What is it?
A mild nip and tuck has freshened up Volvo’s V70 estate, which is about to enter its seventh full year on sale.
For the 2014 model year, the updates include exterior cosmetic tweaks that make the front and rear appear wider and lower, as well as some extra chrome brightwork. Inside there is uprated connectivity, a TFT instrument display and further enhancements to the safety systems.
Powering this top-specification D5 version is the five-cylinder, 2.4-litre turbodiesel in its most powerful guise and mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox (a £1485 option).
In this spec the V70 offers 45.6mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 164g/km. That’s lagging behind rivals – a BMW 525d Touring returns 55.4mpg and 134g/km – and perhaps indicates that the sweet spot in the V70 range lies with a less powerful, more frugal manual variant.
What's it like?
This engine delivers gutsy low-end thrust and can shift the car from a standstill to 60mph in 7.5sec. The unit is also hushed and refined unless you venture past 2500rpm, where its distinctive thrum gets noticeably harsher.
It’s easier to succumb to the unflustered ambience offered by the cosseting seats and spacious, well appointed cabin and let the V70 play to its strengths as a docile cruiser that’s well suited to motorways.
At steady speeds the V70 is unremarkable in the way it rides, handles and steers. Damned with faint praise that may be, but the combination of light steering, top-quality insulation from noise and vibration and excellent comfort make it one of the least taxing ways to cover distances. It’s a slightly different story in town, where uneven roads highlight a less pliant ride and the V70’s size can make it feel unwieldy.
That size brings its benefits when it comes to load lugging, though. The boot holds 575 litres, increasing to 1600 litres with the rear bench folded. The Skoda Superb and Mercedes E-class offer more than 600 litres but the Volvo’s flat floor, wide boot opening and plethora of hooks and cubbies make it a versatile space.
If practicality has long been a Volvo watchword, so has security. The latest V70 features a host of systems to warn you of the potential dangers present in almost every conceivable driving scenario, including blind spot monitors, an audible lane departure indicator and an auto braking system that senses pedestrians and cyclists. The whole suite comes as a £1900 option, but whether that represents good value depends on how much emphasis you put on such features.
Should I buy one?
The V70 comes well equipped, but it is by no means cheap, particularly with this engine and trim level.
It undercuts similar offerings from BMW, Mercedes and Audi, however, and although it is no match for the German trio dynamically, its blend of offbeat charm and impeccable safety means it is not without appeal.
Volvo V70 D5 SE Lux Geartronic
Price £37,455 0-60mph 7.5sec Top speed 137mph Economy 45.6mpg (combined) CO2 164g/km Kerb weight 1745kg Engine 5 cyls, 1984cc, turbodiesel Power 212bhp at 4000rpm Torque 325lb ft at 1500-3000rpm Gearbox 6-spd automatic