Diesel And Hybrid Win Professional Driver Car of the Year Awards

The Volvo S80 D3 SE Lux is Professional Driver magazine’s Car of the Year for 2012.

The Swedish executive saloon has been voted the number one choice for the Chauffeuring and Private Hire industry thanks to an outstanding combination of luxury, safety and versatility.

The diesel-powered Volvo S80 also won the Executive Car of the Year category in the Professional Driver Car of the Year awards, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz E220 and the BMW 530d Gran Turismo. And the Volvo S80 was voted the overall winner ahead of the other category winners – including more expensive chauffeur cars, SUVs and MPVs.

The Volvo D3 is powered by the Swedish brand’s trusted five-cylinder turbo diesel engine, tuned to produce 136 horsepower out of its 2.0 liter displacement. It will return 65.7 mpg in the European combined drive cycle.

Mark Bursa, editor of UK’s Professional Driver magazine and chairman of the judging panel, said: “The Volvo S80 is a car for our times. It received a host of refinements last year. The sat-nav has been brought bang up to date, while subtle tweaks to the cabin have given a much more prestigious luxury feel. Rear legroom is excellent, and softer seats have enhanced the rear-seat experience. Factor in some excellent running costs, low CO2 emissions and a very keen contract hire price for chauffeurs, and the Volvo S80 makes so much sense for a very wide range of businesses. It’s solid and reliable enough to be a workaday private hire vehicle, yet up-market enough to handle executive chauffeur work.”

According to Bursa, the judges were impressed with the Volvo S80’s safety features, especially the City Safety system, which makes the car brake automatically at low speeds if the driver does not respond in time when the car in front slows down or stops. “It could save you a lot of money in repair costs and vehicle off-road time by avoiding urban bumps and scrapes,” said Bursa.

Professional Driver Green Car of the Year

Green Car of the Year was the second of the magazine’s new awards for 2012. Open to sub-99g CO2 cars with obvious “green” technology, this turned out to be a fascinating contest, with a range of different technologies going head-to-head.

As well as Toyota’s conventional parallel hybrid system, judges were able to try out Vauxhall’s range-extender hybrid Ampera; Peugeot’s 508 and 3008 HYbrid4 diesel-electric models, where the diesel drives the front wheels and the electric motor drives the rear; and battery-electric Nissan Leaf and Renault Fluence ZE.

The verdict was a resounding vote of confidence for Toyota’s tried-and-tested system, with the standard Prius edging out the new Prius+ compact MPV (Prius V in North America), with the Peugeot 508 HYbrid4 in third.

Mark Bursa said: “Toyota Prius is now well into its third generation, and the car is so well sorted now in just about every department. It outscored all conventional private hire cars too.”

More details are available on Professional Driver magazine’s Web site.

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