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The Top Gear car review:Volvo XC70
For:Lovely interior, decent off-road given its humble beginnings
Against:Soggy steering, generally lacklustre on-road performance
D4  SE Nav 5dr AWD
Not quite the best driver, but stylish inside and out. Now with tax-busting economy and fine performance
An off-target effort at an on-target idea. The SUV is a formidable thing to have in your sights too.
What we say:
A pricier V70 with a bit more ride height and some plasticky bumpers. A compromise, yes, but a good one
What is it?
The Volvo XC70 is a compromise, but a good one. Essentially a V70 with a raised ride height and nasty plastic bits stuck on. The cabin is lovely and mods to the engines have boosted economy. Nice new nose, too.
The XC70 corners better than most SUVs of course, but if you think of it as a car you’ll be disappointed. The steering is soggy, there’s a lot of body roll and the all-weather tyres compromise the on-road grip. Still, the worse the weather gets, the comparatively better off you’ll be, thanks to AWD.
The suspension, tuned for rutty tracks, is ideal on typically poor British roads, where it glides over stuff that would make most ‘sporty executive’ cars crash and thump. You also get the typically excellent Volvo seats, and little road or wind noise. But the diesel engine is a bit noisy.
Two diesels - a 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre - join a petrol 300bhp 3.0-litre with a 0-62mph time of 7.4 seconds. Better to stick with the D4 2.0-litre diesel that offers up just over 50mpg.
On the inside
The pared-back but beautifully made dash and cabin furniture is a joy, and the materials fine, given a ‘country’ twist on the XC70. You do get a great sense of reassurance from this car even if the reliability record isn’t unblemished.
The XC70 will get you most places. It has semi-off-road tyres, an electronically controlled diff, slightly raised ground clearance and a specially tuned traction control and hill-descent system. You’re practically obliged to tow something with it. There’s a huge range of storage and tie-down options in the boot, and good built-in child seats.
There’s no way to run a new XC70 cheaply, but if you have the petrol you’re really shelling out: 248g/km of CO2 and less than 25mpg. Servicing is expensive too.