Volvo V50 1.6D DRIVe 115HP SE LUX Edition Start/Stop
What is it?
SURPRISING, in quite a few respects – especially for those whose image of Volvos remains one of lumbering estates and dawdling drivers in trilby hats. Along with its C30 hatchback stablemate, the more practical and roomy V50 DRIVe estate represents Volvo’s first sub-100 grammes CO2 emitter. It thus escapes both VED and the London congestion charge, now that Mayor Boris has been persuaded to waive the latter on all sub-100 cars, not just hybrids.
Other virtues of the V50 DRIVe: 13% BIK company car tax, the feel-good factor of being solidly built – and a startling consumption rating of 74.3mpg combined, thanks to frugal 1.6 diesel with stop-start. Surprising, too, because it looks youthful and sporty inside and out, while handling quite well at the cost of a somewhat lumpen ride. And it’s faster than the figures suggest: lots of low-down torque provides quick point-to-point progress for business drivers on tight schedules.
Volvo’s biggest problem? “Persuading bums onto seats”, says sales director and acting md Nick Connor.
- Pricing competitive, starting at £21,995; £24,449 for SE Lux tested
- For business users, it’s the biggest sub-100grammes holdall by far
- Those statutory running cost savings. Plus, in the real world, still expect close to 60mpg
- The cabin environment: stylish design; good ergonomics; long-distance comfort
- Long-legged six-speed manual; well-muted diesel
- Clean-cut, assertive good looks – there’s even a front spoiler
- Brisk performance: 121mph, overtaking ability greater than 10.9 secs to 60mph suggests
- SE Lux has £2,170 equipment upgrade over predecessor, including full leather
- Business users rule: Volvo predicts 80% of its total UK sales will depend on fleets
- Not surprising as the V50 DRIVe qualifies for 100% first year capital allowances
- Ride quality could do with improvement
- Even on SE Lux premium paint is £795 extra
- Business user image issues – Volvo’s identity crisis
What you need to Know?
|Monthly Rental*:||339 (CH)/£407 (PCH)|
|Tax Band when posted:||13%, 13%, 14%|
|Monthly BiK:||Click link for BIK|
Monthly contract hire (CH) and personal contract hire (PCH) rentals generated by Concept Vehicle Leasing. Based on a 36 month lease at 10,000 miles a year, 3+35 payments.
Business Car Manager Road Test RatingOn running cost and BIK statistics alone, the Volvo V50 DRIVe makes an exceptionally strong case for itself to the business user. It also has a real quality feel, handles more briskly than many might expect – although no class leader – and its assertive styling provides welcome visual relief from the usual lower-premium crowd of small BMWs and Audis.
The discouragement for many will be confusion over Volvo itself. Discarded by Ford, sold on to China’s Geely and rebranded briefly last year as a hard-edged ‘Swedish BMW’, it is now being presented under the new but ambiguous catchphrase of “Scandinavian luxury designed around people”.
Volvo’s problem is indeed to persuade bums onto seats – at which point, however, the V50 DRIVe does a good job of selling itself.