Looking for an all-round practical and comfortable large family car with the security of four-wheel-drive, but don’t want a bulk SUV/crossover vehicle? Cue the Volvo XC70 – a pumped up, slightly more rugged version of Volvo’s classic V70 estate. It’s available with a choice of 4 or 5 cylinder diesel engines mated to manual or automatic gearboxes. All-wheel drive is available on but the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel and affords this Volvo with the ability to cope with mud or snow. There’s even hill descent control should you find yourself venturing further off-road. Even on tarmac the extra grip and traction on offer is immediately apparent in wet or slippery conditions.

Tested here is the 2.4 litre 5-cylinder D4 SE Nav AWD, which generates 181 PS and 420 Nm of torque. Performance is strong, if not fast, affording this car with great cruising ability, yet still returning 54.3 mpg. It’s great on the motorway, munching up the miles effortlessly. Refinement generally scores pretty well too, with road and wind noise being kept out of the cabin, although engine noise can intrude at lower speeds. Due to its longer-travel suspension set-up the XC70 has a more cosseting ride than the regular V70. The payoff is slightly less composure on fast twisty A and B roads, but this is only noticeable if you’re looking closely for differences. Although it isn’t the most dynamic large estate car on the market to drive, in day-to-day driving the XC70 is more than surefooted enough for the purposes in which it’s likely to be used.

Most definitely worthy of note are the superbly comfortable big leather seats, which allow you to emerge from a long journey remarkably ache-free.

The XC70 is a big spacious car, with more than adequate room for a family and their stuff. Rear passengers are well catered for, with generous amounts of head and legroom. Yet, ironically, there’s actually less boot capacity (575 litres seats up/1,600 litres seats down) than many of its direct rivals. Despite this the Volvo is still an effective load lugger, thanks to its long boot floor and wide tailgate opening.

Although the interior design doesn’t have the panache of an Audi or Mercedes, quality of fixtures and fittings is high and the cabin is certainly a pleasant place to be. The modern swooping dash and trademark Volvo ‘Floating’ centre console, (the way it’s curved makes it look like it’s not attached to anything) may of been around for years, but this latest XC70 sports a more streamlined centre console with fewer buttons than before. The driving instrument cluster also feels very modern, especially when the optional Active TFT Crystal Driver’s Information Display is chosen, which brings the driver personalised information. There are three themes to choose from: Elegance, Eco and Performance.

Volvo’s Sensus Connect comprises a Digital Display theme. Colours are also mirrored in the connected infotainment system Sensus Connect. Cloud-based services allow the driver to find and pay for parking from the car, discover new restaurants at the destination, stream favourite music seamlessly and much more. The driver can also have text messages read out aloud without taking hands off the wheel.

This XC70 model gets sat navigation as standard, which boasts good route guidance and traffic information, although the turn-dial and button interface is a bit clunky and lacks the intuitive operation of many touch-screen systems.

Being a Volvo there’s no surprise at the number of driver safety warning systems, especially if the £1,565 optional Driver Support Pack is chosen. Some of the features of this include: Lane Departure Warning, Road Sign Information Display, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert.


The Volvo XC70 combines off-road ability in a well-made, comfortable and luxurious family estate car package.

Tech spec:
XC70 D4 SE Nav AWD
Price: £36,600
Engine: 2.4 litre 5-cylinder Turbo Diesel
Max Power: 181 PS @4000 rpm
Max Torque: 420 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Max Speed: 127 mph 0-62 mph: 9.2 seconds
Economy: 54.3 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 137 g/km