The Volvo XC70 is a premium station wagon based on the S80 sedan. It provides solid all-weather capabilities in addition to a stylish and roomy interior and the cutting-edge safety technology that one would expect in a Volvo.
After receiving a mild refresh for the previous model year, the XC70 this year benefits from an efficient new "Drive-E" turbocharged four-cylinder base engine.
The XC70 features a more curvaceous and organic look than the Volvos of yore but it isn't radical enough to scare brand loyalists away. A black plastic lower body wrap adds an air of ruggedness, which is enhanced by the SUV-like 8.3 inches of ground clearance. 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights add a premium touch to the appearance.
Upholding the comfort end of the equation is a coddling cabin complete with some of the most comfortable seats ever fitted to an automobile. Volvo's tastefully minimalistic "floating" center console adds a bit of style, while those looking to haul copious amounts of cargo will appreciate the capacious trunk area: 33.3 cubic feet are available with the rear seats upright, while 72.1 cubic inches are available with them folded down.
The instrument cluster consists of an analog speedometer flanked by four digital gauges. All models come equipped with a thin-film transistor (TFT) screen that can be configured to provide vital information about the car and its surroundings.
All XC70s regardless of trim level come standard with a dash-mounted seven-inch color touch screen that runs Volvo's Sensus infotainment system. Sensus groups the car's connectivity, entertainment and navigation (if equipped) functions into a single easy-to-use unit that can also be controlled with buttons on the center stack and a voice command feature.
Under The Hood
The XC70 can be spec'd with the buyer's choice of three different powertrains.
The standard configuration is a new "Drive-E" turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. This motor sends 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, an arrangement that is good for an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Drivers in northern climates may want to opt for the 3.2-liter straight-six, which is paired with all-wheel-drive. This mill pairs with a six-speed automatic and puts out 240 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Mileage is rated at 18/25 mpg.
Those in a hurry should spring for the "T6" turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and its 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. An available Polestar engine upgrade increases the output of the later motor to 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque.
Both the T6 and Polestar rely on a six-speed automatic, feature all-wheel-drive and return 17/23 mpg.
Dynamically, the XC70 is safe and predictable rather than athletic and sporty. Though accurate, the steering is quite light and lacking in feel, while a fair bit of body roll in turns is the price paid for the wagon's SUV-imitating ride height. There is no low-range transfer case on the options list, signaling that this wagon is designed not to traverse muddy trails but rather to comfortably and safely convey its occupants to their destination through any variety of inclement weather - on the pavement.
There is no low-range transfer case on the options list, signaling that this wagon is designed not to traverse muddy trails but rather to comfortably and safely convey its occupants to their destination through any variety of inclement weather - on the pavement.
Standard and Optional Features
The XC70 is available in Drive-E, 3.2 and T6 models, each of which can be had with a choice of several different optional trim levels.
The base XC70 Drive-E and 3.2 come with leather upholstery, aluminum inlays, an AM/FM/CD stereo system with AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with audio streaming, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver's seat, headlight washers, rain sensor windshield wipers and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Next up is the 3.2 Premier, which adds a moonroof, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, genuine wood inlays, a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, tinted rear seat and cargo area windows and keyless drive. The Premier Plus includes Premier features plus a power liftgate, a quick-fold passenger seat, active Xenon headlights a rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors. Finally, the Platinum trim includes all the Premier Plus features and also adds a navigation system, accent lighting, a rear parking camera and a 650-watt sound system with Dolby Surround Sound.
The base XC70 T6 includes all of the 3.2's content but adds the Premier trim as standard. The Premier Plus and Platinum trims stay the same.
Highlights from the rest of the list of standalone optional features list include a rear seat entertainment system with two seven-inch LCD monitors, heated front and rear seats and a tow hitch that lets buyers utilize the car's 3300-pound towing capability.
Volvo offers the XC70 with two option packages. The Climate Package bundles features such as heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield and the automaker's Interior Air Quality System.
The Technology Package consists largely of driving aids such as Volvo's Pedestrian Detection technology. Cable of of detecting when a collision with a pedestrian is imminent, the system automatically triggers the S60's brakes to prevent an impact. Other package highlights include Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Distance Alert, Lane Depature Warning and active high beams.
Standard on all XC70s is the automaker's City Safety package, which uses a laser sensor to automatically trigger the brakes at low speeds if a pending impact is detected. Other standard safety features include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, a tire pressure monitoring system and emergency brake assist.
The XC70's most direct rival is the Audi allroad, which also a luxury wagon masquerading as an SUV. Those looking to do large amounts of people or cargo hauling should note that the Audi is a bit smaller than the Volvo. Potential buyers should also cross-shop similarly priced premium crossovers such as the Acura MDX, Lexus RX 350 and Lincoln MKX.