What is the Volvo V70?
To motorists of a certain age, Volvo has always been about big, boxy estate cars. And while more recent Volvos have been much more stylish, the big V70 estate retains some of the brand’s traditional “big box” ethos. It’s a design that enables a fantastically flat and tall load space that’s big enough for the traditional weekend visit to the garden centre.
The engine range starts with the ultra-efficient 1.6-litre diesel (D2) and rises to two 2.0-litre diesel engines (D3 and D4) and finishes with the high-output 212bhp twin-turbo D5 unit.
The D3, D4 and D5 engines can be equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox, the latter being a £1,500 option when new and commanding a premium of about £1,000 on the used market. Interestingly the D2 gets Volvo’s slick dual-clutch auto box (called Powershift) as standard with no option for manual transmission.
If outright performance ticks your box and fuel efficiency isn’t a worry, then the T6 offers all-wheel drive, a six-speed automatic and 300bhp. You won’t be surprised to learn that it is very thirsty.
The back seats are particularly versatile and fold to create a flat loadspace without owners having to lift the base of the seat. No surprise there, as interior design is something that Volvo now does very well — good build quality and materials, all inspired by the simplistic design found in your local branch of Ikea. It’s nice, just not terribly exciting.
All V70s are well equipped with even the base model ES boasting 16in alloys, climate control, leather steering wheel and all the usual Volvo safety features. The SE trim level features a smart 17in alloy wheel and a handy power tailgate, R Design adds unique interior trim, a stylish body kit with twin exhausts and a specially tuned chassis. Finally, the range-topping SE Lux spoils owners with xenon headlights, sat nav and electric driver seat adjustment.
Impressive seats and a top-notch sound system make long-distance drives a pleasure, as does the fine ride quality. And combine the manual gearbox with a diesel engine and the result is first-rate fuel efficiency. The V70’s handling is a bit stodgy, though, so don’t expect it to be a B-road basher. Beware, though, of those good-looking 18in wheels as they compromise that fine ride.
Overall, the V70 offers a practical and versatile package. It’s a shame, though, that it doesn’t set the heart racing with slightly more dynamic handling and sexier styling. That said, the space and comfort on offer are impressive, and there are neat little features such as cargo load area runners, one-touch folding rear seats and all that hidden space under the boot floor. It’s probably the best Volvo estate built, although the rest of the competition has caught up.
What to look out for when buying a used Volvo V70
V70 customers seem, on the whole, happy with their load-luggers. A full service history, though, is vital as the engines need servicing every 12 months or 18,000 miles.
There have been numerous recalls since 2009 with issues ranging from portable navigation problems and front seat sliding restrictions to engine stalling, gearboxes not engaging gears or jamming, drive belt failure, engine oil levels rising, engine seizures, and cut-outs, fuel leaks, loss of drive and power steering, engine failures and braking issues. Check your car is not affected (the VOSA website has full details) and if it is then ensure the work has been carried out by a franchised dealer.
The one to buy
V70 D5 SE Lux Manual
- £33,910 (new)
- 2400cc, 5- cylinder, common rail diesel engine
- 212bhp @ 4200rpm
- 309 lb ft @ 1500rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 7.8sec
- Top speed:
- 58.9mpg combined
- Road tax band:
- L 4823mm, W 1861mm, H 1547mm