- Smooth ride
- Excellent seats
- Versatile, abundant cargo space
- Top-notch Dynaudio sound system
- Doesn’t feel at all sporty
- Automatic transmission is hesitant
The 2009 Volvo V70 looks a lot more with the times than the Volvo wagons of the past, but there’s just as much of an emphasis on utility and safety.
The Volvo V70 is the modern interpretation of Volvo’s traditional boxy wagon. Carried over from last year’s redesign are bolder exterior styling, fashionable interior appointments, and safety features such as integrated child booster seats.
The only transmission for the 2009 V70 is a six-speed automatic with a manual-select mode, and the V70 comes only with front-wheel drive. Powering the V70 is a 3.2-liter, 238-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine. The six-cylinder engine gives adequate but not particularly fast acceleration, though the transmission can balk when a downshift is needed for hills. The ride is soft and absorbent, making for good ride comfort even on rough roads, and its interior is hushed. The setup doesn’t feel sporty, however, with steering that’s light and precise but without much feedback.
The interior space of the 2009 Volvo V70 is split into three sections to optimize the mix of cargo and passenger space. For the smallest passengers, the second row can be outfitted with integrated two-position booster seats—a world first, Volvo says—that eliminate the need for aftermarket strap-ins. The versatile arrangement affords seating for three adults in the rear, while also folding forward flat in a single motion.
The V70’s instrument panel is the same fashionable design of the S80 sedan, with its simplified, horizontal layout complemented by a "floating" center stack that borrows its look from flat-screen monitors and high-end audio systems. Instead of using complex screen-driven controls, Volvo lays out the climate controls in particular in a very intuitive way, and the available navigation system’s screen tucks neatly inside the dash when not in use.
Cargo space is impressive, and under the flat cargo floor, there’s another hidden compartment good for smaller items. Up front, the seats in the 2009 Volvo V70 are among the best in any vehicle, for taller occupants especially; the standard units are firm yet comfortable, while the available perforated heated and cooled options are definitely worth the extra money.
The 2009 Volvo V70 has not yet been crash tested in North America, but it’s loaded with other safety features such as front side airbags, side-curtain bags, active front head restraints, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.
The 2009 V70 comes in a single, well-equipped model that includes standard features such as heated mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, dual-zone climate control, and a power driver’s seat with memory settings.
High-tech safety features are, of course, part of the 2009 V70’s repertoire and includes a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which detects when a vehicle is beside and just behind the V70 and warns the driver with a light at the base of the side-view mirror. Also included with adaptive cruise control in the Collision Avoidance Package is a collision warning system that applies the brakes when a crash is anticipated. There’s also a keyless entry and ignition system called the Personal Car Communicator, which will actually detect the heartbeat of an intruder and warn the owner at a distance on the key fob, and Driver Alert Control, a system that follows lane markings and warns the driver if it suspects concentration is waning and it’s time for a coffee break.
For 2009 there have been a few more standard items added, such as Bluetooth hands-free phone interface and fog lights. A new Technology Package is also now available and includes active bi-xenon gas discharge headlamps with washers, Sirius Satellite Radio, a Dynaudio Premium Sound System, and rear seat headphone jacks and audio controls. Most major options are arranged in packages—the aforementioned Technology Package and the Premium, Collision Avoidance, Convenience, and Climate packages—the addition of which can make the V70 an expensive acquisition.