Arrived: Aug 2009 List price (including options): £20,245 Average economy: 45.9mpg
The Volvo S40 DRIVe has been -
Leaving us with a sort of turquoise feeling: it's not been quite as green as we thought, and we're only slightly blue it's leaving. See, turquoise.
We really wrote our goodbye thoughts last time around, so we don't need to go over that again. Instead, we're going to leave the Volvo by presenting a couple of realities.
We're loving the -
Volvo's ability to swallow up a surprising amount of stuff while staying relatively tidy looking. We pride ourselves here on not using our long termers as rubbish bins, which you might not think very realistic, but there you go. When the nice man came to collect the Volvo, we figured we'd have to rescue a couple of CDs from the glovebox, and maybe a couple of stray pennies, such was the clean clutter-free state of the Volvo's cabin.
One black bin bag and a repeat trip to the car later, and everything the S40 had engulfed was secreted, comprising:
One bottle of de-icer; the remnants of one McDonald's happy meal; £2.45; a child harness; a foldaway child seat; a pink hat; four wedding order of service cards; an empty bottle of water; 13 parking tickets (legal ones); a coat; a pushchair rain cover; a broken watch strap; five receipts; a WHSmith voucher; five CDs; a leather coaster; a hair bobble; two pens; a tyre repair invoice; and a nursery accident report form. Like I said, it looked empty.
They call that 'real world road testing'.
But not so impressed by -
Fuel economy. Bored of that yet? The second thing we've done for this report is actually worked out, using numbers and a calculator, the S40's overall mpg average. It's 45.9mpg. Sure, that's very good for a car of the Volvo's size and comfort, but way behind the numbers quoted as 'combined'. Many of the miles were done first thing in the morning, which could explain why the start/stop didn't often work (too cold).
If you're interested, that's the average of 2,935 miles between September and late December, consuming 63.88 gallons of diesel at a cost of £329.38. Our record keeping went a little fuzzy in January, if we're honest, so we discarded that month for our calculations.
We're looking forward to -
Spending time in our almost directly opposed long-termer, the MINI Clubman JCW. The main question when we took on the S40 was, basically, 'can a small saloon with a small diesel engine cut it as a modern family wagon, when there are niche cars everywhere vying to make this sort of thing obsolete?'
The answer is 'sort of.' There's noting wrong with the S40, but we still found ourselves missing a hatchback, and missing acceleration. Well, we'll get both of those things with the JCW - a niche vehicle if ever there was one. I know I'll enjoy it when I'm alone, but will I be cursing its boot like I was the S40's when it's time to load the two kids and the buggy in? Watch this space.