Frugal 1.6 engine strikes balance between power, fuel economy in Volvo’s C30


The newcomer in Volvo Car South Africa’s C30 range may be seen as the junior of the three C30 derivatives in terms of engine size, but the 1,6-litre four-cylinder power plant strikes a good balance between performance and fuel economy.

Mounted transversely in the engine bay of the C30 1.6 is a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1 596 cc. It reaches peak-power of 74 kW at 6 000 rpm and its maximum torque of 150 Nm is delivered at 4 000 rpm.

Power is delivered to the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission with a fuel-saving fith-gear ratio of 0.878.

The cast-iron double overhead camshafts service two inlet and two outlet valves for each cylinder and are covered by a plastic cylinder head cover. Both the cylinder head and cylinder block are manufactured from die-cast aluminium to reduce engine weight, with light metal alloy pistons that are graphite coated to minimize friction, noise and vibration. The camshafts are driven by a crankshaft with a chain, which does not need replacement during the service life of the engine.

The double platinum coated spark plugs of the 1.6-litre engine can operate for 60 000 km before they need to be replaced, and an oil change has to be done at the regular service intervals of 20 000 km.

The inlet manifold’s pipe system consists of glass fibre reinforced polyamide plastic, with all inlet pipes of equal length. The benefits of using glass fibre reinforced polyamide plastic are:

  • Reduced thermal transfer to the injector valves, which reduces the risk of vapour locks. The fuel distribution pipe is mounted on the inlet pipe in stead of on the cylinder head;
  • Reduced weight;
  • Reduced fuel condensation on the walls of the inlet pipe with a cold engine; and
  • Reduced heating of the inlet pipe with a warm engine.

The outlet manifold’s pipe is tuned so that the gas flow from the cylinders does not disturb each other and create a push-back effect to the combustion chambers.

The 1.6-engine’s catalytic converter is located directly on the exhaust manifold and features double ceramic monoliths. This placement halves the heating time with a cold start, which helps to minimise the increased emissions which results from a cold start.

The three-way catalytic converter stores the oxygen in the exhaust gases and uses it to make the toxic gases more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, optimum control of the fuel system components keep substances such as nitrous oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) as low as possible.

Through “fuel trim” – a term to describe the process where the Lambda sensor, an invention introduced by Volvo in the 1970s, and the engine control module is used to calculate the best possible fuel/air mixture – the exhaust emissions is kept as clean as possible under any given driving conditions. To achieve this, the fuel injection period is constantly monitored and altered for different operating conditions.

A fuel consumption figure of 7.0 litres/100 km was recorded by Volvo in a mixed European test cycle (combination of open roads and urban traffic), which gives the C30 1.6 a long-distance range of about 780 km with its 55 litre fuel tank. CO2 emissions of the Volvo C30 1.6 were measured at 167 g/km.