Sometimes a long-term report can have some big stories to tell.
Like how the V70 estate averaged 34.9mpg but was incredibly easy to coax up to 40mpg with a light foot on a long journey.
Then there was the surprisingly heavy steering I noted when taking over the vehicle from a colleague.
Preparing it for a skiing trip to France, I inflated the tyres to the recommended (and surprisingly high) 39psi.
The steering was transformed and the car became instantly more agile and responsive.
Other observations and lessons from my weeks in the V70 were typical of what you’d expect from a Volvo.
The wide, comfortable seats are soft, but not too soft, and get very hot very quickly on a cold winter morning. I’ve driven cars whose heated seats were barely warm by the time I arrived at work, but they weren’t Volvos.
The three-position memory setting allowed fat me and petite wife to swap places with ease. Colleagues from the office could always use the third setting (but of course they never did).
I loved the sound of the five-cylinder engine and even powering the estate with a full load, it never felt stretched.
I checked the oil at a little over 12,500 miles and it needed almost a litre to bring it up to the mark. I also noted the very black appearance of the oil that was in there.
Talking of fluids, the screenwash ran dry after a spell of dirty weather and low sun and the tank must be massive.
I’m used to filling screenwash from a small bottle of concentrate and a one-litre jug, but this time around I lost count of how many times I had to go back into the house for a refill.
At one point I wondered if there was a hole in the tank and I was simply pouring it all straight on to my driveway.
My 10-year-old daughter loved the way the rear seat turns into a built-in booster seat.
She’s at that age where a booster seat is for babies but not yet tall enough to see out of the window properly.
The Volvo solution gives her height without sacrificing cool. The wide centre arm with its holders for cups (read cans of fizzy drinks) meets with her approval, too.
I’m more impressed by things like the cruise control – five flat buttons on the steering wheel do everything.
I also like the auxiliary stereo input inside the front centre armrest, allowing me to listen to my iPod.
The satellite navigation system, like other Volvos, still sounds like there are two different women telling you where to go – most men’s nightmare – and very irritatingly, seems to require about 20 actions to turn the voice guidance on and off.
For most journeys, you only need voice guidance as you approach or leave an unfamiliar location. You normally know where you are as you leave home or the office.
So for most of the time I don’t need the voice interrupting my music.
Therefore, turning the voice on and off quickly should be one of the simplest function controls.
Having fiddled for a few days, suffering up to 20 menu options, I finally resorted to the instruction book to try to find the quick way. I couldn’t.
And for every big story in a long-term report, there are the tiny little details that somehow manage to take on great significance.
I often wear a jacket. It’s smart, practical and warm. I take it off when I drive because I don’t want to crease it.
When I hang it on the hook above a rear window, my wallet and phone are hard to reach from the driver’s seat. In fact, simply hanging and retrieving the jacket either requires me to contort my stiff old body, or open a rear door.
Volvo knows all this and has provided a perfectly-positioned coat hook on the inside of the front passenger headrest. Genius.
- Climate control
- Alloy wheels
- Electric windows/mirrors
- Cruise control
- Communications pack £2,375
- Geartronic gearbox £1,350
- Metallic paint £575
- Winter pack £420
- Family pack £360
- Parking sensors £350
- Passenger airbag cut-off £25