Volvo XC70 D5 SE Lux

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

TO many with longer memories, Volvos - especially the old 740 and 780 estates - were associated with safety and resembled a medium-sized barge.

The Swedish manufacturer's range is altogether different now, sleek and stylish, but still features some larger beasts and in the case of the XC70, still resembles a seagoing vessel, but more a sleek yacht than barge. 

It is a big car, somewhere between the XC90 and the V70 that is a practical and capable as anything in its class.

And at £30,000 plus for the 'entry level' model is firmly in the executive bracket.

Safety is still paramount with Volvo, but their cars offer much more these days and are generously kitted out as well as being highly practical.

Most models feature all-wheel drive, although there is now a two-wheel drive version and are powered by a choice of 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre diesel engine, Both are powerful with plenty of torque to provide the pulling power and towing capacity you would expect from a vehicle with off-road capability.

While not capable of crossing rivers and mountainous terrain, pulling a horsebox through the fields to a gymkhana should be no problem at all thanks to its high ground clearance and on-demand four wheel drive, while the cavernous carrying capacity means that all the associated paraphernalia can be swallowed up with ease.

As well as the pulling capacity, both engines and particularly the tested 215bhp 2.4-litre version deliver lively acceleration.

Whether needing speedy grunt to get out of trouble or overtaking on the motorway, the power is virtually always on top, while the gearchanges from the six speed automatic gearbox are slick and almost imperceptible.

It is also pretty economical with a claimed 50.4mpg. It certainly did not drink the juice with the fuel indicator showing a slow descent over a week of varied motoring, a pleasant surprise on such a big car.

Inside the car is lavishly equipped with all the electric goodies, like windows and door mirrors, parking sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, sat nav system and much more.

But added luxury other optional goodies including lane-departure warning and blind spot warning on the windscreen pillar, which certainly wakes you up if you get too close to another vehicle, or it gets too close to you, add to the cost. These and other extras added nearly an extra £10,000 to the price.

Inside, the car features Volvo's signature floating centre console that houses many main controls while the dashboard is clearly and neatly laid out.

The car has a real luxury feel, finished with high quality soft touch materials.

As an estate it is a given that it offers great practicality and normal boot space is generous with 575 litres available. Fold the rear seats and it becomes cavernous 1,600 litres and there are various other little containers and side pockets throughout the interior.

On the road, the car feels what it is, a large estate that has a softish ride that can sometimes be unsettled on inferior roads, but in general is still comfortable. Handling is just about OK, but is not a car you would want to be throwing into corners.

Still a big car, still extremely practical and still very safe, but now very much a car of the 21 century.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC70 D5 SE Lux

Price: £36,705

Mechanical: 215bhp, 2,400cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 7.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 50.4

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 149g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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