- We like...Cabin quality; price
- We don't...Choppy ride
Big estate has all-wheel-drive and extra ground clearance - the better for tackling a muddy field. Should you buy one? You can’t fault Volvos for value. They mayn’t have quite the same ultra-classy feeling about them that Audis and BMWs pack in spades. But, model for model, they are usefully a fair amount cheaper, while steeped in a Nordic chic that we kinda like.
So it is with the XC70. Think of it as a protective-clad, mud ‘n’ mucky ready version of the regular V70 estate and you’re not far from the mark. It’s fine for crossing a muddy field but not enough for serious stump-dodging across a forest.
You’ve got full-on all-wheel-drive, and an inch or two or extra ground clearance for the bumps. It’s some way short of a pukka off-roader. But as half measures go it’s pretty good, giving you a slightly higher driving position than in the standard V70 estate and the extra security that comes with that.
Inside our D5 SE model was very comfy, if at odds with its exterior looks and stated purpose. It was all pale leather seats and light, brushed metal dash inserts – a bit as you’d imagine the foyer of a Scandinavian boutique hotel. All very cool, pleasant and soothing – but not where you’d want to sit in a wet parka and muddy boots. Still, at least it appeared sturdy and able to clean up sweetly, whatever dirt you become involved with.
There is a pair of neat and beautifully made child seats tucked into the rear bench, while the space and support provided for every occupant may, for more than a few would-be owners, be enough to settle the day. The XC70 comes only as an estate and the load bay is clever and beautifully worked out – there are neat arrangements for keeping your shopping or takeaways upright, plus storage boxes and lashing hooks.
On the move you’ll notice from the off a jot more body roll than you’d see in the V70, while the steering feels a touch less precise, too. Neither is a problem, or more than you’d expect from a full off-roader: but you’re aware that this car is a compromise. The ride is choppy, all pottery-patter across broken surfaces and at its best on the motorway, where the combination of speed and smooth(ish) surfaces help it to settle.
The 2.4-litre diesel growls nicely if you prod it and moves the car along well enough but it feels weak against the best from BMW and Audi, while its fuel economy and CO2 emissions disappoint when measured against the class best.
But if the XC70 has you spending more on fuel, it is at least cheaper at the outset than the key competition. Plump instead for an Audi A6 Allroad, say, and you’ll need to pay £7000 extra for what is a similarly sized and equipped car. By contrast, the XC70 looks a bargain.
To view and buy new and second-hand XC70s, click on motors.co.uk
- Engines2.4 diesel
- 0-60 mph8.8secs
- Insurance groups15E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: