The Volvo C30 range substantially undercuts its nearest rivals, the Vauxhall Astra GTC and Renault Mégane Coupé, with a range starting at around £15,000.

For that you’ll get a fairly pedestrian 2.0-litre petrol engine, so you’ll need to up the budget by another £3000 to unlock the most impressive performer in the range – the 1.6-litre diesel.

Vicky Parrott

Deputy reviews editor
The C30 is well equipped

In it’s DRIVe guise, it emits 99g/km, making it road tax free, but even in the slightly cheaper D2 model, emissions are only 114g/km. For those who drive in London, it’s worth spending a little extra for the DRIVe model – it’ll pay for itself in C-Charge savings in a few months.

All of the diesel engines can return more than 55mpg, Volvo claims, with the DRIVe’s start-stop system helping to reduce the official figure to 74.3mpg, although without it, consumption is still 65.7mpg.

All C30s come with alloy wheels, powered door mirrors, climate control with pollen filter and an auxiliary input for an MP3 player. Most models receive cruise control and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

Fortunately, Volvo doesn’t discriminate on safety equipment – the C30 scored a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests – a full array of airbags, a whiplash prevention system and a passenger airbag deactivation switch are all standard across the range.

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