The Volvo XC70 is a rugged version of the V70 estate with mild off-road ability. It is well built and refined but otherwise fairly dull
What is it?
This is the third incarnation of Volvo’s off-road estate car. It is essentially four-wheel drive V70 estate with a raised ride height, grey plastic body cladding and a Hill Descent Control system borrowed from Ford stablemate Land Rover.
What’s it like?
If you want to do anything more than chug through the odd muddy field with a horsebox, you’ll be disappointed. But then most XC70s will be required to do nothing more strenuous than mount the odd kerb, so its manners as a road car are what really matter.
This is where things get complicated. In many ways, the XC is great. All the usual Volvo safety features are there (including the neat integrated two-stage child booster seats). The interior is luxurious, especially with the gorgeous chocolate leather interior that came in our test car. The engine is also adequately refined (though no fire-breather).
Problem is, you get all this with the common or garden V70 for less money. Oh, and the V70 handles better, avoiding the wallow that the high-riding XC70 suffers from.
Should I buy one?
Put it this way: if you want the butch looks of an off-roader, but don’t want to feel like a social pariah, go for it. As a guilt-free school-run 4x4 the XC70 is great. For almost every other situation, though, we’d choose an ordinary V70 every time.