With only 600 miles on the clock when it was delivered, the V70 needed another few hundred miles of careful driving to run it in properly. By the way, this is not through Volvo’s advice, but more from my own desire to treat an engine carefully for its first 1,000 miles.
So just as was I preparing to use the D5 engine’s full 185bhp, some idiot decided to drive into it on a roundabout.
The damage wasn’t too severe (see picture right), but the front nearside wheel had taken a blow and the car didn’t track straight and true, so I decided not to use it.
The repairs took about a fortnight – a week waiting for parts and a week to do the work – and the end result was a bill for more than £1,000, although this was covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Luckily the Volvo only needed two new parts – a front nearside wing (£146) and a new headlight unit (£211). The rest of the bill was made up of labour, VAT and some cosmetic repairs to the front bumper unit.
The fortnight’s break from the V70 saw me behind the wheel of some of the car’s key rivals in the shape of the Audi A6 Avant and a Mercedes-Benz E-class estate.
Soon after it became clear that the V70 can’t compete with these cars in its ride – our car is incredibly stiff and there’s little help offered by the dampers either. You really know about it if you hit a pothole in the road.
The transmission also isn’t as good as the automatic gearboxes offered in the Volvo’s German rivals.
The Geartronic unit should suit the torquey nature of the D5 engine perfectly, but it doesn’t. The ’box is far too eager to shift down one or two gears at the merest brush of the accelerator, which is not conducive to a relaxed drive.
Bizarrely, the manual gearbox is a far better companion, despite its long-throw shift.
However, I have no complaints about the new D5 turbodiesel engine. With 185bhp it’s right on the money in power terms in the class and, while quite noisy at start-up, it settles into a relaxed gait when in top gear on the motorway.
Model: Volvo V70 D5 SE Geartronic
Price (OTR): £28,413 (£35,898 as tested)
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: 33.2
CAP Monitor residual value: £10,375/35%
HSBC contract hire rate: £559 Expenditure to date: Nil