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.