< Volvo V70 Review
 
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Volvo V70
Volvo V70
Updated Estate Car With Traditional Virtues

Neat Child Seat Will Wow Parents, Offspring Too
Not An SUV, Although Carbon Footprint Much The Same
School Run Safe Until Greenpeace Does The Maths
**** out of 5

Volvo V70
Volvo V70
Volvo V70
Volvo V70
Volvo XC70


It makes a change to review a car that’s not an SUV, and in a way the entire raison d’etre of Volvo’s V70 is the fact that it isn’t an SUV.

This is a traditional estate car/station wagon, the existence of which would seem to be threatened. After all, SUVs exist to lug stuff and kids about, and their supporters would suggest that they are a logical development of the estate car. When the jet replaced the piston engine, that was it for the old technology, apart from some super-specialised short distance work. There won’t be many takers for old fashioned radios when digital reception is available ubiquitously. So how come the traditional estate car still lives on?

It can’t be the price. The new Volvo V70 2.5T SE starts at £26,495-€39,150, and although the car is well specified, with alloy wheels, powered driver’s seats, climate control or air conditioning and a CD player. Roof rails and powered door mirrors are included too, but you just know that by the time you’ve spent a bit more on some tasty features, that will soon reach £30,000-€44,300. (SE Sport adds things like bigger wheels, and leather, SE Lux adds wood, power and heated driver and front passenger heating.)

 It might be the flexibility. The load lugging capability of the Volvo estate is legendary. This new one has been designed to take a huge fridge freezer all in one gulp without removing the rear seats. Volvo says only its machine can do this. Rivals made by BMW and Audi can’t, says Volvo. I watched the demo and it was true, although I wasn’t able to find out whether this was a fridge specially made to fit in a new Volvo by Volvo, or a one straight from Comet. The rear seats fold in three parts 40-20-40 and eventually flat into the floor, so antique dealers will be able to put more furniture in than the previous model because the new one is higher wider and longer than the old one. There are luggage nets, hooks, and straps to tie down your weekly shop.

Neat child seat
It might be the neat child seat safety idea, described by Volvo as the world’s first integrated dual-stage child booster seat. This has two settings, a lower one for children between 115 and 140 cm (just under 4 feet to just over 4-1/2 feet) weighing between 22 and 36 kg (33lbs-80lbs) and a higher one for children  of 95-120 cm (3 feet-4 feet), 15/25 kg (33lbs-55 lbs). This means the small ones can look out of the windows easily. They’ll like that but will rug rat lobbying swing the deal?

It probably won’t be safety, an area where Volvo has led the way for many years, but now the competition has caught up. The V70 has all the mod-cons, including dual compartment airbags which feature two separate chambers – one for the hips and the other for the chest.

Go well
The performance of the V70 won’t be high on the list for potential buyers, but if it was, Volvo could come up with a powerful version to sate the desires of many speed fans. There’s the top of the range T6 AWD Geartronic with a straight six 3.0 litre, 285 bhp and all wheel drive. There’s a total of 3 petrol engines and two diesels, most with a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or automatic. The top two petrol versions are only available as automatics. They all go pretty well.

The V70 car drives well, not surprising to me because it is based on the Volvo S80 saloon, which in turn shares many under-the-skin components with the new Ford Mondeo. The interior is beautiful and the seats outstandingly comfortable. Volvo has priced the V70 roughly £1,500-€2,200 above the S80. The car is unmistakeably a Volvo estate, but the bodywork looks very modern and attractive.

Volvo is also launching a more rugged off-road four-wheel drive version, the XC-70, which includes Hill Descent Control, extended roof rails, tough body mouldings, and is raised and strengthened to handle the countryside. The XC-70 is priced at £1,865-€2,750 over the V-70, but starts at £31,035-€45,800.

Biggest selling point
And now we come to the V-70’s biggest selling point.

It is not a despised SUV.

That means that soccer mums on the school run can relax. Although the V-70 spews out as much “earth destroying” CO2 as any hateful SUV, sits on probably more road space, and uses as much scarce material as an SUV, it still looks more like a car than a truck, so Greenpeace won’t be pouncing, yet.


Neil Winton – August 16, 2007

Volvo V70 2.5T SE

Engine:
2.5 litre, five cylinder petrol
Power:
200 bhp
Gearbox:
six speed manual
Drive:
front-wheels
Acceleration:
0-62/100 km/h 7.2 seconds
Top Speed:
130-210 km/h
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined – 30.4-9.3 l/kms
CO2 Emissions:
222 g/km
Length:
4,823 mm
Width:
1,861
Height:
1,547
Suspension:
spring strut/multi-link
Price:
£26,495-€39,150 – on sale in September
Competition:
Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5-series Touring, Mercedes E-class, Saab 9-5, Chrysler 300C Touring
Would I buy one?
I’m tempted by the Chrysler’s great value
Rating:
**** out of 5
For:
practical, great quality, reputation, not an SUV
Against:
not as capable as an SUV

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