There are three petrol engines to choose from – the 1.6-litre T4, turbocharged 2.0 T5 and the 3.0 T6 that comes with all-wheel drive – but the diesel-engined models make the most sense. There’s the 2.0 D3 – which offers the best compromise between performance and economy – and the 2.4-litre D5. All accelerate smoothly and are relaxed when cruising, but the auto gearbox can be over-eager to kick down.
Even with the dubious benefit of Volvo's Four-C active chassis system (which allows you to manually select three suspension settings), minor road imperfections create a good deal of shudder through the cabin when driving around town. Thankfully, things get better at higher speeds, where body sway is reasonably well contained. Unfortunately, the steering is vague, and a relatively wide turning circle means four-, rather than three-point turns are often necessary.
There's some suspension noise around town and mechanical racket is noticeable when accelerating away from a standstill. Fortunately, things are far more relaxed at motorway speeds; road- and wind noise are well suppressed, making the V70 a fine touring car.
We'd avoid the biggest petrol engine, as it attracts the highest company car taxation. However, the diesel engines are more competitive and they are all still good for more than 50mpg.
The cabin and loadbay are built to last a lifetime of hard use, and the materials used inside are also classy and durable. Granted, the V70 finished bottom of its class in the 2012 JD Power survey, but encouragingly, it scored very highly for mechanical reliability.
Volvo continues to live up to its well-deserved reputation for safety. The company's anti-whiplash and side-impact protection systems are standard across the range, and traction control is fitted on most models. An optional Blind Spot Information System is available to alert you to cars nearby.
The V70 has some of the best, most comfortable seats we've used, and both the driver's seat and the steering wheel have plenty of adjustment. The cabin is solidly built, but some parts of the fascia are fussy.
The XC70's boot is well-shaped, but it's on the shallow side meaning some rivals have a bigger overall capacity. The rear seat is split 40/20/40 and can folded flat. It can also be specified with built-in child booster seats. The cheaper V70 is just as practical, though.
The entry-level ES models come with alloy wheels, four electric windows, an MP3-compatible CD player, dual-zone climate control and roof rails. SE spec adds leather-faced upholstery and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, while SE Lux brings satellite-navigation. R-Design models swap these luxuries for sporty interior and exterior trim.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive