Fleet News

Volvo V70 Bi-Fuel LPG 2.4 SE - 7,450 miles

Volvo

Review

ISN'T it funny how your tastes change as you get older. In my teens and early twenties, I categorised Volvo drivers as either fat businessmen who obviously didn't know a thing about cars or ladies of leisure who used their cars to trot down to Marks and Spencer to stock up on vol au vents and fancy French wine.

In short, I ridiculed them – their cars were huge and cumbersome and were bought as a statement of wealth and importance.

But my teenage years are a long distant memory now – carefree summer holidays that went on for ever, Walker's crisps at 15 pence a packet and Kylie Minogue with curly hair enjoying her first brush with singing fame belting out hits such as I Should Be So Lucky.

But back to the present time and I'm approaching 30, Kylie is back again and, shock of shocks, I actually quite like Volvos and, in particular, our long-term V70.

I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or because Volvo has abandoned the set square and introduced some curves into its design but the V70 suits me down to the ground. It's a big, imposing vehicle which is a comfortable companion on my daily commute into work which covers dual carriageways and B roads.

The seats in particular are ideal for racking up the business miles in comfort and have the added benefit of being heated which soon warms up your hind quarters on a cold morning.

So far, so good, but here comes the 'but'. I'm afraid I can't get on with the Bi-Fuel aspect of our car. Having both petrol and liquefied petroleum gas may be good for my green credentials but I've yet to fill up with gas.

Perhaps it's because I've never done it before but I'm quite wary of filling up with gas. So whenever the fuel light comes on, I just fill up with petrol.

The only trouble is, the Volvo's petrol tank only accepts about £20 of unleaded, leaving you with a very short range. However, on a tank of gas (kindly replenished before I took the car over), I managed to complete a whole week's driving on a single fill-up – equating to about 200 miles of driving.

What is impressive, though, is the imperceptible change between petrol and LPG – the car feels as powerful when running on either fuel. In a couple of years' time, when perhaps I may have a family of my own, I would consider a V70 on my choice list, but I'd go for Volvo's excellent D5 diesel engine instead.

Full marks to Volvo though, for being one of the few manufacturers prepared to invest in bi-fuel motoring.

Company car tax bill 2002 (40% taxpayer): £167 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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