What is it?
This is the road tax avoiding, planet friendly variant of the C30, Volvo’s stylish, compact, premium quality three-door hatch. In any form the C30 is something of a niche vehicle that’s tricky to pigeonhole alongside any obvious competitors, and has pricing to match its premium aspirations.
However, with a CO2 rating of just 99g/km from its 113bhp, 1.6-litre diesel engine, aided by assorted chassis and aerodynamic tweaks, and an official combined mpg figure of 74.3mpg, this DRIVe variant should at least be cheap to run.
What’s it like?
Never mind the Audi A1, Volvo has a case for arguing that it was a pioneer in the small but premium car segment with the C30. In the five years or so that it’s been around not a great deal has changed. It’s a fine looking car that drives well if without much in the way of driver involvement. The cabin is small but not too cramped and there’s just about room in the back for two adults, while the driving position is a little high for taller drivers. It’s also got a tiny boot and comes with a near incomprehensibly awkward to use roll-out luggage cover. And that’s about it.
What is different are this DRIVe model’s impressive green credentials. We recorded real-world figures approaching 60mpg on a short motorway run, and an impressive 50mpg on a 40-mile journey out from the centre of London. The trade off, of course, is that performance isn’t as enthusiastic as the more overtly sporting C30s. It’s by no means a slow car and makes a fine motorway cruiser, but it lacks both straight line and dynamic sparkle.