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Ill wind blows Volvo’s Green Challenge

Next year: The diesel Volvo C30 DRIVe is expected to return a fuel-efficiency rating of just 3.8km/100km when it arrives in Australia about March.

Frugal Volvo C30 DRIVe out of Challenge but set for better 3.8L/100km fuel economy

8 Oct 2009

VOLVO Australia’s plans for a high-profile preemptive publicity strike for its new super-efficient diesel C30 1.6D DRIVe hatchback have been blown away by a North Atlantic Ocean storm that forced the cargo ship carrying the first shipment of the cars into port for running repairs on its way to Australia.

The delay means two cars that had been earmarked to carry Volvo’s hopes in this month’s 3000km Global Green Car Challenge between Darwin and Adelaide will miss the cut.

However, the good news for Volvo is that the facelifted version headed to Australian showrooms for sale from about March next year is expected to be even more efficient than anticipated, returning a combined average fuel figure of 3.8 litres per 100km – 0.1L/100km better than official figures of both the Toyota Prius hybrid and diesel Mini Cooper D.

In Europe, the car was launched with a combined figure the same as Prius and Mini D – 3.9L/100km – but tweaks in the recent facelift launched at the Frankfurt motor show have squeezed a little more efficiency out of the 1.6-litre three-door hatchback.

However, the C30 DRIVe is still expected to be pipped by Ford’s 1.6-litre diesel Fiesta Econetic, which will arrive on the market late this year with a claimed average combined fuel cycle figure of 3.7L/100km.

Volvo Australia elected to kick off its launch of the C30 DRIVe with the 2010 facelift C30, which has been given a more comprehensive than usual cosmetic update.

18 center imageAs GoAuto has reported, the makeover includes front and rear styling changes similar to those on the recently freshened C70 coupe-convertible and XC60. A fresh grille with Volvo’s new-look ‘iron mark’ badge, revised bumpers, headlights and front panels are among the changes.

Volvo Australia had hoped to showcase the current European version of the C30 DRIVe in the showroom car section of the Global Green Car Challenge that starts in Darwin on October 24, going head to head with other diesel fuel-misers such as Ford’s Fiesta Econetic and Mini Cooper D.

The timing for the project was so tight that the company had planned to off-load two of the C30 DRIVes from the ship from Europe in Perth and drive them straight to Darwin, running-in the engines on the way.

One of the cars was to have been driven in the event by former 500cc motorcycle world champion Wayne Gardner, with the other shared by journalists.

The best-laid plans came unstuck when a storm off the UK battered the ship, forcing it to dock in Durban, South Africa, for the cargo to be re-strapped.

Volvo Car Australia public affairs manager Laurissa Mirabelli said the company last week was forced to withdraw from the green event because of the delay.

“We just would not have had time to get the cars from Perth to Darwin and get them prepared with decals and so on, in time for the start of the event,” she said.

However, she said the car’s launch with the revised C30 range was still on target for the first quarter of next year – with even better credentials than anticipated.

Ms Mirabelli said Volvo Australia now expected the Australian version to achieve 3.8L/100km in Australia’s ADR 81/02 combined fuel consumption test instead of the 3.9L/100km of the current European version, thanks to some minor design changes In Europe, the Volvo C30 DRIVe’s 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 80kW of power and 240Nm of torque, driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.

The only diesel in the current C30 range in Australia is the 100kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel C30 2.0D, with a combined fuel economy rating of 5.9L/100km and CO2 emissions rating of 156 grams per kilometre.

Two five-cylinder petrol variants are the turbocharged 2.5-litre C30 T5 (169kW) and normally aspirated C30 2.4i (125kW).

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