The Volvo V70 was brought to market in 1997 as a direct replacement for the 850. During its initial run, it was actually a face-lifted version of its predecessor, with more rounded edges, a new ‘family face,’ colour-coded bumpers, and a completely new dashboard.
The V70 is a four-door station wagon and retains much of the classic Volvo wagon shape in all its guises, with the exception of the V70 XC crossover model, which soon became the XC70. The V70 was available initially with a 2.5L engine married to either a manual 5-speed or an automatic 4-speed gearbox. There were initially 3 trim levels available in the form of the base model, SE, AWD, R, and T-5 (both of which featured a turbo 2.3L engine), and these were joined by the T model in 1999.
The second-generation models were released in 2000, and they came with Volvo’s new P2 platform and a more rounded, aerodynamic front end. These new models featured adhesively bonded construction in certain key areas, making it 70 per cent more rigid in the process. In 2008, a T6 model with a 6-speed gearbox and a 3.0L engine was introduced.
All through its lifespan, the V70 has retained the classic Volvo wagon shape while rounder lines have corresponded with its increasingly athletic appearance.
The basic engine on first-generation models was a 2.4L 5-cylinder model that, like many engines found in Volvo wagons, has a reputation for sturdiness and reliability. The non-turbo version produces a power output of 125kW at 6100rpm and a torque of 230Nm at 4800rpm. In terms of acceleration, the basic model could reach 0-100km/h in a respectable 9.0 seconds. In terms of fuel consumption, the basic model uses a combined 7.5L/100km, which is a respectable amount for such a large car.
Although manual versions do exist, such examples are rare, but automatic-equipped examples are solid as a rock and will do their job properly, provided they have been serviced correctly. Like all Volvo station wagons, the V70 will have been put through its paces over the years, and if considering a purchase, one should make sure that it comes with a full service history.
At the other end of the scale, the T6 model released in 2008, has a 3.0L engine with a 6-speed gearbox, producing 210kW of power at 5000rpm, a torque of 400Nm at 1500rpm and an acceleration of 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds. All of this extra power comes at a cost to fuel consumption, however, using a combined 11.3L/100km.
Generally, the V70 is a comfortable cruiser that delivers a smooth ride, and it is very quiet at speed. The suspension is generally softer than on other European cars, which is perfect for a family car, although earlier turbo models suffer as a result of this, providing a rougher ride. The 2008 T6 model is a different story, with its Sport mode adding a little extra tension to its suspension without sacrificing ride quality. In addition, steering on all models is very precise, and it contributes nicely to the relaxed driving experience that the car provides.
One should bear in mind that turbocharged engines will cost more to insure, and if planning to let one’s children use the V70 as a first car, also bear in mind some states do not allow P-platers to drive cars with turbo engines. As fun as turbocharged vehicles are to drive, the V70’s purpose as a family car is more than satisfied by the non-turbo models.
Standard kit includes climate-control air-conditioning, CD stereo, remote central locking, and power mirrors and windows. Standard kit on early models includes air-conditioning with climate control, remote central locking, CD stereo, power windows and mirrors, engine immobiliser, and leather trim. Second-generation models add 15-inch alloy wheels and a roof rack. A sunroof could be added as an option.
In accordance with Volvo’s legendary regard to safety, ABS, dual front airbags, side front airbags, and seatbelt pretensioners are included with early models. Later models add traction control and electronic brakeforce distribution.
Audi, BMW, and Mercedes all offer mid-price wagons with a similar level of standard equipment and quality, but all of these examples are much more expensive than the Volvo.
The Mazda6 was also a competitor, and although it has been discontinued, this model can still be found on the used market. However, the Mazda6 does not adhere to the same premium-level standard kit, and the S70 is arguably a more worthy purchase.