From £25,590
Small engine pulls large estate along with reasonable pace

Our Verdict

Volvo V70
Longer nose is disguised by heavily chamfered corners. A soft bumper structure protects pedestrian’s legs in a collision.

The Volvo V70 is spacious, but suffers from vague steering and old engines

  • First Drive

    Volvo V70 D5 SE Lux Geartronic first drive review

    Big Volvo estate gets a mild refresh and remains as dependable as ever, although we're not sure this specification is the best in the range
  • First Drive

    Volvo V70 D3 R-Design

    This particular V70 is swift, stylish, rides and handles briskly. New D3 engine has been ‘far improved’ thanks to a fine-tuning of the turbocharger.

What is it?

This is the Volvo V70 Drive SE, the eco-friendly version of the company’s biggest estate.

Many have sniggered at the prospect of a modest 1.6-litre turbodiesel pulling this car along, and we’re here to find out if that’s fair. This engine, the PSA-BMW four-pot that propels heaps of Peugeots, Fords and the Mini, conjures 177lb ft of torque at 1750rpm.

The 1.6 motor’s lower weight has helped Volvo’s engineers in their quest to make this package work, but on the other hand they have also saddled it with relatively long-legged gearing in third, fourth and fifth, giving the diesel more to do.

The economy figures are also helped by suspension that’s lowered by 20mm, a part-screened radiator grille, low-resistance tyres, modified injectors and engine management, and electric rather than hydraulic steering assistance. You also get a gearshift indicator.

What’s it like?

As you might expect, this is not a fast car, nor even a brisk one, but it does not feel slow.

Pack it floor to ceiling for a holiday and you’ll probably have to work at it, but no more than you would have done for an average petrol-powered estate of a decade or so ago. So spoiled are we by the forest-felling torque of modern diesels that we expect effortlessness from almost every car. This V70 isn’t that, but it’s entirely acceptable.

The result is an impressive 129g/km and 57.5mpg combined, which is pretty good for a beast this big, especially as it attracts benefit-in-kind of 18 per cent to the 2.0D’s 22 per cent.

Caravanners should note, however, that the V70’s towing weight drops by 300kg with this engine.

These gains have come at a cost, though; the ride quality has turned distinctly firm and clattery over bumps, there's occasionally excessive road noise and there's a bit of over-run growl from the motor.

Should I buy one?

If it’s a commodious, safe and economical pack horse that you need, the V70 DRIVe is worth a thought.

Join the debate

Comments
51

30 June 2009

47.9 MPG? I get about 45 out of my Euro IV D5. I think I'd rather take the 3 mpg hit!

30 June 2009

Somehow the performance figures don't stack up. 10.5 seconds to 62 with 108 BHP pulling along 1600+kgs feels rather optimistic to me. It should be around 16 or so seconds.

30 June 2009

[quote Robbijay]

47.9 MPG? I get about 45 out of my Euro IV D5. I think I'd rather take the 3 mpg hit!

[/quote]

There's something wrong with that figure. My C5 Tourer which has the same engine, weighs almost as much and doesn't have long gearing/lowered suspension etc. does 50mpg.

I can confirm that the car should be able to pull the Volvo about no problem. We've just done 2,500 miles across europe in my C5, full loaded with no problems at all. Much of it was in Germany (120mph sat nav indicated on the Autobahn at times) and also included roads/motorways around the Austrian, Italian and French Alps without any problem at all. I averaged 42 mpg which I thought was fine. I'll still go for at least the 2.0 next time because I bet it's real world mpg is better still.

30 June 2009

I'm impressed - I honestly thought the 1.6 in the v70 would be appalling. Given I'm used to cars anywhere between 10-13 seconds for 0-60 it sounds fine. Anything beyond 13 seconds is a bit poor.

Did Volvo not fit this one with start/stop? The C30/S40/V50 with this engine has start/stop - no doubt that'd help the economy figures for this car?

1 July 2009

I think many of the figures quoted are wrong for this car. Given that the D5 does 47.1 and the 2.0D does 47.9, this car probably does something in the low 50s. That would then match the CO2 figure of 129g/km (which I think is correct).

In terms of performance, given that the 2.0D does 0-60 in 10.5s or therabouts, this car must be in the 12-13s region.

1 July 2009

Quoted combined figure for this car is actually 57.6 mpg

1 July 2009

[quote Samiur Rahman SHAH]Somehow the performance figures don't stack up. 10.5 seconds to 62 with 108 BHP pulling along 1600+kgs feels rather optimistic to me. It should be around 16 or so seconds.
[/quote]

I agree. I am sure I read somewhere else it takes about 13/14 seconds but can't find that site anymore.

This car has less bhp/tonne than a toyota aygo

1 July 2009

[quote J400uk]This car has less bhp/tonne than a toyota aygo[/quote]

But it has loads more lb ft/tonne, which matters more.

1 July 2009

[quote JackB]But it has loads more lb ft/tonne, which matters more.
[/quote]

No it dosent, that just shows how little you know about cars.

Power is king. Torque is simply a factor of it (multiplied by engine speed).

If torque was what mattered we would all be driving tractors.

Granted a typical 110hp diesel will need less revving to "feel" fast than a typical 110hp petrol - but it is still only 110hp

1 July 2009

[quote J400uk]

No it dosent, that just shows how little you know about cars.

Power is king. Torque is simply a factor of it (multiplied by engine speed).

[/quote]

I think you'll find that torque IS power.

BHP gives you top speed , but torque gives you real-world performance.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run