Volvo C30 DRIVe: Inside story

Cabin fever!

It's rare that I emerge from the Volvo C30 DRIVe feeling exhausted after a long drive and, with the amount of miles I cover every week, that is an absolute blessing.

I commute from London to Peterborough every day - a trip of about 75 miles - and it usually takes me about an hour and a half unless there's a drama on the A1 and I am looking at spending up to two hours at a time in the car.

Because of this it's vital I have a car that's nice to sit in. Now that sounds stupidly simplistic, but of all the requirements this is the most important. It's no good turning up at work feeling exhausted before you've even turned your computer on.

Now you would think that most modern cars would be designed in such a way to make the driver feel comfortable, but that's not always the case. If I spend any more than 40 minutes in a MINI - any kind of MINI - I feel like I've been mugged. Audis are problematic for me too: for some reason the seating gives me backache. It's not like that for everyone but for me an hour - long drive in an Audi is more than enough.

No such problem with the seating in the C30. I can sit in there for three or four hours and feel fresh pretty much every time. Clearly it depends on how much attention you spend on your seating position but even after a colleague has changed the settings after using the C30 for a weekend, it only needs a few adjustments and I'm back in the right position.

The cabin layout too, is a paragon of sensible design. The heating and ventilation system is easy to understand - you'll have to be real divvy not to recognise the 'man' diagram for the directional fan - and the stereo controls are wonderfully simple. Shame that you can't get long wave, which isn't great if you like to listen to Test Match Special.

Wipers, cruise control and indicators all work sensibly (I do object to those ridiculous semi-auto indicators that don't click on) and there's never a saga when I want to adjust the rear-view mirrors because the button is perfectly placed. Quite simply, the C30 is paradise, until....

.... you want to work the lighting system.

I still haven't mastered the lights. Up until two weeks ago, I didn't realise that to switch off the daytime running lights you need to turn the ignition key to 'I, then just to ensure you don't leave the car with the lights on, you have to turn it clockwise again to the 'III' position and then off again.

I also found out by accident that to get the full-beam to click on without keeping your fingers pulled back on the stalk all the time, that you turn the rotary light switch to the far-right setting. Sure, you can read the manual, but even then it's not that clear.

I know I have moaned about this before but if Volvo wants ten out of ten for interior functionality it has to change its lighting controls. Until then, it gets nine.

Current mileage: 14,748

Average mpg: 50.9