Fleet News

Volvo V70 D5 SE Geartronic

Volvo

Review

I LIKE buttons. There’s something about having lots of them on your dashboard which reassures you that you’re driving a car crammed full of gadgets.

Thankfully, Volvo’s V70 comes with enough of them to keep the most avid button presser happy.

The Volvo’s ‘buttons galore’ approach is in stark contrast to other premium executive estate cars, and in particular BMW’s 5-series, which sees most of its functions incorporated into the i-Drive system.

In our V70, there are upwards of 40 switches, toggles and buttons around the centre console and steering wheel, and that’s not counting the two, yes two, remote controllers which activate the satellite navigation (press a button on the remote and a screen rises out of the dashboard) and the television and hi-fi systems.

The TV and sat-nav are part of the £3,050 optional Communications Pack 2, which also incorporates the telephone system built in to the dash and Volvo On Call – a telematics system which can track the car if it is stolen and also automatically dials 999 if the airbags are deployed, alerting emergency crews to the location of the car.

It’s very clever stuff which gives the V70 a unique selling point for safety-conscious fleet managers in this sector.

While we’re talking about optional extras, our car has got a fair few, taking the price from a basic £28,413 to a whisker under £36,000.

Apart from the Communications Pack we’ve got a Geartronic automatic gearbox, the sublimely supple Inscription leather in dazzling Toscana tan, or bright orange to you and I, and metallic paint.

There are also water-repellent side windows which, to quote a phrase, do exactly what they say on the tin by clearing themselves of water when it’s raining, thanks to an extra slippery Teflon-style coating.

Another option is the iPod adapter to cash in on the vogue for the mini music marvels. Simply plug your iPod into the box located under the front centre armrest, tune your radio station to a certain frequency and, hey presto, instant access to your favourite tunes.

Alternatively, if you haven’t joined the iPod generation, load up the old-fashioned six-disc CD changer in the boot.

As well as being bang up-to-date with all the latest technology, Volvo has revamped matters under the bonnet. The D5 five-cylinder turbodiesel engine in our car now offers 185bhp, up 22bhp on the old version which continues in the range badged as the 2.4D.

It retains that characteristic Volvo warble but there’s now a lot more power at any point in the rev range. Early impressions are favourable.Channelled through the Geartronic gearbox, progress is effortlessly simple.

Despite having just a few hundred miles on the clock, the D5 unit feels nicely loose and is already returning combined fuel economy of 32.5mpg – not far short of Volvo’s claimed average of 35.8mpg.

There are some downsides to the driving experience, though. The engine is quite vocal at higher revs, and the ride is on the hard side thanks to stiff suspension and low profile 17-inch alloys. And the V70 has one of the worst turning circles of any car I’ve ever driven. It’s so bad that parking becomes something of a challenge and, if you don’t plan far enough ahead, requires several attempts to get the nose turned into a space.

But minor niggles aside, we’re looking forward to exploring the hi-tech gizmos.

Equipment and options

STANDARD

  • Cruise control
  • Information centre
  • ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution
  • SIPS (side impact protection)
  • WHIPS (whiplash protection)
  • Climate control
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Automatic headlights
  • Outside temperature gauge

    OPTIONS

  • Communications Pack 2: £3,050
  • Inscription leather: £1,700
  • Geartronic automatic gearbox: £1,250
  • Metallic paint: £575
  • Water-repellent laminated side windows: £390
  • Winter pack: £290
  • iPod adapter: £125
  • Rear cup holder: £35
  • Passenger airbag cut-off switch: £25
  • Warning triangle: £24
  • First aid kit: £20

    Total options: £7,485
    Standard price (OTR): £28,413 Price as tested: £35,898

    What we expect

    IF there’s one thing that Volvos are renowned for, it is comfortable seats. Our V70 is no exception, and allied to the new diesel engine and automatic gearbox, it should prove an exceptional long distance car. We’re also expecting strong economy, despite the D5’s lusty 185bhp five-cylinder engine. So far, we’re getting nearly 33mpg, which is encouraging for such a big, heavy car with so few miles on the clock.

    The manufacturer’s view

    ‘The V70 D5 is a critically important car for us. Two-thirds of V70 sales are to the corporate market and the D5 accounts for 64% of sales. With the latest improvements to power and torque we expect this engine to increase its dominance. In fleet, the V70 outsells estate versions of the combined sales of BMW’s 5-series, the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-class.’
    Ian Rendle, corporate sales manager, Volvo Car UK

    Model: Volvo V70 D5 SE Geartronic
    Price (OTR): £28,413 (£35,898 as tested)
    Mileage: 730
    CO2 emissions (g/km): 209
    Company car tax bill (2006) 40% tax-payer: £309 a month
    Insurance group: 14
    Combined mpg: 35.8
    Test mpg: 32.5
    CAP Monitor residual value: £9,900/33%
    HSBC contract hire rate: £570
    Expenditure to date: Nil

    Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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