Volvo V70 estate
Price £25,695 - £36,170
- Good motorway comfort
- Huge boot and versatile interior
- Excellent safety features
- Not much fun to drive
- Mercedes E-Class has a bigger boot
- Not as comfy in town
At a glance
"It's not the most fun car to drive, even among estates, but the Volvo V70 is big, comfortable and very safe."
Big estate cars are something Volvo has become famed for over the years and the V70 is currently the biggest estate the firm builds.
The V70 has an interior that is well built, nice to look at, and very spacious. Volvo is extremely good at getting the little things right, so the seats are comfortable and the interior's very quiet – making it an excellent car for long trips. Driving enthusiasts will prefer the BMW 5 Series though, as it's much more fun to drive.
The V70 comes with a range of diesel engines, which either strike a balance between performance and economy or are very frugal indeed. The way Volvo has structured the range means that customers can choose to combine the cheapest engine with the highest level of specification. The V70 can also be had with four-wheel drive in XC70 trim, which we tested separately.
Volvo has developed a reputation for building cars that are extremely safe and the V70 fits this mould with a vast array of features that aim to keep the car's passengers safe.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The D2 engine is best - returning 67mpg
The D2 is the most economical version of the Volvo V70 and, while it is not particularly quick, can return up to 67mpg. Emissions of 111g/km of CO2 mean annual road tax of £30. The D3 has performance that is more in keeping with the V70's price, though it's still not fast, and can return close to the D2's economy. In fact, it matches the economy and emissions figures of the even faster D4, which is capable of 62.8mpg and emissions of 119g/km, for road tax of £30 annually. The top-of-the-range D5 gets economy of 58.9mpg and emissions that mean road tax will cost £110 every year – this is the cost of going for the quickest car in the line-up.
Interior & comfort
The V70 is at its best on the motorway
The V70 is an extremely good car for covering long distances in thanks to its quiet interior, comfortable seats, and a suspension that suits motorway driving.
The interior isn’t as comfortable at slower speeds, though, and the Volvo is best specced with smaller wheels, which do a better job of soaking up bumps in poor road surfaces. Whichever wheel size you spec, though, the V70 does occasionally jerk over bumps that wouldn’t be noticed in its rivals.
The Volvo has a well-built dashboard that manages to echo the build quality of some of the best German saloons, but with a unique style that includes the firm's trademark ‘floating’ central console.
Practicality & boot space
The load area is big, and versatile
At 575 litres, the Volvo V70's boot is smaller than the ones you’ll find in cars such as the Skoda Superb estate and Mercedes E-Class estate. Folding the 40-20-40 split rear seats down means capacity grows to a decent 1,600 litres, and the boot floor is also flat, with plenty of handy hooks and nets. Another practical touch is the ability to convert the rear seats into booster seats for smaller children. All passengers get good levels of leg and headroom.
Opt for the XC70 model, and it has the added practicality of four-wheel drive for extra grip, and raised suspension that means the car can cope with muddy fields and rough farm tracks. The XC70 also features plastic cladding that protects the car's bodywork from scratches.
Reliability & safety
Volvo's safety record is first rate, and all cars should be dependable
Volvo came a solid eighth place (out of 32 manufacturers) in our 2013 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey ahead of companies such as BMW, Volkswagen, and Porsche. The old V70, meanwhile, came 39th out of 150 cars in our survey.
As you would expect, the Volvo V70 is one of the safest cars in its class and it scored the full five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. All V70s get a full accompaniment of airbags and the company's city safe system, which can detect an imminent accident and apply the brakes to prevent a collision. All V70s also get Isofix mounts for the safe fitting of child seats.
Engines, drive & performance
From behind the wheel, the V70 feels like a long car
Providing a fun driving experience is not one of the V70's strong points, thanks to vague steering, which doesn’t inspire confidence, poor front-end grip and plenty of body lean in the corners. As a big car, the V70 isn’t particularly well suited to city driving.
The basic D2 model may well be capable of returning impressive MPG figures, but it is also quite slow, with a lethargic 0-60mph time of 12.1 seconds, although the car's standard-fit automatic gearbox suits the Volvo's easygoing nature. Moving up the range means more performance, without harming economy too much, and the top-spec D5 model can dispatch 0-60mph in just 7.3 seconds, although it is significantly more expensive.
Price, value for money & options
Like-for-like, the Volvo undercuts its rivals
The Volvo V70 is cheaper to buy than cars like the BMW 5 Series and it also comes decently specced. Even the basic Business Edition model gets sat-nav, climate control, a powerful DAB stereo, and a Bluetooth phone connection. SE NAV models, meanwhile, add a leather interior and extra interior lighting, while the top-of-the-range SE Lux models get things like a powered driver's seat and roof rails.
What the others say
"The Volvo V70 is a spacious, safe and comfortable rival to estate versions of the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb and BMW 5 Series."
"As practical, safe and sensible as you'd expect from Volvo. Shame the Volvo V70 isn't more refined or better to drive."
"Volvo is best known for large and practical estates and the V70 remains the core model for the manufacturer - a modern version of its archetypal load carrier. But while the carmaker used to make some of the biggest estates around, other models can now match it when it comes to sheer boot space."