What is it?
This is Volvo’s venerable V70 estate, equipped with the firm’s new twin-turbocharged D5 diesel engine. The 2.4-litre unit gets turbochargers of differing size, in a bid to boost low-end response without sacrificing the mid-range urge that comes in handy when towing or carrying a load big enough to fill the V70’s cavernous loadspace.
It also features ceramic glow plugs, which warm up to 1000deg C in a couple of seconds, improving start-ups and efficiency at low revs.
The new unit produces 20bhp more than the old D5, at 202bhp, and 310lb ft of torque. But it’s cleaner too; CO2 emissions on the V70 drop from 178g/km to 169g/km, and claimed fuel economy on the manual model tested here is a respectable 44.1mpg.
The V70 has been given a (very) mild refresh, too; there are tiny revisions to the front grille, and the interior features a little more chrome trim. Our test vehicle was an R Design edition, which brings 18in alloy wheels, silk metal finish on the grille and fog lights, different seats and a sports steering wheel.
What’s it like?
Upon start-up? Well, pretty much like the old unit, really. There’s that characteristic five-pot rumble as the D5 turns over, then it settles down to a smooth (if audible) burble.
On the move, though, things have improved. Those new-spec turbochargers do give the D5 a bit more urgency at lower revs; I’d even go as far as to call the V70 spritely if you give it a prod at around 1500rpm. And that willing nature continues through to around 4000rpm; you can push the engine further round the dial, but it runs out of puff pretty quickly. Still, the claimed 0-60mph time of 7.7sec feels doable (just).
On the motorway the D5 is a refined beast – but then, that was always one of the old unit’s strong points as well. And under hard acceleration it still has a metallic rasp that would grate if you were trying to make decent progress along a B-road.
The V70’s chassis set-up is unaltered, incidentally, so the handling and steering are still uninspiring. The ride can feel choppy on poor surfaces, too.