First drive: Volvo S40 DRIVe 99g/km

DRIVe is Volvo's name for its range of low CO2 models, and the big news for the S40 range is that Volvo's aging small saloon now slips under the 100g/km C02 figure. This means zero road tax and low emmissions, which has to be a good thing with current increasing fuel prices. We took it for a drive to see what it's like.

Probably the biggest compliment we can give the S40 DRIVe is that it doesn't feel like a green car to drive. The first thing you notice is the revised, 99g/km 1.6-litre diesel engine's healthy 270Nm of torque that's available from just 1,750rpm. Luckily there's a gearshift indicator to control your right foot, as it feels far gutsier than you would expect.
Other key features that get the S40 below the magic 100g/km figure are the slick six-speed manual gearbox and an engine start/stop function which works so smoothly that you hardly notice it when it cuts in.

Sadly, compared to newer models such as the S60, the S40 does begin to feel quite dated both inside and out. Particularly bad inside the interior of the test car, was the optional pop-up sat-nav. The graphics are laughably bad considering it's a £1,535 option.

Still, if you're looking for an environmenally-aware, safe and VED free small saloon the S40 DRIVe is still worth a look.

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