Fleet News

Volvo XC70



Based on the V70 estate, the XC70's design is all about being chunky, to use Volvo's expression, with flared wheel arches, bolder-looking, colour co-ordinated bumpers and body-side mouldings.

There is also an aluminium skid plate on the front between the foglights, 16-inch alloy wheels and roof rails.

It stands above the ground at 209mm, 69mm more than the V70, allowing it to cross muddy fields and dirt tracks.

The suspension set-up is shared with the V70, but the geometry is revised and the front track widened to improve stability. The all-wheel drive system has been enhanced to operate independently of driver input, distributing torque automatically between the front and rear wheels for optimum grip.

There is a choice of two engines, the new 2.5T petrol engine and D5 turbodiesel. The D5 common rail turbodiesel engine driven here offers 33.2mpg on the combined cycle. It achieves 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 121mph. Volvo offers only a five-speed Geartronic auto transmission on the D5.

But the car is not all about masculine posturing and mechanical machismo. The interior is dominated by standard leather trim surrounding a fascia familiar to Volvo drivers.

Additional controls for the stereo, cruise control and the road and traffic information system have been integrated into the steering wheel.

Standard spec includes electronic climate control, CD player and Dolby surround sound audio system, electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory, electronic climate control, electric windows, electric/heated door mirrors, cruise control and accessories that include electric cooler box, towbars and roof carriers – and even a rear waste bin.

Safety features include front and side airbags (including curtain airbags) and safety belts featuring whiplash protection.

Behind the wheel

The sense of class and comfort in the XC70 is overwhelming, so much so you might feel under-dressed for it – akin to going to dinner with the Queen and seeing spaghetti bolognese and oysters on the menu. You are paranoid about slopping something on the decor.

If you have driven a Volvo you will already know of the car's high comfort factor, but the faultless sail seam stitched leather and thick carpets topped with weave rugs pushes the perception to new highs.

Start up the engine and your sensibilities may be disturbed slightly. Drive the petrol version and you'll barely hear the engine. But the diesel rattle could take you by surprise – it's incongruous in such surroundings. However, get on the move, feel the power and torque allied to the super-smooth Geartronic transmission and the attraction of diesels rather than the downside come to the fore.

One concern on the move was that the engine note at cruising did at times sound a little strained, a little too high pitched as if it need to go up a gear – but didn't. I was in the XC70 for a whopping 1,900 miles in 10 days (driving, sitting, lying down) and never had reason to be unsatisfied.

Special mention should go to the satellite navigation system. Time after time it guided me, turn-by-turn, to even the remotest village destination during a holiday in France.

Driving verdict

If you are bewailing the demise of Concorde, treat yourself to a test drive in Sweden's four-wheeled equivalent. You may not make Mach 2, but you will certainly feel you are a cut above the rest in the XC70 – and there's a lot more leg room than in Concorde.

Model: Volvo XC70 D5 AWD
Engine (cc): 2,401
Max power (bhp/rpm): 161/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 250/1,750
Max speed (mph): 121
0-62mph (sec): 11.5
Fuel consumption (mpg): 33.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 226
Transmission: 5-sp auto
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £28,635

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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