Volvo XC70 still a

major player

Volvo XC70, front action
Volvo XC70 front action 2
Volvo XC70, side static 2
Volvo XC70, side static
Volvo XC70, rear action
Volvo XC70 rear
Volvo XC70, dashboard
Volvo XC70, boot

IFyou want a large four wheel drive estate and don't want the size or chunkiness of a big off-roader, there are only a few to choose from.

I've been driving the well-proven Volvo XC70, which has raised ride height, permanent four-wheel-drive and a sumptuously luxurious interior.

It's only real competition comes from the Skoda Superb Estate - equally large and luxurious, cheaper, but no raised ride height, or the Audi A6 Allroad, which is vastly more expensive.

The XC70 is in the long tradition of big Volvo estates, which at one time had the class almost to themselves, with big interior space plus a huge boot.

I drove the SE Lux at the top of the range, powered by the company's last five cylinder 2.4 diesel and a six-speed automatic gearbox.

I say last because Volvo has already committed itself to reducing the number and size of its engines, making them all four cylinder units and using turbocharging to maintain performance.

It is already almost there, with a 2.0-litre diesel in other models producing almost as much power as the 212bhp the five cylinder has to offer.

Acceleration is excellent right through the rev range, and the automatic gearbox suits it perfectly, with slick changes and quick kickdown when needed.

It also has Sport and Manual settings and, in manual, gearchanges can be made using paddles behind the steering wheel.

But if I'm honest, there's never any need, because Sport mode gives everything any driver could want for swifter progress.

The power steering is a little too light but the road holding is surprisingly good for a high vehicle. Comfort is also excellent, with none of the side to side rocking motion that comes with other similar cars.

It comes with very useful rear parking sensors, a tight turning circle, power mirrors, heated leather seats with electric adjustment and an excellent navigation and stereo system.

FAST FACTS

Price:£41,235

Mechanical:212bhp, 2,400cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:130mph

0-62mph:7.7 seconds

Combined MPG:53

Insurance Group:31

C02 emissions:139g/km

Bik rating:25%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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