The Volvo XC70 is a wagon variant of the automaker's midsize S80 luxury sedan with increased ground clearance and SUV duds. Though it shouldn't be mistaken for a serious off-roading machine, it does provide solid all-weather capabilities in addition to a stylish and roomy interior and the cutting-edge safety technology that one would expect of a Volvo.
Outside, the XC70 features a more curvaceous and organic look than Volvos of yore, though it isn't radical enough to scare away brand loyalists. A black plastic lower body wrap adds an air of ruggedness, which is enhanced by the SUV-like 8.3-inches of ground clearance.
However, there's 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.
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.
Power comes from either the standard 3.2-liter straight six-cylinder gasoline engine producing 240 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, or a turbocharged "T6" 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that is good for 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.
All XC70s feature a six-speed automatic transmission. While the 3.2 comes standard with front-wheel drive and offers optional all-wheel drive, the T6 has AWD as standard. Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway for the FWD 3.2 (18/24 mpg with AWD), while the T6 returns 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.
Standard and Optional Features
The XC70 is available in 3.2 and T6 models, each of which can be had with a choice of several different optional trim levels.
The XC70 3.2 comes with the naturally aspirated six along 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 and 17-inch alloy wheels. New standard features for the latest model year include headlight washers and rain sensor windshield wipers.
Optional trim levels on the 3.2 start with the Premier trim, which adds a moonroof, 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 liftage, active Xenon headlights and front and rear parking sensors. Finally, the Platinum trim includes all the Premier Plus features and also adds a navigation system, a rear parking camera and a 650-watt sound system with Dolby Surround Sound.
The XC70 T6 includes all of the 3.2's content but adds the Premier trim as standard. The Premier Plus and Platinum trims are optional.
Highlights from the rest of the 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-lb. towing capability.
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 and emergency brake assist.
Additionally, a number of optional safety technologies can be had, including Lane Departure Warning, a Blind Sport Information system and Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection.
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.