Volvo XC70 D3 VOR

Volvo XC70, side
Volvo XC70, rear
Volvo XC70, action
Volvo XC70, interior
Volvo XC70, front
Volvo XC70 side

VOLVO pioneered the crossover estate concept when it introduced its V70 Cross Country model way back in 1996, but that's notall the Swedish brand can shout about.

A strongly built Volvo once saved a relative from serious injury when he was struck by other vehicles on an ice covered road.

I recall him saying: "My car crumpled front and back, but the passenger section was untouched."

This, along with its reliability and build quality confirmed to me just how well constructed Volvos are, but the bonus is that every model boasts an average lifespan of 19 years, which means you will get bored with it before it gets bored with you.

He kept that car for 14 years before changing it for another Volvo.

It is this reputation for strength, safety and longevity that place the brand light years ahead of most of the competition.

I've just tried the latest XC70 D3 crossover with all wheel drive and geartronic transmission in Volvo Ocean Racing special trim.

With a 'soft lined' but slightly rugged exterior that  gives a glimpse of its DNA, it does not have the bulky looks of an SUV.

But it does not need them, because it quite definitively does have the 'go anywhere' ability and versatility.

It is higher than the V70 estate and 15mm longer with a top class cabin that is a match for any prestigious executive car.

This model, in fact marks another step forward in Volvo's drive to offer buyers what they want.

It is modern, stylish and rather trendy, without being OTT.

The comfortable seating, plus the overall design layout complimented by class leading electronic systems makes it stand out.

An optional extra is an integrated satellite navigation with voice command.

But the standard fitment of a laser sensor in the windscreen really does show off the attention to details with which this model is blessed.

This leading safety system automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not respond to a slowing vehicle ahead.

And its not the only safety factor on-board. Adaptive cruise control plus a complete set of airbags and a host of other pieces of electronic wizardry are in the specification.

Nothing but the best could become its motto, yet performance and handling also play a role.

I found the geartronic system was smooth, the steering finely balanced and the acceleration to 60mph in 9.6 seconds lively enough for a large estate.

During my run I encountered rural backwaters, open roads and managed to put the car through a series of manoeuvres.

It parked fine in the supermarket car park. It responded to the accelerator and allowed safe overtaking. Under heavy braking it never faltered.

Oversteer and understeer was non existent.

The steering was always was positive and I did not get even the slightest hint of slide from the front or rear.

A top speed of 127mph is remarkably good whilst its long distance touring credentials were excellent.

Not only will it move a family in comfort and style it can swallow up to 1,600 litres of luggage.

The  range kicks off with a T6 automatic AWD and the flagship is the D5. CO2 ratings range from 144 to 248g/km, fuel consumption goes from 26.7 on the combined cycle to 51.4mpg and prices range from £31,000 to just over £34,400.

So the spread of performance, fuel usage, CO2 and pricing is quite wide and prospective Volvo buyers should find a model to suit their budgets.

My 'middle of the road' version seemed to have exactly what I would wish for - easy driving, easy running, excellent touring capability, sure-footedness, safety, comfort and a long shelf life.

What more can you ask for?

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC70 D3 VOR

Price: £32,315

Mechanical: 163bhp, 2,400cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 41.5

Insurance Group: 30

C02 emissions: 179g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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