Volvo XC70 estate

Review

Volvo XC70 estate

Price  £34,410 - £43,180

Volvo XC70 estate

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Practical interior
  • Impressive off road capability
  • Comfortable and luxurious
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Petrol engine is expensive to run

At a glance

The greenest
D4 (181 ps) Start/Stop SE Nav 5dr £34,410
The cheapest
D4 (181 ps) Start/Stop SE Nav 5dr £34,410
The fastest
T6 AWD (304 ps) SE Lux Geartronic 5dr £43,180
Top of the range
T6 AWD (304 ps) SE Lux Geartronic 5dr £43,180

"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 rugged version of the Volvo V70 estate car, with raised suspension and the option of four-wheel drive. These features allow it to tackle off-road situations that you would normally only consider in a big 4x4, while retaining the refinement and running costs of a normal car.

This is an upmarket vehicle, with a price tag to match and its main rival is the Audi A6 Allroad. For less money you can also have a Skoda Superb Outdoor, Subaru Forester or Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, which all offer a big boot and some off-road ability. Where the Volvo excels is in its comfort, with a soothing ride quality, excellent seats and high-quality cabin materials.

But its soft suspension also makes the XC70 less fun to drive the sporty A6 Allroad, and its cheaper rivals. While some people will appreciate the Volvo's subtle design, its boxy looks are starting to date. And it certainly doesn’t look like a car that can cost more than £40,000, although for some drivers that might be core to the XC70's appeal.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.6 / 5

Efficient diesel engines make the Volvo XC70 surprisingly cheap to run

Despite being a large and rugged vehicle, the XC70 is impressively cheap to run, so long as you avoid the thirsty T6 petrol engine. The entry-level diesel-engined D4 is our choice, but whether you opt for two- or four-wheel drive will largely depend on what you use it for.

Front-wheel drive D4 models return 62.8mpg and emit 117g/km of CO2 costing just £30 each year in road tax - figures some small city cars can’t match. Add four-wheel drive and the D4 and more-powerful D5 both manage 53.5mpg and emit 139g/km, seeing tax increase to £130 annually – still quite reasonable for such a big vehicle.

The A6 Allroad is only available with a 3.0-litre diesel engine, which emits more than 159g/km and has a best economy of 46.3mpg. The Superb Outback can manage 53.3mpg and emits 139g/km, while the Passat Alltrack and Forester are nearly identical with 49.6mpg and around 150g/km of CO2.

The XC70's only petrol engine, the T6, is very powerful, but also emits 248g/km, placing it in the penultimate tax band, costing £485 each year. That alone makes it very difficult to recommend.

When it comes to selling the XC70 it has solid resale values, which should better the Passat Alltrack and match the Forester and Superb. But the A6 Allroad is the best car of this type for retaining its value. Entry-level diesel versions of the XC70 perform best on the used car market.

Interior & comfort

3.9 / 5

The Volvo XC70 has a comfortable ride and interior

Like all the best Swedish cars, the XC70 feels sublimely comfortable. If you want to be soothed after a long day, this is the car for you. The leather seats fitted to all models are ergonomically designed to offer excellent comfort and support, with no aches after hours behind the wheel. The XC70's raised height also allows its suspension to soak up bumps beautifully.

While the dashboard might not look as up-to-date as the A6 Allroad's tech fest, there's a real solidity to all the materials and the switches feel like they’ll soak up decades of abuse. It's far more luxurious than the sturdy-but-dull interior of the Forester, while the Skoda and Volkswagen have well-built but quite plain interiors. Rear passengers should have enough legroom, but headroom is limited compared to the Subaru which has a taller roof. The Skoda Superb offers limo-like legroom.

Large windows all around the cabin aid visibility, but the XC70 is a long car, so we’re glad Volvo has fitted rear parking sensors to all models.

Practicality & boot space

4.0 / 5

The XC70 is a traditional Volvo estate, with a huge and well thought out boot

It's a Volvo estate, so it must be good right? Yes, this is one of the old-school Volvo designs, and its 575-litres of luggage space behind the rear seats is excellent. Fold them down and a wardrobe-swallowing 1,600 litres is available. You’ll have to lift items a bit higher than with the Volvo V70, but there's no awkward loading lip to contend with and aluminium rails help to slide cargo inside.

The rear seats split and fold in three parts, with the middle seat folding to allow longer items, such as skis, to sit between two rear passengers. For sheer load space it's not top dog though; the Skoda Superb Outdoor can swallow between 633 and 1,865 litres, and it costs less too.

