Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe

SE

Volvo C30, rear
Volvo C30, front
Volvo C30, interior
Volvo C30, side

BACK in the dim and distant past Volvo developed a penchant for presenting cars of a certain style and shape.

That was a time when Volvo models were instantly recognisable via the battleship grey livery and decidedly sharp appearance.

Today things are different and the current Volvo line up includes a three-door compact executive hatch that is a million miles away from the earlier scenario.

In fact the Volvo C30 shapes up well in a sector currently bossed by the likes of the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra.

The C30 wallows in a style that stands out a mile, its swooping nose and distinctive, neat looking rear domianted by a huge glass tailgate.

The modern look of the cabin bears all the Volvo quality hallmarks, the C30 sharing the neatly applied and easily navigable dashboard with its S40, V50 and C70 stable companions.

Although strictly a four-seater, the C30 has plenty of room inside and while the boot is agreeably shaped but perhaps a little shallow, there is a decent 433 litres for your luggage extending to 947 litres with rear seats folded.

A decent kit manifest includes climate control, electric front windows and radio/CD, while the mid range SE model driven here also adds cruise control, trip computer, front fogs, parking and rain sensors plus that extremely thoughtful bit of extra safety for the driver, steering wheel audio controls.

Powered by a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine, the car proved very user friendly with sub 100 CO2 emissions and some hugely impressive mpg figures of 70 plus.

Along with special low-drag alloys and low resistance tyres, Volvo's start/stop system helps economy by stopping the engine when the driver engages neutral. When ready to move off, depress the clutch and the engine fires back up - simple!

While Volvo's official figures for this system do promise 74.3mpg, according to the on board computer I was perhaps around 20mpg shy of the official figure.

Nevertheless, the C30 is a handsome head turner and despite a ride some may deem to be a little on the firm side the C30 proved a fine motorway motorway cruiser.

This is a fine effort overall from Volvo as it continues to joust with the likes of the Focus, Golf and Astra and the C30 has enough about it to be an alternative even to the latest Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series.

FAST FACTS

Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe SE

Price: £23,330

Mechanical: 108bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 10.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 74.3

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating: 14%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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