The Tesla was fascinating, but my favourite car of the at the SMMT Test Day South on 25 Sept was the Volvo D4 SE (£25,770, as tested £33,620).
I used to love Volvos, and I’ve had a few, including an 1800S (Saint car) a 140 and a huge square (thirsty) 260 estate with leather seats that drove like a Yank tank. I’ve always yearned for an Amazon saloon like the little beauty I spotted in Bath recently (below right), but they're pricey these days.
I’ve always admired the Swedish maker’s individual style and dogged pursuit of safety and quality. But I lost interest when it was swallowed up by Ford, and felt sad when it was sold on to Chinese car maker Geely.
It did cheer me up, though, that Geordie ex-Volvo designer Peter Horbury, who made Volvos curvy in the 1990s moved to Geely in 2012, so Volvo is back under his wing.
It’s also good to know that, having used Ford engines while it was part of the empire, Volvo is not simply purchasing engines from another maker. It is developing its own range of engines, and they are being built at Volvo Cars' engine plant in Skövde, Sweden.
The Drive-E ‘modular’ engines share sections, and will allow for electrification in the future, and Volvo insists no engine in the range will have`– or need – more than four cylinders.
The new 4-cylinder engines offer higher performance than previous 6-cylinder units and deliver better fuel consumption than the current 4-cylinder generation. Fuel economy savings range from 10 to 30 per cent, depending on which engines are being compared.
The V40 D4 I drove at the SMMT day had the new 190hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, and felt lively, responsive and fun. It’s also a stylish car with a high-quality interior.
I think I may be becoming a Volvo fan again.