoothes out above 1600 and is barely noticeable as a diesel most of the time.
This car was fitted stop/start as well as the super frugal engine, so it is said to be capable of an average of 72 miles per gallon, which is truly amazing.
Even around town I managed to get it over 50mpg so I would say that 70 is within reach.
Low emissions of just 104g/km also being it down to just 13% company car tax and annual road tax of £35.
Yet it doesn't feel like a small car, with a comfortable ride and very safe road-holding and handling.
Obviously, it comes with all Volvo's superb built-in safety, and it is also reasonably equipped in 'S' form, with the usual electric pack, climate, reach and rake adjust steering, and automatic folding mirrors.
It also comes with MP3/iPod connection, alarm system and split-fold rear seats.
Mechanical: 108bhp, 1,560cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine driving the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
Combined mpg: 72
Insurance group: 9
CO2 emissions: 104g/km
BIK rating: 13%
Warranty: 3 years/ 60,000 miles
Main rival: VW Golf BlueMotion, Ford Focus ECOnetic