Volvo XC70 (2007): first official pictures

Published: 06 March 2007

I see Volvo hasn’t given up on the halfway SUV idea

Far from it. In fact Volvo UK watched sales of the old V70-based XC70 rise after the introduction of the full-blown XC90 off-roader. Apparently many buyers were lured into showrooms by the XC90 but found themselves signing on the dotted line for its smaller brother. This new XC was unveiled at the Geneva show this week but won’t reach UK showrooms until September.

Which Volvo is hiding behind all that black plastic?

The new V70 also unveiled this week at Geneva and previewed in February here at CAR Online. Both are based on the platform of the luxo-cruiser S80 but there’s no mistaking the XC70. As well as that chunky black cladding the XC gets standard roof rails, blacked-out side pillars and C-30-style tail lights.

What’s it got to offer the driver?

There are two engines, both visible elsewhere in the Volvo range. Most popular is likely to be the 2.4-litre D5 diesel. Available with six-speed automatic or manual transmissions, the straight five pumps out 183bhp and 295lb ft, enough to hit 60mph in 8.8sec and 130mph all out. Sadly Volvo deemed the S80’s V8 not worth the effort for the likely small sales volume so families in a hurry will have to settle for the 235bhp straight six petrol engine. Available only with an auto ‘box it chops 0.7sec from the diesel’s 0-60mph time but only manages an extra 4mph at the top end. All XC70s are four-wheel drive and employ an electronically controlled hydraulic clutch to send torque to the wheels that need it most. And though it’s no match for a Land Rover Defender when it comes to mud-plugging, the XC70 does now come with a hill descent function and a ride height 74mm taller than the V70’s. The approach and departure angles are improved too.

So it’ll cope off road, but can I still fit a Grandfather clock in the back?

There’s really no need – the digital clock in the dash is perfectly accurate. But if you must, you probably can. It’s certainly big back there. The tailgate design makes for an even larger loading aperture than before and luggage capacity has grown 55 litres to 575 litres. Passengers don’t fare too badly either as rear legroom is improved by 48mm. And being a Volvo, safety is a priority. New dual-compartment side air bags feature two separate chambers for the hips and chest, the curtain airbag is longer to give further protection to children, a cross member ensures that lower vehicles don’t slip underneath in a front smash and there’s the option of Volvo’s blind-spot information system.

Verdict

Like Audi’s similar Allroad and the cheaper Subaru Forester, the XC70 has always been something of an acquired taste. Neither as good on road as a conventional wagon or as good off it as a full-on SUV it’s easy to see why they confuse people. But those that loved the old will find plenty to like about this new version which also looks much more likely to steal sales from its rival at Audi.

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

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