There are some thoughtful touches inside the cabin, including an umbrella holder on the tailgate, a rubbish bin in the back, 0plus cargo hooks and anchor points in the boot. The last items are particularly useful, as the boot is so large, you don’t want heavy items sliding around on the move.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

Happy customers and lots of safety equipment in Volvo's favour

Volvo has a good reputation with owners, finishing 11th out of 32 manufacturers in the 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, down just one place from 2013. The XC70 didn’t appear in the top 150 rated models this year, but the V70 it's based on was ranked 99th, with a satisfaction score of 86.12 per cent.

Volvo is an industry-leader for safety, and while the XC70 itself hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, the V70 it's based on scored the full five stars when it was rated, with 88 per cent for adult occupant protection and 84 per cent for child occupants.

Every version is fitted with ‘City Safety’ technology which operates at low speeds and can automatically brake the car if it detects an obstacle in your path. A large number of airbags are fitted, as well as technology to improve braking and help prevent skids and seats designed to reduce whiplash in an accident.

Engines, drive & performance

2.4 / 5

The XC70 is a traditional Volvo estate, with a huge and well thought out boot

It's a Volvo estate, so it must be good right? Yes, this is one of the old-school Volvo designs, and its 575-litres of luggage space behind the rear seats is excellent. Fold them down and a wardrobe-swallowing 1,600 litres is available. You’ll have to lift items a bit higher than with the Volvo V70, but there's no awkward loading lip to contend with and aluminium rails help to slide cargo inside.

The rear seats split and fold in three parts, with the middle seat folding to allow longer items, such as skis, to sit between two rear passengers. For sheer load space it's not top dog though; the Skoda Superb Outdoor can swallow between 633 and 1,865 litres, and it costs less too.

There are some thoughtful touches inside the cabin, including an umbrella holder on the tailgate, a rubbish bin in the back, 0plus cargo hooks and anchor points in the boot. The last items are particularly useful, as the boot is so large, you don’t want heavy items sliding around on the move.

Price, value for money & options

2.0 / 5

It’s not cheap, but the XC70 is very well equipped

The Volvo XC70 certainly isn’t a cheap car, but this is partly because all models are so well equipped. Even the entry-level D4 SE Nav has a 179bhp diesel engine, leather upholstery, sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, 17-inch alloy wheels, ‘City Safety’ autonomous braking, an electric bootlid and parking sensors. SE Lux makes the XC70 even more upmarket with an electrically adjustable driver's seat, xenon headlights and 18-inch wheels.

You’ll need even more money to afford the Audi A6 Allroad, which has more on-board technology and a 3.0-litre diesel engine. If you are on a tighter budget, the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Skoda Superb Outdoor are arguably more stylish than the Volvo, have just as much ability and the Skoda offers even more space. They just can’t match the luxurious trappings of the XC70.

Volvo offers several packs for the XC70, including a Winter Pack which adds heated front seats, headlight washers and a heated windscreen for £500. A Family Pack adds booster cushions for the rear seats and child-proof rear doors for £295, while a Driver Support Pack includes blind spot warning indicators, lane departure warning, headlights which dip automatically and adaptive cruise control for £1,900.

What the others say

3.1 / 5
based on 4 reviews
  • 3.0 / 5
    The XC70 is a toughened-up, quasi-off-road version of the V70 estate, whose beefed-up bumpers, raised ride height and accentuated foglights give it a unique appearance. Dark grey cladding on the flanks and silver underbody protectors at both ends add to the effect.
  • 10.0 / 20
    Volvo is renowned for its comfort, and that is borne out beautifully by the XC70, to the detriment of pretty much everything else. You can immerse yourself in the broad, bolstered seat, but finding a decent driving position is actually strangely hard.
  • 3.0 / 5
    Designed by Volvo in Sweden and built in Bridgend in Wales, the 3.2-litre naturally aspirated straight-six petrol engine is both powerful and compact, producing 238 PS and maximum torque of 320 Nm. The engine’s aluminium block and head are structurally optimised to balance low weight and stiffness.
  • 4.0 / 5
    If you're after the added security and traction of four-wheel drive, but don't want a large off-roader, then the XC70 is an ideal compromise. It is essential the V70 estate, but with extra ground clearance, added body protection such as larger bumpers and (on the majority of models) an all-wheel drive system. This makes it ideal if you live in a rural area or regularly have to tow trailers or caravans.

Last updated 
26 Jul 2014

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