"Offering the off-road ability of a full-sized 4x4, but the ease of driving and practicality of a conventional estate, the XC70 also delivers comfort and luxury in equal measure."
The Volvo XC70 is a toughened-up, off-road version of the V70 estate, offering four wheel drive and tall suspension to help it tackly rough, uneven roads. It's an impressive performer off road, thanks to its beefed-up bumpers, dark grey cladding on the flanks and silver underbody protectors at both ends. The range is limited to three engines (one petrol, two diesel) and three trim lines – ES, SE and SE Lux. The latter comes with electronically variable suspension as standard which helps add to the smoothness of the ride.
There's no doubt that the XC70's robust four-wheel drive system offers lots of grip off road - but its on the road that the XC70 fails to meet our expectations. The steering is light, but feels slow to respond and lacks any feel. There's quite a lot of body roll and the tyres seems to slide at very low speeds. In terms of outright pace, the revamped 213bhp D5 diesel engine is the best choice, with lots of torque to help with towing large loads and overtaking. The top of the range turbocharged six cylinder 2.5T petrol engine is extremely powerful too, but not very economical.
On the motorway, the Volvo XC70's quiet cabin is a great place to spend time. The supportive seats are among the most comfortable available, while the tall suspension offer 210mm of ground clearance and will absorb potholes and speedbumps with ease.
Electrical problems, affecting the central locking and immobiliser systems are the main bugbear of owners. Elsewhere reports suggest the car is remarkably well built, with all the major mechanicals proving to be extremely hard wearing.
With it's large boot and 40 :20 :40 split rear seat, the Volvo XC70 offers plenty of storage space. There's some neat storage touches too, including a rubbish bin in the rear, and an umbrella holder on the tailgate. Rear space is excellent too, and the XC70 can claim to be bigger than the majority of traditional 4x4s.
Value for money
Though there is no shortage of equipment, the XC70 is not as well equipped as its biggest rival, the Audi A6 Allroad Quattro. Some equipment is not exactly sate of the art, but the interior has been updated this year, and the chunky estate now feature's Volvo's Sensus multimedia system. It's a big improvement on the old unit, and gives the car a much more premium feel.
The Volvo XC70's 2.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine is a smooth performer, but it also has an enormous appetite for fuel... The D5 diesel is far more economical, and almost as powerful, with a recent update taking the total figure to 213bhp. Resale values are better than cars like the Ford Mondeo which helps limit your losses when you come to sell the car on, however, top specification cars are very expensive, and do not hold their value as well as cars from brands like Mercedes or Audi.