Used Car Review: Volvo V70 2.4D SEBy Philip Shoulder
December 22, 2011
Since the late 1990s, Volvo have been trying to shake off ‘the tank-on-wheels’ image of their cars. It began with the S80 which saw a massive change in styling from previous boxy designs. Yet although the S80 and subsequent S/V60 and S/V70 models looked the part – they still fell well behind class best on handling dynamics and driver appeal.
This changed with the arrival of the C30 – a dramatic departure from previous models in every respect. Here was one Volvo that drove as well as it looked.
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This philosophy has filtered down into Volvo’s, most well known family workhorse, the V70.
Launched in 2007 the current V70 range features a range of powerplants: from a 109 bhp 4 cylinder 1.6 diesel through to a the D5, producing 205 bhp, which in manual form can sprint to 60 in 7.7 seconds and go on to a top speed of 140 mph. The petrol line up consists of a 236 bhp 2.5 turbo and 285 bhp 3.0 turbo –with the latter boasting a 0- to 60 of just 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph.
The model tested here is the 2.4D SE
On the road:
First impressions were positive. Almost straight away it felt different to the old model. Good communicative steering, surefooted handling, responsive and powerful engine.
The remote stodgy feeling of older Volvos was nowhere to be seen – although still no BMW 5 series or Jaguar XF, the new chassis really is quite a revelation in Volvo terms.
The ride is a big improvement on the previous model, being surprisingly settled and comfortable, with the V70 feeling equally composed on motorways, A-roads and twisty B-roads. Road noise is well suppressed too, although cars fitted with higher profile 16 inch wheels offer a more comfortable ride than lower profile 17 or 18 inch alternatives.
The 5 cylinder 2.4 diesel was another pleasant surprise. For the most part it went about its business unobtrusively, but when extended there was a pleasant audible burble. It packed some oomph as well, using its quick throttle response and ample torque to deliver a satisfying surge of mid-range power – perfect for 30-50 mph overtaking.
Once inside the car, you are greeted by a modern swooping dash – vastly different to the one in the previous V70. Apart from the now trademark Volvo ‘Floating’ centre console (the way its curved makes it look like it’s not attached to anything), the dashboard is all new.
With the dashboard, Volvo has clearly taken style cues from BMW, Mercedes and Audi – such is the contrast between this and the old car’s design. There is even an on/off engine start button. Yet despite being more modern and stylish, the good news is that the dash remains logical and easy to use.
As is tradition with Volvo, the current V70’s seats are superb, being both comfortable and supportive with all manner of lumber and height adjustments. The optional family pack enables the rear seat cushions to fold up to form child booster seats – a useful feature for young families.
The V70 is a big spacious car, although ironically has less boot capacity than all of its direct rivals. Yet the Volvo is still an effective load lugger, thanks to its long boot floor and wide tailgate opening, while there’s also a clever luggage system that keeps items in the boot secure. All this means there will still be ample room for all the family – pets included.
Traditional Volvo values of safety, comfort and style have been built on to now include improved dynamics and driver involvement. The result is a genuinely capable all-round family car that deserves serious consideration.
What to look for:
Volvo has issued eight recalls for the V70 since the car's launch in 2007. Before you buy, check any potential problems have been sorted. A number of issues concern faults with safety equipment. Recalls have also concerned faulty heater element valves and corroded engine-cooling fans.
Turbochargers have also been known to fail. Blue smoke from the exhaust pipe and a shortage of engine power are warning signs. Estimate £1000+ to fix.
Most V70 diesel engines are respectably economical, with the extra frugal 1.6 DRIVe model returning a genuinely impressive combined consumption of 62.8 mpg.
Petrol engines are much less economical. The T5 claims an average of 32mpg, but real-world thirst is much higher and closer to 25 mpg. Even the entry-level 2.0-litre petrol only manages an average of 33mpg.
Insurance groups are manageable, and mainly range from 20- 29, but high performance T5 and T6R models are over 30.
Servicing can be expensive, but to maintain residuals it’s best to stick to Volvo main dealers, which have a good reputation for after sales care.
Used Prices: £8,050 - £26,395
Model Tested: 2009 V70 2.4D (175 PS) SE Geartronic, 36,600 miles, £19,450
Dealer: Squire Furneaux, Leatherhead
Power: 172 BHP
0-60: 9.6 sec
MPG: 41 mpg (combined)
CO2 emission: 179g/km
2011/2012 VED: Band I, £210pa