Volvo XC70

15 May, 2007 1:00am Chris Thorp

This next-generation Volvo XC70 is worth a look for family buyers who need an extra dose of versatility


While it enjoys huge popularity in its native Sweden, the XC70 is relatively rare in the UK. However, this next-generation version is well worth a look for family car buyers who need an extra dose of versatility. With final chassis and steering tweaks yet to be made, we'll have to wait until September to see if the XC70 can better the Audi A6 Allroad.
It's not just down to the V70 to remind buyers why estate cars are so special - which is why Volvo has built a rugged XC70 version, too.

Taking on Audi's A6 Allroad, the rough-terrain Volvo isn't a full-blown off-roader, but it's still surprisingly capable. The firm's own research suggests more XC70 models tackle mud than the bigger XC90s, so four-wheel drive is standard on all versions. What's more, approach angles and ground clearance have improved to offer even more go-anywhere ability.

Despite the new XC70's mud-plugging credentials, it doesn't look as rugged as its predecessor. With less black plastic trim at the front and a sleeker look all round, the new model has a more stylish but less chunky appearance.

Climb inside, and the XC70 is just as practical as the V70. Like the outgoing model, high-spec versions get over-sized stitching with leather trim, adding to the durable feel.

On the tarmac, the allroad model drives very much like the V70, but has a softer set-up. There's more body roll when cornering, but the ride quality is even smoother. However, our prototypes had a lack of feel through the over-assisted steering - the company insists this will be improved for production models. Buyers will get to choose between a 3.2-litre petrol engine or 2.4-litre D5 diesel power. It's the oil-burner that will be the bigger seller, thanks to 38.7mpg economy, bettering the petrol by nearly 14mpg. However, in the prototype, the powerplant lacked refinement at all speeds. Providing a flavour of both SUV and estate-car motoring, the XC70 still offers a fabulous mix of off-road ability and traditional practicality.

Key specs

* Price: £31,000 (est)
* Engine: 2.4-litre 5cyl, 182bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 8.8 seconds
* Economy/CO2: 38.7mpg/193g/km
* Equipment: Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Intelligent Driver Information System, ABS with brake assist, energy-absorbing frontal structure and interior
* On sale: September