By on 2019-01-02 -
Volvo XC40 an
DESPITE the fact that the latest diesels have emissions as clean as petrol engines, governments have not caught on to this and are looking to ban them from city centres.
In turn, drivers worried about driving one in the future are turning away from them.
Add the recently government inflated massive price difference between the two, and diesel sales are falling fast.
Of course, petrol economy has also risen dramatically over the past few years, with the car manufacturers looking to squeeze as many miles as possible from every gallon.
Volvo's latest S60 saloon, which is being produced first in the USA, does not offer any diesel powerplants at all.
And that despite the fact that the corresponding V60 estate has some excellent diesels available in Europe.
High riding 4x4s and their many front wheel drive brothers sold mainly in diesel form up to now.
But the multi-award winning Volvo XC40 is capable of 45mpg in its sweet and tuneful 1.5 petrol turbo form, and it is such a good car that I can see it becoming the mainstay of the range.
It's also available with a 2.0-litre diesel that's capable of 58mpg of course, and this one also drives really well.
But my favourite is the petrol because it's a delight to drive in every way.
The engine is willing, gutsy and tuneful, yet smooth, quiet and refined as well - just like the rest of this family-sized SUV.
It pulls beautifully in the lower five of the six speed manual gearbox, and uses sixth as a cruising gear to save fuel.
This engine is only available with front wheel drive and a manual gearbox, but almost all the other models in the range can also be had with four wheel drive (4WD) and an automatic ‘box.
It seems that most buyers of SUVs are quite content with 2WD, which usually gives better economy and lower emissions of course.
There is a very slight thrum from the three cylinder turbo if it's asked to pull from under 1,500 revs, but this is a trait of many three cylinder units and most drivers would not even notice.
The XC40 feels great on the road, with very good grip and roadholding even in wet conditons, and excellent comfort even when driven along a poorly surfaced country road at speed.
It also soaks up the worst surfaces in town, and takes speed humps in its stride.
The best gears for overtaking safely are third and fourth which give excellent response from almost any speed.
Both exterior and interior are stylish and beautifully built, with soft feel materials all round the cabin, and plenty of rear legroom plus a very good size boot.
The high tech digital dash and standard vertical sat nav, climate and car function screens, both work brilliantly and other equipment, in Momentum Pro guise, should be enough for just about anyone.
This includes Bluetooth, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, cruise control, heated and electrically adjusted driver's seat, headlamp washers, active headlights that turn with the steering and a heated windscreen.
And as with all Volvos, it comes with a raft of electronic safety devices in the standard City Safety pack, including the ability to detect vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals ahead, and then alert the driver.
If the tech detects an imminent collision, it will even automatically apply the brakes!
Mechanical: 156bhp, 1,477cc, 3 cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via 6 speed manual gearbox
Insurance Group: 22
C02 emissions: 144g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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