An excellent motor, and the most likeable V70 because of it, but still unjustifiable at this price

What is it?

Volvo has joined the ranks of manufacturers replacing big capacity petrol engines with smaller ones of equal power output but improved economy. In fact this new 1.6-litre turbocharged motor (dubbed T4 and unrelated to the company's previous 1.6 petrol engine) is a revised, 178bhp version of Ford's Ecoboost unit, which we're testing here in a six-speed manual V70, complete with standard stop-start.

What's it like?

In practice this proves to be a truly likeable combination. The engine produces its maximum torque of 177lb ft from 1600rpm, and an overboost function ups that to 199lb ft when required, so even though the engine does need working it feels pleasantly relaxed in doing so. It revs smoothly and freely, responds well even at higher speeds and most importantly it is very refined when kept in the usefully broad power band. The manual gearbox is also satisfyingly precise to use, and works extremely well with this T4 motor.

Beyond the revelations of this new engine the V70 still suffers from most of the general gripes that we have aired before, but this model certainly improves upon the underwhelming drive. The steering is rather lifeless, the chassis never feels particularly sharp and the ride is too lumpy over typical b-roads, but the lighter, more responsive engine helps the V70 flow down the road in a more rewarding fashion than any diesel model.

A claimed combined economy figure of 40.4mpg is pretty respectable, as is the CO2 figure of 164g/km, though for those looking for the lowest running costs the diesels are of course the better options.

Should I buy one?

If this were a decent sum cheaper than those more frugal diesel models it would be the best model in the range, because it is certainly one of the most pleasant to drive. But it is not, and if you have forgotten the existence of the Skoda Superb and are buying a V70 you will likely sweep your gaze down the price list, see that the 161bhp D3 turbodiesel is actually £30 cheaper than the equivalent T4 and that will be the end of that.

Still, with this in mind there's likely to be more than a few T4s cluttering up showrooms, so if you can get a good deal then don't overlook the dusty V70 in the corner. On the right wheels and without sat-nav, it would be a remarkably easy car to live with.

Volvo V70 T4 SE

Price: £29,585; Top speed: 134mph; 0-62mph: 8.7sec; Economy: 40.4mpg; Co2: 164g/km; Kerb weight: 1641kg; Engine type: 4cyl,1595cc, turbocharged; Power: 178bhp at 5700rpm; Torque: 177lb ft at 1600rpm-5000rpm (199lb ft on overboost); Gearbox: 6spd manual

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Anonymous 26 January 2011

Re: Volvo V70 T4 SE

... I see they've repeated the same photo mistake in the magazine; maybe it should be a new sport, spot the comedy error each week. Pull your socks up guys.

Orangewheels 24 January 2011

Re: Volvo V70 T4 SE

More proof that petrol engines are a dying breed in larger cars in Europe - combine the list price with the fact that the residual value will be much better on the diesel, and hence the monthly payment on a PCP will be lower, and no-ones going to buy this.

fhp11 22 January 2011

Re: Volvo V70 T4 SE

Si70 wrote:
t are you sure that main picture isn't actually a V50

Yer Definately a V50. At first I thought that Volvo had made the V70 look exactly like the S40. But then I realised it was just Autocars sloppy reporting.

Unfortunately, some brands seem to get haphazard reporting here on Autocar.