From £25,5906
Big Volvo estate gets a mild refresh and remains as dependable as ever, although we're not sure this specification is the best in the range

Our Verdict

Volvo V70

The Volvo V70 is spacious, but suffers from vague steering and old engines

  • First Drive

    Volvo V70 D5 SE Lux Geartronic first drive review

    Big Volvo estate gets a mild refresh and remains as dependable as ever, although we're not sure this specification is the best in the range
  • First Drive

    Volvo V70 D3 R-Design

    This particular V70 is swift, stylish, rides and handles briskly. New D3 engine has been ‘far improved’ thanks to a fine-tuning of the turbocharger.
Matt Burt
19 December 2013

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

Join the debate

Comments
13

19 December 2013
At 7-years the V70, and it's XC70 sibling, were due a complete revision - but that's not worthwhile using the old Ford EUCD Mondeo platform and Audi-derived diesel but the all-new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform is not yet in production so a refresh it is until the all-new replacement is available.

19 December 2013
Emmm, after reading the review and looking at the pictures it appears a little outdated in 2013 so I hate to think what little appeal it will have in another year or two. Not sure how much you'd be left with from £37,500 after 3 years either.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

19 December 2013
xxxx wrote:

Not sure how much you'd be left with from £37,500 after 3 years either.

To answer that directly, I purchased a brand new V70 2.4 170 SE for £22k some years ago, the list price then was £28k. I thought I was doing well at £6K off. 3 years later with average miles and in showroom condition the best trade-in figure I was offered was £11k.

The V70 was one of the best cars I've owned, you really have to live with one to appreciate it however it also proved to be one of the most costly. If I were in the market today there's no way I'd pass the German brands for this, especially as Volvo UK showed total disinterest when it's replacement, a V50 turned out to be a lemon. (The worst car I've ever owned by some margin). I bought three brand new Volvo's in total, I've never put a foot inside their showroom since.

That said, with such practical estates as Skoda (either Superb or Octavia), even Vauxhall's Astra, does Volvo have a market for the V70? It was once a familiar sight on our roads, don't know last time I saw a post 2007 V70 let alone a brand new one.

19 December 2013
One thing I neglected to point out, which I should have done, is that with the options – safety kit, auto box being the main ones – the price of the car as tested swelled to £43,975.

Scotty5 - out of interest what were your beefs with the V50?

7 January 2014
To the man who bought the wrong Volvo, Probably look at buying a diesel next time....will hold its money much better, the equivelent audi mercedes bmw in a petrol would depreciate at the same rate.

The V50 was actually a replacement for the old volvo v40 and has nothing to do with the V70...

19 December 2013
I've had a couple of V70 Geartonic's including this model from December 2007 until last week. I did over 230.000 miles in mine! It never broke down during that period until last week when the gearbox went bang. An eye watering 4.000 euro to repair and with a new cam belt needed with water pump, rear discs and new tyres and so the car was sold to a car dealer who passed it on to a Polish Broker. I got 2.500 euro.
It was a super european cruiser. reliable yes but very poor on dynamics. The ride around town and french potholes was extremely annoying. The depreciation was also a major problem. I realised that when the car hit 150.000 km's and Volvo offered me such a low price that I decided to keep it. The cam belt change is very expensive too. I was quoted 1.500 euro by Volvo Montpellier. I got it done for less though elsewhere.
my replacement car is much smaller and has a chain cam belt . I have decided not to return to Volvo as the cheaper V60 has a very small boot area. The car is also around half the price an comes with a 7 year guarantee.

22 December 2013
A few points.

1. You state the car as tested above was £44k, can you please also state the price of the equivalent spec 5 series or E - Class.

2. You have tested this spec car which is virtually top of the range, and not exactly a big seller, why not test a mid range version.

3. You complain about the ride around town, please remember this was on standard suspension, when was the last time you tested an equivalent 5 series on standard suspension to compare it, and when was the last time you tested any Volvo with a 4C chassis (adjustable dampers) to compare it?

4. This engine and gearbox combination has been tested on numerous occasions, if you are going to the effort of carrying out a road test for this mild update, you didnt you also go to the trouble of testing the all new D4 engine and 8 speed auto gearbox at the same time, a comprehensive road test of that engine and gearbox appears to be lacking.

Thanks..

23 December 2013
Couldn't agree more! All magazines are holding off testing or comparing the new D4 engine. Why? Because it wipes the floor clean with every competitor! This is just the start. I've never seen an editor add to what he perceives as more bad points further down the article. In all fairness I don't think you could compare this to any of it rivals as the safety technology does not exist in most others manufactures. Completely agree though about not testing the Volvo with the 4c chassis, if and when BMW bring 4wd to the 5 series diesel and sure we will be lead to believe its groundbreaking, when Volvo have offered this for years and on nearly all there mainstream cars. Many don't understand where Volvo are coming from, and are always quick to judge, they are a different brand offering different things to different lifestyles. Over the past ten years they could have quite easily ended up like Saab, but manage to offer a full comprehensive range, with new exciting designs and engines from next year, Don't forget Jaguar and Volvo both were brought to there knees by Ford not so long ago, give them a break, while Jaguar waffle on daily about if buts and maybes, 2014/2015 will put Volvo on the map, engines and first cars rolling off there own unique chassis.

27 December 2013
Sam_notts wrote:

Many don't understand where Volvo are coming from, and are always quick to judge, they are a different brand offering different things to different lifestyles.

Don't forget Jaguar and Volvo both were brought to there knees by Ford not so long ago

If Volvo are misunderstood, whose fault is that ?

Ford kept Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo alive - they were flat on their backs when Ford stepped in.

2 January 2014
I can't understand your enthusiasm for Volvos - have you ever owned Volvos?

I have and quite frankly a Volvo station wagon doesn't come within a bulls roar of my Mercedes E-Class station wagon.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK