Comfortable and

frugal estate

Volvo XC70, action
Volvo XC70, side
Volvo XC70, rear
Volvo XC70 dash
Volvo XC70 loadbed

I COVERED more than 500 miles in Volvo's big XC70 estate and even with an automatic gearbox and a lot of fast motorway work, it still averaged 35 miles per gallon.

I drove the D3 all wheel drive (AWD) and although it's not the most powerful diesel in the range, it was certainly fast enough for me.

The automatic gearbox takes all the strain, but there is a manual setting and if you do the changes yourself you can improve the economy because it stays in higher gears for longer.

These big Volvos are supremely comfortable for long journeys and I can understand why so many owners swear by them.

Yet they are also reasonably agile around the corners, with tremendous grip and safe handling, and of course that AWD gives the ability for rough tracks and grass fields without any problem.

The only thing that does not work well is the sat nav, which has a remote control and is very difficult to use. Time for Volvo to move on to a touch screen and steal a march on BMW and Mercedes.

Excellent seats support in all the right places and the SE Lux comes with a huge array of standard equipment including voice activation, dual climate control and that sat nav.

FAST FACTS

Price: £37,000

Mechanical: 160bhp, 2,400cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed auto gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 41

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 179g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles

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