- We like...Clever load area
- We don't...Pointless stop-start button
Big well-designed, super-safe estate is a real treat when you need to carry loadsWe like cleverness. In cars it’s what marks the best apart from the so-so and, when it comes down to it, it’s what you pay for. And this V70 has so much of it aboard that it ought to cost a bomb.
Let’s start in the load area. There’s the luggage-covering roller and tie-down places you’d expect in any such car. But then there’s a neat flap that lifts to 90deg and locks there. It has an elastic strap and hooks, ideal for attaching grocery bags to or for keeping plants upright on the journey home from the garden centre.
Then there’s another larger flap. Lift it and it’s propped by a hydraulic strut. Beneath there’s a tray that’ll take oodles of small items. Go back to the load cover and you discover that from its upper part you can extend two sturdy nets on frames that slot into the ceiling so that you can load up to the roof and keep passengers safe – or else use the back as a travelling kennel.
Last, the rear seats split and drop into the floor to free a huge load floor – bigger than in rivals such as BMW’s 5-series. But that’s not the only trick they play. Each of the outer seat cushions pops up and back to provide booster cushions for children. Like we said, clever.
Lower yourself into the driver’s perch and savour, for a moment, just how comfy a car chair can be. It’s what Volvos are known for and for many owners, it’s enough to keep them fiercely loyal. It’s heated, of course, with a choice of three strengths. And it’s adjustable in every direction, as is the wheel.
The car is high-waisted but the big door mirrors and optional parking sensors make light of shuffling this big estate across a car park. But the dash is clear and spare in its design, the better to keep your eyes off it and on the road. Once rolling, the diesel engine burbles lazily, yet will snap-to hard if you wish it.
But it’s best punted along at a relaxed canter to suit its size and a ride that, at times, is choppy. The V70 sits easiest on the motorway, where its tall sixth gear leaves the engine turning quietly, so it hums along near-silently. It’s economical for such a big car.
Is it safe? Naturally. Top-drawer Euro NCAP crash protection ratings for adult and child occupants can be taken as read. And, as you’d expect, there are six airbags, anti-lock brakes and a system that detects if a front wheel is losing grip and moderates power or applies the brakes to reduce slipping. You can even have a system fitted that senses if you're dropping off to sleep and issues a warning to jolt you awake. That costs extra, though.
Prices sit well against its Mercedes and Audi rivals, and the value’s to be found with the SE models, which are the most basic., but pack everything you’d want. Except perhaps, the soft leather seat covers you see in our pictures, which add £1200 to the invoice. But, take care, because the list of options is huge and it’s easy to add thousands to the price. Little of which, will contribute to the car’s value when you need to sell it in several years’ time.
Buy carefully, and it’s an utterly sensible buy. Especially with all that cleverness aboard.
- Engines2.4 diesel
- 0-60 mph9.4sec
- Insurance groups14E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: