Volvo C30 DRIVe

diesel car

Product details

Product name: Volvo C30 DRIVe

Reviewer: Carolyn Barry

Manufacturer: Volvo

Price: about $36,100

Size: 2 door

G Rating:


The C30 DRIVe is Volvo's latest foray into the modern diesel market and it certainly gives its competitors a decent run for their eco money. And it's certainly ditched the fuddy-duddy Volvo driver reputation. No Bloody Volvo drivers here!

It has the common eco features seen in other modern diesels - auto stop/start to save fuel at the lights, a gear change indicator to tell you the most efficient speed to shift gears and regenerative braking. As well, its styling is visibly aerodynamic.

The stop/start function is smooth and very quick to start. By the time you've shifted back into first, the car is purring and ready to go. Though it doesn't seem to have the engine pick-up that other modern diesels do.

Though the carbon dioxide emissions are lower than just about any car on the market in Australia (99 g/km), as with all diesels, CO2 is not the only concern – particulates (visible and invisible smoggy particles) are diesels' biggest environmental woe.

Volvo, like other European cars though, has a particulate filter that's made (unofficially) to EU5 standards, which cuts out 80-90 per cent of harmful emissions compared to having the EU4 standard, which most Australian cars currently adhere to.

Most impressively, Volvo's manufacturing plants in Europe are run with wind energy, making most manufacturing of the car carbon neutral. The cars are also about 85 per cent recyclable and made without heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium.

The test drive took the car through Sydney's busy traffic periods and using the auto stop/start function. Fairly economic driving didn't go anywhere near to matching the ADR figure for combined urban/highway driving at 3.8 L/100km. The best I got was 5.5 L/100km. Admittedly, this was urban only driving and Volvo doesn't yet have official ADR figures for urban-only, for comparison.

Functionally, the C30 DRIVe is not the most user-friendly. Its super safety frame makes for heavy doors, which, if you're not that tall, end up opening behind the driver, which adds a bit of difficulty getting out of the car. And while the back of the car looks meaty, the boot space is tiny.

Curiously, the ignition start is on the left side of the steering wheel, a position the mollydookers will love. But for right-handers, it's downright annoying.

The foot pedals are close together and fairly small - ideal for female drivers. But that's likely more who this car is aimed at. Tall blokes won't find this such a comfortable drive.

For the market it's aimed at, there are some tough competitors, particularly the Ford Fiesta diesel (ECOnetic) and the MINI Cooper D, but it is good value for money for a solid, smooth drive.

Quick stats:
Base price: $36,150 (5-speed manual)
Carbon equivalent emissions: 98 g/km
Fuel economy: 3.8 L/100km (combined highway/urban)
2 L, 4 cylinder engine
Modern diesel engine - Four-cylinder, 16 valve; DOHC turbocharged
Auto start/stop,
Brake energy regeneration,
Gear change indicator
0-100km/h in 11.3 seconds
Diesel particulate filter, made to EU5 standards
52 L fuel tank

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