3/4 Front Glamour 2014 Volvo XC70

Expert's Rating

4.3Excellent

MPG 18 City / 25 Highway
The XC70 adds brawny looks and capability to the traditional virtues of a Volvo wagon.

Introduction

The Volvo station wagon is not just an automobile. For decades, it has been the manifested dream of sensible, responsible parents who prize reliability, practicality and -- above all -- safety. Volvo spent its marketing dollars making "Volvo" and "safe" interchangeable terms.

Over the years, Volvo slowly added performance and luxury to the mix. The result is the XC70, a powerful super-wagon. Blending the practical shape of a wagon with the brawny characteristics of an SUV, the XC70 falls into the crossover segment.

What's New

The Volvo XC70, Volvo V70's adventurous off-road cousin, has had its current body style since 2008. For 2014, the XC70's options are largely unchanged, although the T6 turbocharged version gets even more exciting with an optional sport mode.

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Interior/Exterior

The XC70's aggressive 8.5-inch ground clearance, unpainted wheel arches and aluminum underbody panels hint at the Volvo's off-road prowess. This crossover looks ready to tackle the Paris-Dakar rally right after dropping off the kids at soccer practice. The car looks tough, but aesthetically pleasing, a big improvement over past Volvos. Inside, the XC70 is stylish and refined. Rather than overwhelming the driver with blaring technology, the elegant center console and dashboard present techno-gadgets in an organized way.

Under the Hood

Power comes from a choice of inline-sixes: a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter engine that makes 240 horsepower or a turbocharged 3-liter producing 300 horsepower in the T6 model. Both are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Although offering a reasonable 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, the 3.2-liter is a bit underpowered for the Volvo's 4,152-pound heft. Acceleration is much better with the turbo engine, which manages to provide similar fuel efficiency. The standard XC70 is front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is available.

Performance

The Volvo sacrifices some handling prowess for a comfortable ride. Spirited driving accentuates the top-heavy Volvo's body roll, although a long list of road safety controls prevent the driver from getting into any serious trouble. The Volvo XC70 is a wonderful long-distance cruiser -- particularly the T6, which flies down the highway.

Which Style To Buy?

2014 Volvo XC70
Starting price
$34,675
Shopper Popularity
27%

2014 Volvo XC70 3.2

Most Popular
Recommended for: Drivers who are considering the V70 but like an extra 8.5 inches of ground clearance.

The basic, entry level Volvo XC70 is far from "bare bones." Unlike its German competitors, the standard XC70 comes well-equipped, with features such as Bluetooth, HD and Satellite Radio, USB connectivity, a power driver's seat and much more. Volvo's advanced safety features are also on full display. All 3.2-liter XC70s come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive; all-wheel-drive is optional. The 3.2-liter engine is a bit underpowered for the car, but offers fair gas mileage for this type of vehicle.

2014 Volvo XC70
Starting price
$41,678
Shopper Popularity
5%

2014 Volvo XC70 3.2 Platinum

Recommended for: Drivers who want the most from their naturally-aspirated Volvo.

For a hefty $7,800 up-charge over the standard XC70, the Platinum package carries all the options from lower trim levels, while adding navigation and an upgraded 12-speaker premium sound and infotainment system that can play concert-quality music from a variety of inputs; it will even play DVDs when the car is at a standstill. At this price point, the 3.2-liter engine will seem anemic to many buyers; performance-oriented drivers should test the more powerful T6 before making a final decision.

2014 Volvo XC70
Starting price
$35,991
Shopper Popularity
10%

2014 Volvo XC70 3.2 Premier

Recommended for: Drivers who enjoy Volvo's safety and the latest in automotive technology.

The Premier package offers several upgrades such as keyless ignition. The car also features a slot for charging the fob's battery. The interior gets a very attractive series of wood inlays, while the front passenger gets power seat controls. The rear cargo area receives a touch of privacy with tinted rear and side windows.

2014 Volvo XC70
Starting price
$39,328
Shopper Popularity
12%

2014 Volvo XC70 3.2 Premier Plus

Recommended for: Premium Volvo fans without the need for a concert-like sound system or navigation.

The Premier Plus package is a slight upgrade from the Premier, with an addition of front and rear Park Assist and Active Dual Xenon headlights that follow curves in the road. Some consider the blue-tinted Xenons to be nothing more than a passing auto gimmick, but they really do improve visibility and tend to last for the life of the car. The package also offers a power tailgate.

2014 Volvo XC70
Starting price
$38,858
Shopper Popularity
10%

2014 Volvo XC70 T6

Recommended for: For those who love the right pedal as much as the safety and practicality of Volvo.

The T6's turbocharged 300-horsepower inline-six is a substantial upgrade over the sluggish 3.2-liter engine. The same six-speed automatic transmission transfers all that power to a standard all-wheel drive system. The Premier Plus package for the T6 offers several upgrades over the basic version, such as Adaptive Dual Xenon headlights, a digital compass and a power tailgate. The Platinum package adds the same 12-speaker premium sound and infotainment system offered on the 3.2-liter's Platinum package. Additional features like blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and collision detection can push the final price uncomfortably north of $50,000.

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