Earlier this year I was at the launch of the Maserati Quattroporte with European editor Peter Robinson. At the end of a long day in the hills with the new car, Robbo extended an index finger in the direction of the Maserati bosses and proceeded to hit the nail on the head.
‘Imagine,’ he said, ‘that you are a high-flying executive. It’s Friday. It’s the end of a long week and it’s dark and raining. You’ve got to get in your car and take a long drive in heavy traffic from London to your weekend place in the Cotswolds. Is this the car for the job?’
The answer was, of course ‘no’. The Quattroporte is too demanding of the driver. A glorious thing when the driver is alert and eager. But not so much fun stuck in nose-to-tail traffic on the M40.Robbo’s lashing of Maserati came to mind when the freshened Volvo V70 arrived. When I finally got behind the wheel, it was a dark, rainy Friday evening. But the Volvo couldn’t have been a more different proposition to the Italian supersaloon. Here is a car that can positively soothe away the effects of a long week at the office.
Volvo’s facelift of the V70 is not striking. There are new bumpers front and back and ‘new-look’ clear headlights and tail lights. The car’s smoother, more bulbous snout (called ‘soft nose’) has a new chrome grille that looks oddly inappropriate: as if Volvo was on the verge of a big stylistic change and then bottled out.