With the V70 deleted from the Swedish automaker's lineup, the Volvo XC70 crossover wagon is the mid-size standard bearer, slotted between the smaller XC60 and the larger XC90.
Based on the last-generation S60 sedan, the XC70 maintains its pleasant blend of rugged details on a handsome wagon body. It's a bit manlier than the XC60, with its body cladding and skid plates, but it shares of the slim elegance of newer Volvos inside thanks to a "floating" center console that leaves an open bin behind the audio and climate controls.
A pair of in-line six-cylinders offer Volvo buyers a choice of power, but frugality isn't quite as well-defined. The base 3.2-liter six makes 240 horsepower, up marginally this year, while a turbocharged version rounds up its power output to a nice, even 300 hp while it rounds down its displacement to 3.0 liters. With the turbocharged engine, Volvo promises the XC70 can accelerate to 60 in 7.1 seconds. The power bump doesn't cost anything in terms of gas mileage, as both engines are rated at 16/22 mpg. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox on both front-drive and all-wheel-drive XC70 wagons, the latter using a Haldex system to send 95 percent of the power to the front wheels during normal driving and up to 65 percent to the rear wheels when conditions start to get slippery.
Ride quality is especially good if you get the automatic damping control, which firms up the suspension quickly when needed for sharper cornering control, allowing for a soft and absorbent ride under normal driving.
The XC70 has impressive space for passengers and for their belongings. The front seats are typically cozy, in the Volvo idiom. The second row is split into three sections for flexibility; with plenty of passenger room in the seat-up position, the XC70 also has 72 cubic feet of interior room with the rear seats folded down.
2011 Volvo XC70
Volvo's focus on safety means a plethora of standard anti-collision systems, from anti-lock disc brakes, to stability control, to a full array of airbags and active headrests. Integrated booster seats for the rear bench are optional on the XC70, as are a blind-spot monitor and a package that includes adaptive cruise control, a collision warning system, a driver fatigue warning system, and lane-departure warning.Standard goodies on the 2010 V70 include Bluetooth connectivity, fog lamps, heated side mirrors, a power driver's seat, keyless entry, cruise control, and dual-zone climate control. Optional extras include front and rear parking assist, heated front and rear seats, heated wiper nozzles, headlamp cleaners, active bi-xenon headlamps, a dual-screen rear DVD system, adaptive cruise control, and a 650-watt Dynaudio surround-sound system. Last year saw the introduction of a Technology Package (including adaptive cruise control and several accident-avoidance aids) that groups together the bi-xenon headlamps, the premium Dynaudio sound system, and Sirius Satellite Radio.
This year the XC70 adds standard Sirius satellite radio to its features list. A rearview camera is a new option on either version; the XC70 with the turbo engine gets a standard moonroof. The optional navigation system tucks neatly inside the dash when not in use, but its knob-driven functions can be a bit confusing.
For an in-depth look at this crossover-wagon blend, see our most recent review of the Volvo XC70.