Volvo has upped its game with its DRIVe range, which offers its premium models with green credentials.
The Volvo V50 DRIVe, starting at £18,845, has a 1.6-litre diesel engine with 104g/km CO2 and official figures of 72mpg combined. In reality, it did an average of 53mpg.
Volvo expects to sell 8,000 V50s this year, with DRIVe models representing almost a third of volume.
It is aimed at young professional people, perhaps with a young family, or soon-to-be parents.
E CO2, 61.4mpg and costing £16,915. There also the
Ford’s Focus estate ECOnetic 1.6 TDCi, priced at £19,045 with 115g/km CO2 and 65.7mpg.
The Swedish carmaker said consumers would buy V50 DRIVe over its competitors because “it’s the lowest CO2 emitting premium estate currently on the market as well as its combination of style, design, practicality and premium brand quality”.
V50 DRIVe offers three specs – S, SE and SE Lux. AM test drove the SE which offers cruise control over the S model. Leather seats are an extra at £600; on S models these cost £1,200.
SE Lux has leather seats as standard.
Extras on all specs include rear parking sensors (£350), sat nav (£1,600), electric sunroof (£700) and metallic paint (£525).
Behind the wheel, the 1.6-litre diesel engine drives well on B-roads and motorways alike.
Volvo’s interiors remain a firm favourite with a smart, simple and efficient central console.
The consumer view
The engine management system has been updated to enhance economy over performance, and the gearbox gets longer ratios. In addition, a dash indicator tells you the optimum time to change gear.
This takes into account road conditions and if you follow its lead, you never feel as if you’re shifting too early. Nor do you get the
sensation you’re driving a car biased towards economy. However, the engine is a bit clattery and the chassis changes have done nothing to improve the V50’s harsh ride or lifeless steering.
So, here is the incentive: 118g/km CO2 = £35 VED; an official combined fuel figure of 62.8mpg (DRIVe R-Design), allied to sensible, ‘real world’ driveability.
I can detect a sense of responsibility... and, yet, there is no trade-off in terms of on-road performance, trim quality or status. The only outward signs lie in the subtle ‘DRIVe’ badges and aerodynamic alloy wheels.