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Volvo XC70 2007 Review

Bigger dimensions inside and out, new front and rear lights and a deeper rear window gives the Volvo XC70 a bolder stance.

Subaru had the Outback, but the idea of all-wheel drive wagons hadn’t yet spread across the industry, which had started to get busy with selling big SUVs for people to go shopping in.

There are more crossover rivals now, but the XC70 has proved such a success for Volvo that it recently came close to killing the donor car here in Australia.

Volvo has relented, and the new V70 will arrive in the first quarter of 2008 for the estimated 150 buyers per year who want it. But a longer queue; about 800 a year; is expected for the new XC70, which was launched last week and goes on sale in January.

For them, the XC70 delivers a bit more of the same. It’s bigger and longer, has slightly more room and a modernised look. But it’s not so different that you can’t tell what it is straight away – and from quite a distance.

The most noticeable styling change is around the tail, where it has faint echoes of the funky C30. This has been achieved by giving the cargo area a subtly hexagonal-shaped tailgate, and then moving part of the light cluster onto it, allowing for much larger lenses that accentuate the shape of the brand’s now-signature sculpted haunches; and are bound to be a safety bonus, too.

The interior scores another key Volvo cue, the floating console, which does a lot to reduce the bulkiness of the previous cabin layout.

The dash has an organic shape that sweeps up over the instrument binnacle, and a nice touch is the wood inlay that is not only the real deal, but looks and feels like it; rather than being masked in thick gloss lacquer.

The old five-pot petrol engine has been evicted from under the bonnet, with the new tenants being a choice between either a 175kW/320Nm 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol or a revised 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel that develops 138kW and 400Nm. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic with simulated manual mode.

The petrol variant costs $58,950 and the diesel $2000 more in standard trim, with 'standard’ meaning all the essentials plus leather upholstery, driver’s seat power adjustment, 17” alloys (but temporary spare) dual zone climate control airconditioning, premium audio and retractable mirrors.

The safety list includes airbags everywhere, dynamic stability and traction control with anti-skid brakes and a variety of braking assistance program; including one that starts braking automatically if it thinks the situation requires it, hill descent control, rear park assist, whiplash protection headrests, and two-stage booster cushions in the rear seat that not only raise kids to the level where they can see more easily but also bring their little noggins closer to the protection of the extended side curtain airbag.

The LE trim level adds $6000 to the price, for which you get 18” alloys, self-opening tailgate, sunroof, front parking alert, power adjustment on the passenger seat, CD stacker and rain-sensing wipers.

Another $6000 gets the optional technology pack, which Volvo says adds $9500 worth of nav system, active bi-zenon headlights with washers, blind spot alert and auto-dimming rear vision mirror with compass.

 

On the road

There’s no question that the diesel engine is the winner when it comes to hauling around the XC70’s hefty bulk, which adds to about two tonnes by the time you add a couple of healthy adults and some luggage.

The petrol was an adequate performer for urban cruising and undemanding stints on the open road, but with effort of the higher revs needed; about 2000 more for peak power and 1000 for peak torque; it’s best to let this one simply take life at a sedate and sensible pace.

The diesel’s extra muscle and the fact that it comes on tap earlier means it’s the one to go for if you want to get into the joy of driving. Although it sounds unrefined at idle, once you tap the pedal enough to get the turbo involved it rewards you with great response and a rather satisfying meaty gurgle.

However the handling is doughy in hard corners, the steering is very dignified about when it answers input and steep slopes demanded some help from the transmission’s manual mode.

But apart from a touch of bouncing because of the long wheel travel that serves the vehicle well offroad, ride quality is excellent, whether you’re on good or bad bitumen, dirt, gravel or facing off against a pothole run.

So on a run up North Queensland’s version of the great ocean road, the trek from Cairns through the Daintree and Cape Tribulation to Cooktown, which claims one write-off a week plus countless breakdowns; the XC70 was a great companion.

This is the kind of travelling that can leave you exhausted at the end, but the car insulated us from any of the unpleasantries under the wheels and we arrived as fresh as we started.

It’s never going to climb up the sides of mountains. But then nor are most of the offoaders that can rock-crawl but never get outside the city. The XC70 is for those who want a wagon with some SUV ability, but don’t need an SUV; and are intelligent enough to acknowledge that fact.

 


Snapshot

Volvo XC70

Price: from $58,950

Engines: 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol (175kW@6200rpm, 320Nm@3200rpm), 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel (138kW@4000rpm, 400Nm@2000-2750rpm

Transmission: six-speed automatic with simulated manual mode.

 

Pricing guides

$7,935
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$5,200
Highest Price
$10,670

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.2 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,600 – 10,230 2007 Volvo XC70 2007 3.2 Pricing and Specs
D5 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,900 – 10,670 2007 Volvo XC70 2007 D5 Pricing and Specs
Lifestyle Edition (LE) 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,900 – 9,130 2007 Volvo XC70 2007 Lifestyle Edition (LE) Pricing and Specs
SE 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,200 – 8,030 2007 Volvo XC70 2007 SE Pricing and Specs