Volvo is synonymous with large and practical estates, so does the V70 live up to expectations writes Hannah Gordon
What is it? Volvo have been making estate cars for a long time and they have proved very popular with consumers, the latest V70 has shied away from the boxy familiarity and become a slick and stylist load lugger.
Who is it aimed at? The amount of space, practicality and safety make the V70 an excellent car for the family. Low CO2 emissions and good miles per gallon figures also make it an ideal company car.
And Styling? Estate cars are never going to set the pulses racing but the Volvo V70 certainly isn’t an ugly duckling. The recent design has incorporated sweeping lines and there are no sharp edges in sight, the headlights are narrower and the whole demeanor of the V70 is more elegant than previous models. The familiar rear lights that creep up the side of the tailgate remain and the roof bars and active bending xenon lights are standard on the SE Lux spec.
Under the bonnet?The V70 used to be available with all kinds of engine options but Volvo have streamlined this choice down to two engines, both 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo diesel engines, the D3 produces 150bhp and the D4 produces 181 bhp. Both engines are superb and are capable of making progress whenever asked. The D4 also comes with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the gearbox is good on longer motorway journeys but does become indecisive in town where it feels like it can’t quite decide what gear it wants to be in.
What about inside? Comfort is the main drawing point of the V70, sitting in the drivers seat is almost an armchair experience and plenty of adjustments means that becoming comfortable is an effortless operation. The cabin is well put together and once the buttons and controls have been mastered it becomes a relaxing environment to be in. Standard with the SE Lux is the 8” screen for radio, media and Satellite navigation, the sat nav didn’t recognise a road only available to buses and could really do with an upgrade. The space inside the V70 is vast, passengers will have oodles of room and the boot space can stretch to 1600 litres with the rear seats down. The V70 also has these nifty rear seats that can turn into booster seats for children.
On the road? For me the V70 feels like it relies too much on its ‘comfort’ label to really engage the driver. Steering is ok but not anything to write home about and the ride quality on bumpy roads is certainly not as refined as its German rivals. The engine noise does protrude into the cabin space a bit too much, especially with the automatic as it takes time for it to change up. The ride on motorways is calm, comfortable and effortless, it could just do with a bit more refinement.
What about Safety? Volvo literally own the word ‘safety’ in the car market, the previous model scored top marks in the Euro Ncap tests and the V70 comes with plenty of airbags as standard. Also available is City Safety that works up to 50 km/h and will brake to prevent slow speed shunts, High Beam control that can decide when high beam is used and at the correct times, Lane Departure warning system, Adaptive Cruise Control and Road sign information that displays the road signs on the instrument display.
What are my Options? Volvo put their options into packs which makes it easier for the customer to choose the different options, one available is the Driver Collision Pack (£1565) which has the safety features which are included above. The Security Pack (£750) Keyless entry and drive, laminated windows and personal car communicator. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is an £1550 extra and if you like your beats than a premium sound system by Harmon Kardon is £500 on top.
Will it break the bank? This is where the Volvo V70 starts to make sense and trump its rivals, the figures for the higher powered D4 model are hugely impressive with 65.7 mpg for the manual and 60.1 mpg for the automatic, realistically I didn’t get up to those heady heights but I did find it extremely economical when driving on the motorway. The CO2 output for the manual is 114 g/km and the automatic is 122 g/km putting the manual in a £30 a year tax bracket and the automatic into the £110 a year. The manual makes a great case for a company car option.
So the Verdict? The week spent with the V70 it really did earn its keep, picking up packages that plenty of cars wouldn’t have been able to fit and the triple split rear seats have been very useful. The D4 is a good engine and I’m glad Volvo have streamlined there engine choices. The 8 speed automatic gearbox wasn’t as refined and struggled to keep up when driving in town which was a let down, the cabin is good quality and if you’re wish list includes comfort, safety and bundles of space then the V70 is ideal. The drivability and enjoyment doesn’t mount up to much especially when you consider its German rivals but Volvo have made a very stylish estate car.
Why you’ll buy one? Functionality; Stylish; Comfortable
Why you won’t? Driving Dynamics
BMW 5 series Touring– prices start from £33,065
Mercedes E Class estate– prices start from £36,660
Audi A6 Avant – prices start from £34,345
Volvo V70 D4 Auto
Max speed: 137 mph
0-62 mph: 8.6 seconds
Emissions: 122 g/km
Model price range: from £26,195 (D3 Business Edition)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : n/a
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 60.1 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 575 litres
Length: 4814 mm
Width: 2106 mm
Height: 1547 mm
Wheelbase: 2816 mm
14th December, 2015