New for 2015
The Volvo XC70 receives a new Drive-E engine, the 240-hp turbocharged I-4, and a new eight-speed automatic for front-wheel-drive models. A number of other trim and package changes are made, and the XC70 3.2 now comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment.
The Volvo XC70 is a crossover wagon that offers a more car-like handling dynamic without sacrificing utility, like a luxurious version of the Subaru Outback. In price, the XC70 starts in the same range as the more traditional V60 wagon and more conventional XC60 crossover, but below the three-row XC90.
The 2015 Volvo XC70 is a crossover wagon that is available in front- or all-wheel drive and this year introduces a more efficient base engine using the automaker’s Drive-E technology. The base engine in the T5 Drive-E model is a direct-injection turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 that produces 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which drives the front wheels only. Volvo is working on getting the Drive-E and eight-speed to work with AWD, but currently the carryover I-6 engines are the only options for AWD on the XC70. EPA estimates for the 2.0-liter I-4 are 24/31 mpg (city/highway).
Carrying over from the previous year are two six-cylinder engines that are both paired with AWD and six-speed automatic transmissions. The first available engine is a 3.2-liter I-6 that produces 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, is rated by the EPA for 18/25 mpg, and serves as a compelling argument for the other two available engines. Topping out the range in the T6 AWD is a turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 that produces 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, which results in a rating of 17/24 mpg by the EPA. The Drive-E overlaps the non-turbo I-6 to such an extent that buyers ought to only consider the Drive-E or the T6 AWD, as the fuel economy is much better and power is the same on the Drive-E, and the fuel economy isn’t much worse on the T6 turbocharged I-6.
Notable features on the 2015 XC70 include a Harman Kardon premium audio system, a climate package (heated front seats, rear seats, windshield, steering wheel, windshield washer nozzles, and an interior air quality system), adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full auto brake capability, pedestrian and cyclist detection, driver alert control, lane-departure warning, active high beams, HID headlights, and the Sensus infotainment system.
The 2015 Volvo XC70 has not been rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS.
What We Think
As with much of the Volvo lineup, the 2015 Volvo XC70 is transformed by the much-improved Drive-E engine and new eight-speed transmission. We’ve sampled this lower-output T5 Drive-E engine in the S60 and XC60 and can attest to its smooth power delivery and excellent efficiency. Although if our other experiences are any indication, fuel economy varies greatly depending on how aggressively the car is driven.
If you really need AWD, then the T6 is the better buy over the 3.2 AWD model. Fuel economy isn’t much worse, and opting for the 3.2 AWD on the grounds of price falls apart, as the Drive-E with a set of winter tires would likely accomplish a similar result. In an Editor’s Notebook review of a 2011 Volvo XC70 T6 AWD, we said: “The XC70 is by no means a sport wagon, but it nevertheless corners well, has nicely weighted steering, and hustles away from stoplights with the effortless authority one expects given its 300-hp inline six. Of course, its big advantage compared to more popular crossovers is its carlike ride height, because not even the modern wonders of stability control and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive can completely mask a high center of gravity.” Although the navigation has been updated from the old system that rose from the dash in lethargy, the new system is unfortunately not without its own quirks. Control is either via steering wheel, center console buttons, remote control, or voice control. We recommend using voice control, as the other options are a little cumbersome. If you need a wagon with some light off-road capability, the XC70 is the way to go, but if you merely need the extra utility of a wagon, then the reintroduced V60 or new V60 Cross Country might be a better option. Look for the Drive-E engines to be available with AWD in the coming years and for the spectacular 302-hp, 295 lb-ft of torque twin-charged unit to find its way to the XC70, as well.
- T5 Drive-E engine’s efficiency
- Utility of a crossover with car-like driving
- Capable in light-duty off-roading
You Won’t Like
- Getting the less efficient 3.2-liter I-6 instead of the T5 Drive-E engine
- No AWD with the T5 Drive-E engine
- In typical urban use the V60 is a better vehicle
- Audi Allroad
- Subaru Outback
- Toyota Venza
- Volvo V60