"It's not the most fun car to drive, even among estates, but the Volvo V70 is big, comfortable and very safe."
The Volvo V70 estate has everything you expect from a Volvo – big dimensions, lots of safety equipment and high levels of comfort. It may not be the largest car in its class, but the amount of space and luggage capacity doesn’t disappoint. Plus, if you go for on the three available diesel engines (1.6-litre, 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre), it also has low running costs. The V70's real asset, though, is its long-distance comfort. Supportive, cushioned seats and a hushed interior mean few cars can match its motorway cruising ability. Four-wheel drive and a more rugged off-road Volvo XC70 are also available if you intend . Originally launched in 2007, the V70 was updated in 2013 to bring it more up to date. The Volvo V70 comes in four main specifications – entry-level D2, D3, D4, and top of the range D5, all are available as Business Edition, SE and SE Lux models.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The most economical model in the V70 range is the D2 PowerShift twin-clutch automatic, which returns 67.3mpg in combined fuel economy while emitting just 111g/km in CO2 emissions. No V70 manages to emit less than the magic tax-free 100g/km mark, but you need to remember this is a very big car! As we found the D2 somewhat lacking in power, it's good that the D3 also benefits from low running costs, returning 62.8mpg in combined fuel economy and 119g/km of CO2 emissions. Even the most powerful 2.4-litre D5 is surprising efficient, returning 58.9mpg in economy and emitting 126g/km of CO2.
Interior & comfort
The V70's interior is certainly of a very high standard, with Volvo's signature 'floating' centre console present and correct. You get lots of buttons, which makes the dashboard a little hard to use, but it does have a high quality feel thanks to the use of plenty of upmarket materials. The ride is better suited to driving on the motorway, with its large dimensions proving problematic in tight urban traffic and a tendency to rattle over some of the UK's rougher roads. On the motorway, however, its very comfortable seats and hushed interior combine to make long journeys no effort at all. Just be aware that adding the larger alloy wheels does increase the vibrations that tend to creep in at lower speeds.
Practicality & boot space
A 575-litre boot that expands to 1,600 litres when the rear seats are folded down flat speaks for itself, really – offering the kind of day-to-day practicality that is usually seen only in a Ford Transit. However, it's still not the biggest in class - that's the Mercedes E-Class estate and Skoda Superb estate – but it is still impressive. The 40:20:40 split-fold back seats allow for easy through-loading, while there a lots of handy hooks, nets and straps to help make the boot very adaptable and hold everything in place. The loading floor is flat, and the interior offers a range of places to store bits and pieces, including a large storage compartment between the front seats. In a particularly useful touch for families, the rear seats can even be converted into booster chairs for small children.
Reliability & safety
Volvo's reputation is high in this category, so you can expect the V70 to be a dependable estate car as a result. Volvo also climbed two places in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey's manufacturers rankings, to place eighth out of 32. Reliability was one of its weaker performances though, which is a reflection of those high expectations and customers wanting the best for Volvo's high list prices. It also says a lot that the previous generation of V70 still ranks in the top half of the survey's top 100 cars – which is quite a feat for a car that's been dates back as far as 2007. The current V70 isn’t quite as well built as the BMW 5 Series or Audi A6, but its safety credentials are top-drawer, though, securing the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with superb scores for adult and child safety. All V70's come with lots of head, body and leg protection, including airbags all round and Volvo's signature side impact protection system.
Engines, drive & performance
The V70's drive leaves quite a lot to be desired, mainly due to steering that's so light that the driver feels disconnected from the driving experience. There's also a lot of body roll when driving through the corners. The gear changes and clutch action are both very light, as well, so the automatic gearbox suits the car's general comfort-oriented style, better. You can get adjustable suspension as an option, which offers Comfort, Sport and Advanced modes, but it doesn’t make it any better to drive or more comfortable to ride in. Behind the wheel, the V70 feels like a long car, which, combined with a poor turning circle, makes it feel big and clumsy when driving around town. The D2 feels generally underpowered, so we’d go for the D3, which offers a better balance of efficiency and performance. However, the likes of the Skoda Superb estate and BMW 5 Series Touring are undeniably more fun to drive.
Price, value for money & options
The V70 isn’t cheap, and most of your money is spent on peace of mind rather than flat out value. However, even the entry-level models come with alloy wheels, climate control, and roof rails – although this premium sector tends to be populated by cars that offer leather seats and sat-nav as standard, that's only available in the SE and SE Lux models. In direct comparison, the Volvo does undercut its main Audi, BMW and Mercedes rivals, and because the V70 has been very popular it also has strong resale value on the used car market, so and you’ll usually find yourself some decent second-hand deals when the time comes to sell.