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Geneva Motor Show preview: Volvo DRIVe models

Volvo extends 'eco' range with impressive results

Geneva Motor Show 2009: Volvo DRIVe range

Volvo’s updated DRIVe eco models will be at Geneva

Volvo will show an extended range of DRIVe eco models at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

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Currently the Volvo DRIVe range comprises special 1.6-litre turbodiesel versions of the C30, S40 and V50. But from the summer this will be expanded to include the much larger V70 and S80, plus new front-wheel-drive only XC60 and XC70 variants.

Start/Stop for C30, S40 and V50

First of all, however, the existing C30, S40 and V50 DRIVes are getting a stop-start system. This will see CO2 levels drop to just 104g/km for the C30, and 107g/km for the S40 and V50 – equating to just £35 annual road tax.

That’s down from 115g/km and 118g/km, respectively, and translates into fuel economy of 72.4mpg and 70.6mpg. Which means the C30 DRIVe matches the fuel efficiency of the brand new third generation Toyota Prius hybrid – albeit using diesel instead of petrol.

Helping power Start/Stop – as the system is labelled in Volvo speak – is a second, smaller battery. This helps keep the air conditioning and stereo going as necessary, and is a unique Volvo feature.

New regenerative charging keeps the both batteries topped up whenever the driver releases the accelerator, or applies the brake.

1.6 diesel for V70 and S80

The same engine that powers these smaller Volvos is now being introduced on the much larger V70 estate and revised S80 saloon.

The actual state of tune will be marginally different, and both cars get a new set of gear ratios – alongside the usual low rolling resistance car tyres and electric power assisted steering. The V70 also gets a new grille and lowered suspension.

The efficiency gains are impressive – 57.6mpg and only 129/km CO2 from such big cars is really commendable. But we will be interested to discover just how much this impacts the performance. Even a willing 1.6 turbodiesel is surely going to struggle against such bulk…

Front-wheel drive XC60 and XC70

Finally, the Volvo XC60 SUV and XC70 lifestyle estate will now be available with front-wheel drive instead of the usual four-wheel drive.

Combined with a specially revised version of Volvo’s 2.4-litre turbodiesel this will see CO2 emissions drop below the 160g/km ‘Writing Down Allowance’ for company cars that comes into force on 1 April. The XC60 becomes the first premium SUV to achieve this. The official figures are 47.1mpg and 159g/km CO2.

Full pricing and specification details will follow closer to the new DRIVes’ UK launch in the summer.


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