Volvo V70 D3

R-Design ES manual

WHILE Volvo may in recent times have appeared to be taking more than a cursory peek into the world of the smaller car, aficionados rest assured, the Swedish car firm is still very much a serious competitor in the big car world.

Considered by many to be still very much the wagonmaster, Volvo does run with big cars alongside the likes of its C30 urban runner and, recently, I tried one of the big guys, the Volvo V70.

Despite many alternative transports such as the MPVs and SUVs many people's favourite is still the good old estate car and the Volvo V70 features most of the attributes required when the serious shooting brake seeker heads for the showrooms.

The likes of squared off sharp edges which formed the car's box-like shape for years, all tinted in battleship grey, are very much things of the past having been replaced by some hugely attractive architecture, comprising smooth lines running the full length of the body.

The V70 also looks more purposeful boasting some very sweeping bonnet lines which link majestically with the sensibly retained traditional square grille, flanked by some very shapely headlights.

The interior too is good with fit and finish of a very high order, including a neatly set out dash and an easily navigable "floating" centre console.

In fact V70 is a true family model - a substantial estate car of quality which provides particularly comfortable seating.

The boot delivers some 540 litres of luggage space with all seats taken extending to 1,600 litres with rear seats folded. Large awkward shaped items can also be accommodated while there are plenty of fastening devices around to help prevent your luggage adopting a mind of its own.

The R-Design model driven here features sporty connections both inside and out and the ES trim provides a generous kit level with the likes of leather seating, dual zone climate control, electric windows all round and MP3 compatible CD player all coming as standard.

Volvo products have always been hot on safety and this latest big wagon proves no exception with the likes of dynamic stability and traction control, front, side and curtain airbags, plus the side impact protection system featuring high in the manifest while speed sensitive power steering and an intelligent parking brake which disengages with a press of the throttle also feature.

The two-litre turbo diesel engine paired with a smooth slotting manual gear change makes this V70 a very capable whether on business or pleasure.

This 162bhp oil-burner will help to take you from 0-60mph in a little over nine seconds while, driven sensibly there is the promise of a bit more than 50mpg on average.

From a well engineered driving position the V70 drives well. Body roll is at a minimum and with well balanced steering there is some impressive handling to be had from what is a sure footed and agile car for its size.

FAST FACTS

Volvo V70 D3 R-Design ES manual

Price: £29,160

Mechanical: 162bhp, 1,984cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 50.4

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 144g/km

Bik rating: 19%

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