2010 Volvo DRIVe lineupEnlarge Photo
Following on its Paris Motor Show intro of a trio of highly efficient diesels dubbed DRIVe, Volvo adds more technology, one engine, and four models to the DRIVe portfolio. The point of these 1.6- and 2.4-liter diesel fuel sippers is economy and exceedingly low CO2 emissions; the smallest vehicle in this lineup earns about 60 mpg (converted to U.S. EPA numbers) while the biggest and heaviest SUV version gets 39 mpg by the same yardstick.
The funky C30 hatch, S40 sedan, and V50 wagon earn higher mpg this time around by virtue of a new engine stop/start system that yields four to five percent economy improvements in mixed use and up to an eight percent increase in fuel economy in urban driving. This trio is fitted with an auxiliary battery to power accessories when the engine is halted; as well, the regular battery is upsized in order to withstand 175,000 stop/start cycles.
2008 Volvo C30 DRIVe ConceptEnlarge Photo
New to the DRIVe lineup are the V70, S80, XC60 crossover, and XC70 wagon. The former two use the same 1.6-liter diesel engine, the latter use a version of Volvo's recently-introduced 2.4-liter diesel. Ouch, a 1.6-liter diesel in a full-size luxury sedan? Senior Vice President of Volvo Product Development Magnus Jonsson claims "these cars have perfectly adequate performance," but then again he's speaking to Europeans who are used to small engines and leisurely acceleration. The 2.4-liter's new fitment of piezo electric injection and quick-spooling turbos should help the portly XC60 and XC70 get underway in a more reasonable fashion.
The core concept of the DRIVe methodology takes an already frugal diesel and pairs it with tall-geared manuals, low rolling-resistance tires, improved aerodynamics, electric power steering pumps, and regenerative coasting and braking. Volvo claims all of its DRIVe models offer the "best environmental performance in their class."
2009 Volvo XC60Enlarge Photo