Volvo's off-road

easy rider

Volvo XC70, interior
Volvo XC70 off road, front
Volvo XC70 off road, side
Volvo XC70 off road, rear

VERY few car owners have any real idea of just how accomplished their car can be if really put to the test.

A prime example of this is the Volvo XC70. Although the vehicle boasts all-wheel-drive, a small percentage of drivers have ever strayed far from the security of the road network.

Now that's a shame because this car is more than capable of taking any challenge Mother Nature throws in its path and eating it up for fun.

I know this because I was lucky enough to drive the 2012 XC70 D5 2.4-litre diesel-powered model around some very testing wooded tracks in Sweden where heavy rainfall had made the off-road course slippery, boggy and very demanding.

The course was scattered with large rocks and loose stones and, of course, plenty of trees lined the track so there was little room for error.

Thankfully, the vehicle is the real performer. All that was required from a driving perspective was steering and steady acceleration and brakes as and when required.

Despite occasional slides and the grinding of larger rocks on the undercarriage, the automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive coped with ease as it worked its way steadily but confidently around the course.

The XC70 also boasts an excellent hill descent feature which was also put to the test.

The car was put into manual gear and then left to its own devices. There was no need to touch the pedals as the car maintained a constant speed as it weaved its way down the steep incline - all that was required from the driver was steering.

At the end of the course, we returned to base with our vehicles caked in thick mud, but otherwise in perfect working order.

However, it was very easy to forgive owners who stick to the more predictable road surfaces rather than risk their pride and joy off-roading.

But it would be great if they could see just how accomplished the XC70 really is.

Volvo has introduced a number of new enhancements to its 2012 vehicle range.

The XC70 benefits from a new highly advanced infotainment system along with connectivity - a system that means owners can stay in touch with their vehicle via a mobile phone app.

There is also an improved engine range that delivers more power but boasts better fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

Another feature new to the XC70 is Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake.

This system uses radar and a camera to monitor pedestrians in front of the car. Initially, the driver is alerted to the danger so they can brake or steer clear of the pedestrian. If the driver does not respond, the car automatically brakes with full force moments before the collision becomes unavoidable.

The XC70 range is priced from £28,825 to £41,385.


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