VOLVO CARS paved the way for a totally new segment with the V70 Cross Country in 1997 – and then came the less long-winded moniker: the XC70.
The Swedish company’s focus in the continuous development of the XC70 model has been to create a well-heeled on-road car with competent, off-road ability. The rugged and refined present-day look reflects the vehicle’s underlying strength and competence. Volvo says to think of it as an “exclusive goose down jacket, designed around those who like their adventure with a true feeling of sophistication”. Pretentious marketing spin? Not really.
You see, as well as All-Wheel Drive, Hill Descent Control is a further boost to the XC70’s go-anywhere potential. And these days, fresh exterior design cues sharpen its road presence. If truth be told, the XC70 would look at home in any environment, whether it’s in the middle of the open country or at your place of business.
As with the V70 estate car, the rear seats can be folded down in three 40/20/40 sections. Collapse all of the seats flat and the load space swells from 575 litres to 1,600 litres. Another handy function is the power-operated tailgate. What’s more, the outer rear seats can be fitted with integrated child booster cushions that offer children from the age of three and upwards a cosy and safe ride height. That’s a massive tick in the box for any parent of youngsters.
On the road, IntelliSafe, – Volvo’s umbrella name for all its active safety systems, is a vital part of the driver-centric approach in the XC70. City Safety technology is fitted as standard, and this advanced technology works at speeds of up to 31 mph. You can also fit Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake. This watches out for people strolling into the car’s path and automatically put the anchors on the vehicle if there’s an imminent collision.
In addition, Road Sign Information supports you by displaying road signs on the instrument panel.
The XC70’s seats are certainly amongst the most comfortable of the many cars I’ve driven – and the Volvo feels one of the best rides for keeping your children protected. Everything about the vehicle feels tank-solid – from the reassuring ‘thud’ the closing doors make to the quality cabin materials and thick, padded, leather seats.
Still, a heavyweight, high-centre-of-gravity car like this has its downsides – it’s not amazingly nimble and all four corners tend to squeal if you take bends at speed. The steering also feels slightly lumpy around town. But get it on a long commute or off-road and it’ll fare very well. The six-speed geartronic transmission makes especially light work of any distance driving and acceleration is brisk.
Granted – off-road, it’s not as heroic as a pure mud-plugger, but the XC70’s talented enough to take the family into the rough – or up a snow covered hill if you need to.
PROS ‘N’ CONS
Lots of kit √
Integrated child seats √
Off road ability √
On-road cornering X
Volvo XC70 D5 SE Lux Geartronic
Max speed: 127 mph
0-62 mph: 8.3 secs
Combined mpg: 41.5
Engine 2400 cc, five cylinder, 20 valve, turbo diesel
Max. power (bhp): 212 at 4,000rpm
Max. torque (Ib/ft): 324 at 1,500-3,000rpm
CO2: 179 g/km