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Volvo’s big, square V70 estate still ticks box

09:22 30 January 2016

The Volvo V70 still proves that when it comes to big, boxy, practical estate cars it

The Volvo V70 still proves that when it comes to big, boxy, practical estate cars it's good to be a little bit square.

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Volvo’s big V70 estate may have been around a while but you can’t ignore charms of this traditional holdall, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Sticking with tradition

Styles change - you only have look at the Volvo range which is now more youthful. But some things never change – Volvo will always have a big, load-lugging estate.

Volvo has built its reputation on big estates and the role is still filled by the V70 which, despite picking up design cues from the modern generation like the flowing curves and pronounced rear wing ‘shoulders’, it still harks back to when estates were big and square with an upright tailgate to maximise load space. Nothing wrong with that when it comes to the ultimate in carrying capacity and capability.

Volvo V70

Price: Volvo V70 D4 Geartronic SE Lux £36,470 (range from £26,195)

Engine: 1,969cc, 181hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 8.6 seconds; top speed 137mph

MPG: Urban 51.4; extra urban 67.3; combined 60.1

CO2 emissions: 122g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 22%

Insurance group: 30E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,814mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,106mm; H 1,547mm

Huge following

It’s not difficult to see why so many V70 owners come back for more – Volvo is a ‘buy-in’ brand and the V70 has its own customer loyalty.

Despite its traditional look, it has a certain elegance and a solid, dependable feel about it.

Cargo carrier

The big Volvo estate is no longer the force it used to be when it comes to load-lugging, with some cleverly-packaged smaller estates beating its outright volume. Still, 575 litres to the window line with the rear seats up, including a little underfloor storage, is not to be sneezed at.

With a low sill, long floor, wide access and hardly any intrusion, it’s all useable space which can’t be said of all its rivals. Lay the 40/20/40 rear seat backs flat and, with that upright tailgate, you’ve got 1,600 litres to the roof - ideal for big, boxy, bulky items.

The tonneau cover is easy enough to open and close but the upright net to stop stacked items flying into the cabin or keep dogs in the boot is a little tricky to locate until you get the knack.

Cabin space

Whether you’re in the front or back, the shapely, supportive seats are among the most comfortable I have every come across so you can cover huge distances and get out feeling totally fresh.

For a car of this size, there’s not as much legroom in the back as you would expect, given how manufacturers are freeing up more room inside modern cars, but the V70 has adequate accommodation to carry four six-footers without complaints.

At the wheel

The traditional feel extends to the fascia, a model of Scandinavian understatement but rather bland, with clarity and chunky main controls that can be operated even with gloves on but the ‘floating’ centre console packed with little buttons for the infotainment system is fiddly and takes your eyes from the road to use it.

But I love being able to change the look of the TFT (thin film transistor) instruments and dials, with Eco, Elegance and Performance themes, to suit your mood. Performance is my favourite with its red back lighting and big rev counter with inset numeric speedo and a power gauge.

Plenty of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel means any sized driver can tailor them to suit their needs but I also kept knocking my knee on that floating centre console.

Under the bonnet

The four-cylinder 2.0-litre Drive-E engines – 150hp D3 and 181hp D4 – make the V70 appealing with low-down flexibility and refined top-end performance.

The D4, mated to the slick-shifting eight-speed Geartronic auto transmission, has ample performance with strong mid-range acceleration and is barely audible at motorway speeds.

Running around returned 40mpg with 50mpg overall, boosted by a decent run.

How it drives

The V70 is set up for long-legged, comfortable cruising. For the most part the ride is extremely supple and cosseting but sunken roadwork scars and drain covers send a thump through the cabin at low speed.

It’s not a driver’s car like a BMW 5 Series Touring on twisty roads but you can make good progress but its size and some body roll through corners are the limiting factor.

Final say

If you’re looking for a huge, practical holdall that can cover vast distances you can’t ignore the Volvo V70. With a curvy new V90 estate in the wings, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the V70 but this Volvo stalwart still ticks the box.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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