If you asked us to name a carry-all that could do it all, we’d probably say Range Rover. However, if you don’t have the budget (who does these days?), then the next best thing would be the Volvo XC70. A mere few thousand pounds gets you a capacious estate with enough off-road chops for most people’s needs, plus it is supremely comfortable.
A few attempts have been made at cracking the jacked-up, off-road estate market, but it really is only Volvo and Audi that have persisted with it. The C5-generation Audi Allroad, a contemporary of this P2-gen XC70, was the more technically audacious. It had a trick air suspension system that afforded it greater ground clearance so was always the better of the two when venturing from the beaten path. However, as these two have aged, the complicated suspension of the Allroad has sent many of them to the scrapyard, while the simpler and more rugged XC70 soldiers on.
And you can definitely sense the solidity of it, from the heft required to shut the door to the chunkiness of its interior and the feeling of weight as you trundle down the road. This isn’t a car to be hustled, but it sits solidly on the motorway and leaves you in little doubt that it will keep you safe in a crash. Most even come with stability and traction control as standard to keep you out of trouble, along with six airbags and anti-whiplash protection should the worst happen.
What to look out for? A full service history – much like the one on this 90k-mile pre-facelift 2003 XC70 we found – is a must because refreshing the fluids needs to be done regularly to ensure reliability.