Most people looking for a luxury vehicle that focuses on safety and can handle inclement weather immediately think crossover. The Volvo XC70 presents an interesting alternative by checking those boxes while also offering the feel and comfort of a sedan.

Pricing and Equipment

The base price for a Volvo XC70 is $37,100 (plus a destination fee of $940), but many will jump straight to the more adventure-capable all-wheel drive powertrain, which adds an additional $1,500.

We received a front-wheel drive model in Premier trim that came with standard equipment including:

  • Eighteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Power glass moonroof
  • Sensus Navigation w/Mapcare
  • Heated and power-adjustable front seats
  • Low-speed automatic braking
  • Hill Descent Control

It was also equipped with the optional Proximity ($1,500) and Technology ($1,500) packages, which added features like keyless drive, park assist camera, adaptive cruise control with queue assist and distance alert, and pedestrian & cyclist detection.

Performance Pros

Volvo XC70

Step on the gas of the XC70 and you’ll be met by an exciting amount of acceleration. It was a very welcome surprise for us that a vehicle that’s so clearly a station wagon could offer such invigorating straight-off-the-line power. Combine that with a ride that was both quiet and smooth and it’s easy to see yourself doing some long-distance touring in it.

  • The T5 Drive-E engine in the FWD XC70 offers great fuel efficiency for a luxury wagon or crossover. One of the ways it does this is through an automatic engine stop-start system, which shuts the engine off once the XC70 is stopped. While this isn’t typically one of our favorite features, we found the system in the XC70 to be surprisingly responsive, starting the engine nearly as soon as our foot left the brake.
  • If there is one thing that the XC70 is focused on above everything else, it’s safety. The automatic brake is featured in several of the safety systems including the collision warning and pedestrian & cyclist detection. So, should your attention waiver in situations up to 30 mph, the XC70 vigilant safety systems have you covered.
  • With the raised suspension for extra ground clearance, front and rear underbody skid plates and lower body panels, it really feels like unexpected storms or general inclement weather won’t be a problem.

Performance Cons

  • Unfortunately, the XC70’s exhilarating acceleration is paired with less-than-excellent handling. Overall the steering seemed a bit light and we found ourselves needing to take it easy approaching curves. It’s while taking these turns that we become aware of just how soft the suspension really was.
  • If towing ability is an important feature to you, it should be noted that the XC70 can't tow more than 3,300 pounds.

Interior Pros

Volvo XC70 Interior

The interior of the XC70 lives up to its luxury car credentials with premium materials including dark walnut inlays and plush leather throughout. Features that deserve some attention include:

  • Upon settling into the XC70, we found the front seats to be some of the most comfortable we’ve sat in. Combine that with the gentle ride, the standard in-seat heat and power adjustment, and it’s easy to imagine long road trips in this wagon.
  • When it comes to cargo space, the XC70 isn’t messing around. The already large cargo hold opens up to a positively massive 72.1 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded down. As if that weren’t enough, the front passenger seat folds flat, giving it one of the largest cargo capacities of any wagon.

Interior Cons

Despite all the cargo space and the generally roomy interior, the XC70 doesn’t seat more than five people. Those who are seated in the back may also feel a little cramped when it comes to legroom, especially if they are on the taller side.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The amount of cargo space Volvo has managed to make available without losing the overall luxury feel in the XC70 really impressed us.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

After discovering the XC70’s impressive acceleration ability, we were disappointed by its dull steering and clumsy handling. This is definitely one of the areas where we felt like the XC70 fell short of several of its rivals.

The Bottom Line

Volvo XC70

For families focused on safety and reliability with luxury car credentials, the XC70 offers a step up from most wagons, and a real alternative to the crossover. For anyone who is dealing with snow on a regular basis, or considering leaving the confines of the highway for paths less traveled, limiting yourself to the all-wheel models is essential. What you lose in acceleration will be more than made up for in capability.