Volvo DRIVe Diesel gets 53mpg – and I can’t have one

At long last, Volvo buyers can rejoice as the company introduces its high-mpg, low-emissions diesel DRIVe series at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The DRIVe variants of the C30, S40 and V50 are factory-ecomodded diesels that beat all European emission standards while delivering 53 mpg or better, depending upon the model. The new Volvos promise to be a hot seller for those who would rather do without the excitement of a Mini or reliability of a Toyota.

Provided, of course, they live in Europe

Volvo says the it boosted fuel economy by reducing drag and rolling resistance while improving transmission and engine efficiency. Much of the fuel savings come from attractive drag reduction techniques…Tweaks include dropping the chassis heigh 10mm, covering the radiator grille, adding wind deflectors in front of the wheels. Underbody panels improve airflow under the car. The transmission got revised ratios and lower-friction oil…Taken together, the small adjustments have helped us achieve our aim.” Volvo calls it a “holistic approach to eco-performance.”

Beyond improving fuel economy, the mods cut C02 emissions to no more than 118 grams per kilometer. For comparison, the Prius emits 104. Eco-benefits aside, we must admit the spoilers, lowered ride height and diamond-cut “Libra” rims make for one damn fine lookin’ Swede. Most importantly, the price premium for the DRIVe modification is between 150 and 450 euros ($210-630). For now, that’s a better value than any hybrid, though it doesn’t mean Ford’s dropping its investment in gas-electric drivetrains. Of course, the DRIVe series cars are available only in Europe, although it seems a few smog controls on the 1.6 liter diesel engine they use would make them ready for the United States.

When you RTFA – please note the folks writing the article must have flunked arithmetic in 2nd grade. My conversion of euros is correct – theirs isn’t.

Oh, how I wish, I wish, these critters were available Stateside. My wife’s 240DL is one of those which refuses to keel over; but, I might be able to tempt her with one of these.

And as I always say, I’d love a platform like this converted to a compact pickup.

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