Volvo XC70 review
The Volvo XC70 offers plenty of practicality, comfort and can tackle the rough stuff, too
The Volvo XC70 is a rugged 4x4 version of the V70 estate, much like the Audi A6 Allroad is to the A6. It has all the benefits of the standard estate car, including a large boot and well-appointed interior, but by raising the ground clearance and adding a four-wheel-drive system, it has moderate abilities off-road, too. To differentiate it and protect the bodywork, plastic cladding and metal sump guards are added. Longer travel suspension means the ride is even more comfortable, but you pay the price with bodyroll in the corners. As hard-wearing family transport without the stigma attached to full-size MPVs, the XC70 is an appealing option.
Our choice: Volvo XC70 D3 DRIVe
The Volvo XC70 formula is simple - take a V70 estate, jack up the suspension, add plastic cladding around the bottom edges and fit metal scuff plates at the front and rear. The result is dramatic though, giving the XC70 genuine road presence. There’s a sense of style inside the cabin, which is dominated by the floating centre console. The controls are well placed and easy to navigate, particularly the chrome ventilation buttons, which glow green at night.
The soft suspension of the XC70 means the ride is very comfortable - making it a relaxing way to tackle long trips. However, the steering is vague and there's more body roll than the standard V70 in the corners. Venture off road and the four-wheel drive system is impressive. With 210mm of ground clearance, it instills confidence when tackling rock-strewn tracks and rutted paths. The five-cylinder 121bhp D5 engine delivers good mid-range punch, but the 161bhp D3 unit is almost as good and much cheaper. The range-topping 300bhp T6 is fast but thirsty.
Volvo is famed for its unerring commitment to safety and the XC70 is no different - the V70 on which it's based scored an emphatic five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. In terms of reliability, electrical problems affecting the central locking and immobiliser systems are the main bugbear of owners. But problems with the engines and transmissions are few and far between.
The Volvo XC70 offer loads of room for rear passengers, and the boot has a low lip, long load space and flat-folding rear seats. A boot volume of 575-litres is larger than the Audi A6 Allroad, and that grows to 1,600-litres with the rear seats folded flat. There's some neat storage touches too, including a rubbish bin in the rear, and an umbrella holder on the tailgate.
If low running costs are top of your list of priorities, look no further than the 161bhp D3 DRIVe model. Fitted with a manual gearbox and other fuel saving tweaks it returns 51.4mpg and emissions of 144g/km - impressive for a car this size that can cover 0-60mph in 9.6 seconds. At the other end of the scale is the T6 model which returns just 26.7mpg and 248g/km. Servicing can be expensive and residual values aren't great - buying a diesel model is a better option.