Used Volvo V70 Estate 1996 - 2000 review

Category: Estate car

The original Volvo V70 is a decent-driving, but firm-riding estate.

Volvo V70 Estate (96 - 00)
  • Volvo V70 Estate (96 - 00)
  • Volvo V70 Estate (96 - 00)
Used Volvo V70 Estate 1996 - 2000 review
Star rating

What's the used Volvo V70 estate like?

When the Volvo 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 E-Class Estate for outright load space.

The hard-wearing interior, 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 airbag and side airbags were standard on launch models, but the passenger airbag was an option.


The original Volvo V70 is a decent-driving, but firm-riding estate.

  • Solid, comfortable interior
  • Good choice of engines
  • Rivals provide more seats-down cargo space

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.

Ownership cost

What used Volvo V70 estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Volvo V70 estate?

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.

The 2.5-litre diesel can treat its front tyres just as harshly, because of its muscular pulling power and the instant nature of its delivery. 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.

Our recommendations

Which used Volvo V70 estate should I buy?

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.

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