Volvo V50: Fuel economy

Beating the official figure

A series of long drives has allowed the V50's diesel engine to get into its stride on the motorway and has resulted in good economical motoring.

The 136bhp diesel engine is strong and refined. It is used in numerous cars from Ford, Citroen and Peugeot as well as other Volvo products.

It produces 236lb-ft of torque from 2000-3250rpm so always feels responsive from fairly low speeds.

The six-speed gearbox helps aid refinement and fuel economy at high speed, but the gearchange isn't as slick as on, for example, an Audi A4.

Travelling without a trip computer, I made sure to concentrate on driving economically. One of the best ways to ensure good fuel economy might sound a bit obvious, but it is driving more slowly.

Never exceeding the speed limit will help. Tests have shown significant differences in fuel consumption at 80mph compared with 70mph.

When I decided to refuel, the odometer was showing 488.9 miles since it was reset when the previous full tank of diesel was put in.

I was surprised to see it take on exactly 45.46 litres before the tank was full, which equates to precisely 10 gallons.

It resulted in an easy sum to work out the fuel consumption: 488.9 divided by 10, making it almost 48.9mpg. This is an improvement of 0.2mpg over the official combined cycle figure provided by the manufacturer.

Repeating this feat won't be so easy unless there are long journeys involved. The best I can seem to do in my drive between home and the office is about 44mpg because of the nature of the driving imposed by the volume of traffic at peak times.

However, it shows those official figures that are produced on a rolling road can have some relevance in day to day driving.

Current mileage: 3013

Average mpg: 48.9