What is it?
Free from the affectation of pseudo-sportiness that has afflicted the V60, the V70 sits proud as the no-nonsense flagship of Volvo’s still largely conservative range. This, after all, is the choice of the motorway cop, a car synonymous with high-viz jackets, traffic cones and SP60s. Small wonder when you think about it. The V70 is versatile, comfortable, reliable and quick without being flash – tax-payer funded, remember. The automotive embodiment of sensible.
It’s getting on a bit now but instead of replacing it, Volvo has facelifted it. That’s OK: the V70 is still able, just, to measure up.
The V70 is built for comfort, and as such is most at home on the motorway, preferably with blue lights on the roof. Here, in its natural habitat, the soft, supple ride and uncertain steering help keep the car – and its driver – relaxed and composed. Pushed through an unfamiliar series of countryside bends, however, this disconnect is a hindrance to fast, assured progress. The large estate body is well enough controlled, but this is not a car to rival the BMW 5-Series for multi-tasking dynamic duties.
Until recently, you could order your V70 with a variety of thirsty petrol engines, all of which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. So Volvo has dumped them. It’s diesel-only now, and the one you really want is the new 2.0-litre D4 Drive-E diesel. This is still good for 60mph in around eight seconds, but it’s also capable of returning 65mpg. Call it over 50mpg in the real world.
On the inside
If you’ve yet to sit in the back of a V70 while being given a ticket, you’ll be delighted to hear that your taxes have got you a very spacious and comfortable seat in which to spend those 15 minutes of shame-faced tedium. And if you have, you may have noticed, while peering nosily over your shoulder, that the boot isn’t quite as big as you might have expected, certainly not on par with an E-Class. Nevermind, the rear seats fold 40/20/40 instead of the usual 60/40 which aids versatility. It’s nice up front too. Lucky plod.
Assuming you have paid for this car to find yourself in it, rather than graduated to Traffic or been pulled over by them, you’ll be pleased by the excellent levels of comfort and quality that a V70 provides. It’s not a very interesting design exercise, nor is it quite as luxurious as some newer rivals from BMW or Mercedes, but the V70 exudes a solidity and understatement that perfectly complements the rest of the car. There’s even a great-value new trim line, the Business Edition. Prices start from under £26k and it includes sat nav and a high end stereo as standard.