REVIEWS: 2009 Volvo XC70

February 26, 2009
0902 04 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+front Three Quarter View
Likes:
The sleek Scandinavian interior with brushed aluminum.
The gorgeous matte-wood accents (part of the $2995 Premium Package).
The funky and distinct exterior styling.
Dislikes:
The excessive side-to-side body shake going down the highway.
The extra-wide and nonsupportive seats.
The occasional tinny metal grinding noise coming from the left front undercarriage.
The price.
The fuel economy.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
0902 08 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+center Stack
The XC70 is a great vehicle. It does everything it's designed to do and looks and feels damn good doing it; a legitimate SUV alternative.
Unlike Jean, I found the seats to be supportive and comfortable. Yes, they are wide but I found them to be firm with just the right amount of give to cosset my tush.
The controls are intuitive and easy to use, and I found it so refreshing to be in a beautifully designed and lavishly furnished car and not have a multi-media interface to contend with. Proof that it is possible to build a luxury car with all the bells and whistles without needing a one-button system to control it all, and doing it in a tidy, logical way that doesn't overwhelm the driver with a sea of dash buttons. I love the matte wood and only Volvo can cover an interior from floor to ceiling with light colored materials and make it work. It's simple, refined, and oozes modernity.
0902 06 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+dashboard
Entering and exiting are a breeze because the XC70 is taller than a sedan but shorter than an SUV. The hatch swallows a ton of stuff, and the well-placed handle on the inside of the hatch door makes it easy to close without touching the outside of the car, which is a bonus when the vehicle is coated in road salt.
The mileage is a bit disappointing. But if you compare the XC70's numbers with those of mid-size crossovers like the Mazda CX-7 or the Lexus RX, they aren't that far off.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
0902 01 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+rear Three Quarter View
I like to think of myself as a loyal American. I've never visited Canada. I eat red meat several times a week and make sure to throw out any leftovers. I've been known to disparage the Useless, er, United Nations. But as I piloted the XC70 around a supermarket parking lot filled with SUVs and crossovers, I could not help but wonder: What is wrong with this country?
Seriously, spending time in the XC70 makes it very difficult to understand why people have such an aversion to station wagons. The Volvo has plenty of room for five people and their things, features all-wheel-drive versatility, and handles and rides like a car - because it is a car. A really good one at that.
I loved looking at all the offbeat shapes and grains on the dash, even if they all felt a little harder than what one expects in a near $50,000 vehicle. Like Jean, I thought the seats could use a bit more bolstering, but that probably had a lot to do with the way I was driving. After all, I had to show those high-sitting buffoons what they were missing.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
0902 02 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+cargo Area
The Volvo XC70 has so many things going for it, it's too bad it doesn't drive better. This Volvo strikes me as a European Buick. It's very relaxing to drive and a nice car overall, but the lack of body control and far too soft suspension get old quickly. As Jean pointed out, there is far too much side-to-side motion and head toss in the Volvo. Plus, large undulations in the road overwhelm the suspension. I'm sure this isn't helped by the greater ride height in this XC model. My only other complaint about this wagon is from a styling standpoint. I don't like the exterior plastic cladding or the proportions of this newest version of Volvo's iconic wagon.
But then there's the good stuff. The interior is gorgeous, and the seats are typical Volvo perfect. The heated seats and the climate control go to work quickly, and the outward visibility is exceptional. I also like the size of this wagon. It is a nice step up from my wife's Subaru Legacy, offering more rear seat room and a nice bump in cargo space.
Finally, I recommend anyone who wants an XC70 to opt up for this turbocharged engine. Both models of the XC70 get pretty horrible fuel mileage (15 in the city, and low 20s on the highway), but the smoother, more powerful turbocharged model gets the same 18-mpg combined rating and loses out on only 1 mpg on the highway (22 mpg on the highway). Still, I expected better mileage out of this car. An AWD Ford Flex gets slightly better EPA ratings than this XC70. More to the point, the 2009 Audi A6 Avant also has all-wheel-drive plus a more powerful, supercharged V-6, and it is rated at 18 mpg city, 21 mpg combined, and 26 mpg highway. That's a substantial improvement compared with the Volvo.
Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor
0902 05 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+front Passenger Interior
I prefer the looks and the price (about $4000 less) of the less butch V70, but the XC70 certainly has a lot to offer (all-wheel drive, aggressive tires, increased ground clearance) for certain customers, particularly Snow Belters who live on gravel roads. The turbocharged engine also is not available on the V70, although I could barely tell that this car had the turbo, since it's a very low-pressure unit, and this is a lot of car to move around. The XC70 has adequate power, don't get me wrong; it's just not fast.
As Jen noted, the interior is beautiful and very stylish, typical of Volvo's recent efforts. (The hot, hot heated seats are great for both Sweden and Michigan winters, too!) I also like the exterior styling, although I'm not wild about the dark lower cladding. Still, the XC70 doesn't go overboard on the SUV features/looks, and it's extremely functional. Sure the fuel mileage could be better, but at least this pseudo-SUV isn't as wasteful as real ones.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
0902 07 Z+2009 Volvo XC70+gauges
2009 Volvo XC70
Base Price (with destination): $40,295
Price as tested: $46,935
Options:
Metallic Paint - $475
Premium Package - $2995
-Power Glass Moonroof
-Power Passenger's Seat
-Modern Wood Interior Décor Inlays
Child Boost Seats/Climate and Tech Package - $3170
-Heated Front Seats
-Heated Windshield Washer Nozzles
-Integrated Child Booster Seats
-Active Bending Headlights
-Premium Surround System
-SIRIUS Satellite Radio
Fuel Economy: 15 / 22 / 18 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Engine:
Size: Turbo 3.0L in-line 6
Horsepower: 281 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Safety Ratings (in stars, 1-5):
Frontal Crash Driver: To Be Determined
Frontal Crash Passenger: TBD
Side Crash Front Seat: TBD
Side Crash Rear Seat: TBD
Rollover: TBD
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Weight: 3970 lb
Wheel/Tire Info:
- 17" Aluminum Wheels (size)
- All-Season Tires

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