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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Solid, comfortable interior; good choice of engines

Against Rivals provide more seats-down cargo space

Verdict A decent-driving, but firm-riding estate

Go for… 2.5 Turbodiesel

Avoid… T5 R petrol

Volvo V70 Estate
  • 1. Diesel versions can be very hard on brake pads
  • 2. Hard-worked, high-mileage T5s may have engine and turbo problems
  • 3. Load bay is huge and practical
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Volvo V70 Estate full review with expert trade views

When the V70 estate pitched up in 1996, it wasn’t really a new car, but a face-lifted version of the old 850, with softer, rounder looks inside and out. Mind you, that’s no bad thing, because the 850 was a well proven family wagon, even if it can’t match the Mercedes-Benz E-Class for outright load space.

The hard-wearing cabin, which has great seats up front, has plenty of room for the family and comes with an integral rear child seat. Anti-lock brakes, a driver’s air-bag and side airbags were standard on launch models, but the passenger’s airbag was optional only.

The V70's particular strength is as a settled and very stable car on the motorway. But, it also handles pretty well on twisty roads and there’s a genuinely involving feel. The only disappointment is that the ride, especially for a family car, can feel firm around town.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Country-set image. Diesel versions are best choice if you do the miles. 4WD sought after

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Trying to untangle the huge variety of engines, trims and option packs is trickier than unravelling last year’s Christmas tree lights, so we'll cut to the chase: the 140bhp 2.5 TDI turbodiesel comes top of our wish list. Strong and punchy, it’s perfect if the car is fully laden or towing.

Other engines include two 2.0-litre petrols rated at 126bhp and 143bhp, two 2.4-litre petrols rated at 140bhp and 170bhp, and a 195bhp 2.3-litre turbo with four-wheel drive. There’s also a 2.3-litre, 225bhp T5, while fastest of all is the 250bhp 2.3 T5 R.

Cars with the optional Estate Pack are especially worth hunting down, because they have not only roof rails and a luggage net, but also self-levelling rear suspension. Choose an SE and you’ll get alloy wheels, air-con and a sunroof, while CD specification gives you climate control and leather.

Trade view

John Owen

Build quality not the best - look for later examples

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The high-performance T5 and R are fun and cheap to run if someone else is paying for the fuel and the tyres. Use all that power and you’ll be lucky to get anywhere near 20mpg, while a hard-driven manual version can also kiss goodbye to a set of front tyres within 7000 miles.

Because of their muscular pulling power and the instant nature of its delivery, the 2.5-litre diesel can treat its front tyres just as harshly. At least with the diesel you have the compensation of 40mpg and much lower insurance costs.

Most models require servicing every 10,000 miles and, as this generation V70 is long since out of warranty, there's no point going to a Volvo dealer. Instead, use one of the many Volvo specialists, who are often former Volvo dealers.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Country-set image. Diesel versions are best choice if you do the miles. 4WD sought after

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Worn suspension can be a problem with high-mileage V70s. Unless you know what you are looking for, have someone check the car out for you, especially if you intend carrying a lot of cargo or towing.

The performance versions and the diesel can be very hard on their brake pads, so ask for proof of when they were last changed before handing over any cash. Hard-worked, high-mileage T5s and Rs are best avoided as engine and turbo problems may only be a few miles down the road. The 2.5 turbodiesel can cause expense, too, and new timing belts are needed soon after 55,000 miles.

There have also been reports of faults with air-conditioning units and electrical components. The Vehicle and Operator Safety website – www.vosa.gov.uk - details recalls which were required to deal with possible headlamp failure and the risk of the passenger airbag going off unexpectedly.

Trade view

John Owen

Build quality not the best - look for later examples

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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