Swedish brand's next big estate to major on safety, space, comfort
2 February 2007

Volvo has just taken the wraps off a car that will have a strong claim to the title of most versatile family holdall on the market when it launches here in the autumn – the new Volvo V70.

These are the first official pictures of the new generation load-lugger. It will be introduced to the public at the Geneva motor show next month, and find its way into UK showrooms in September. When it does, it'll present some of the Scandinavian marque's most traditional customers with more space, more comfort, more safety features and also a generous helping of extra visual attitude than they've ever been used to.

Not so dull and dowdy

Though it mightn't strike you as such, the V70's new exterior is a bold move for Volvo given the deeply-ingrained conservatism of this car's customer base. The firm has retained the familiar silhouette inherited from the last V70 and the 850, but updated it with an extra helping of chrome, a more assertive nose and grille treatment, and an eye-catching tailgate design closely related to the one found on the new C30 three-door hatch and the forthcoming XC60 SUV.

The V70's mechanicals have had a thorough refresh too. It sits on an all-new chassis made of varying thicknesses of high-strength steel, making it 15 per cent more rigid than the current car and, says Volvo, both 'more comfortable and more engaging to drive'.

Under the bonnet, Volvo will offer a range of transverse-mounted five- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. The petrol range will be underscored by Volvo's 2.5-litre five-pot, in 143- and 197bhp tune (the former being E85 bio-ethanol compliant). It will also include a normally-aspirated 235bhp 3.2-litre option and a turbocharged 281bhp 3.0-litre 'T6' which will also get four-wheel drive.

There will also be two diesel models: the 183bhp, 295lb ft 'D5' and the 161bhp, 251lb ft '2.4D'. Six-cylinder models will get Volvo's six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission as standard, while those buying a petrol or diesel five-pot will get the option of a six-speed manual.

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More room for passengers and cargo

Function, safety, security, comfort and versatility have dominated Volvo's priorities during the redesign of this car. As a result there's 48mm of extra legroom for rear seat passengers than in the current car, and 55 additional litres of stowage in the boot, making the new V70's boot more accommodating than that of an Audi A6 or a BMW 5-series. It features a lockable underfloor compartment for added security, a sliding boot floor to make loading heavy objects easier than it might otherwise be, a larger boot aperture than on previous models, a fully powered tailgate, and there's the option of fully laminated glazing to protect against kerbside break-ins.

The V70 also features integrated rear child booster seats with two height settings in response to UK legislation making boosters mandatory for certain children, and an array of other safety features such as even better side impact protection, the S80 saloon's whiplash protection and blind spot information systems, and an adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system.

Prices will be set nearer to the car's September UK launch, but can be expected to be subject to a small increase; an entry-level V70 2.5T S should set you about about £24,000, rising to £35,000 for the range-topping T6 SE Lux.

Matt Saunders

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