After a recent stint in Saab's Turbo X, it's nice to get into a Swedish car that actually feels Swedish. I grew up around old Volvos, and while it's obvious that some cost-cutting and corporate parts-bin rummaging has infected the basic concept, the V70 is still a very nice, very Volvo wagon.
More than a few things remind me of my '85 240 DL: uber-comfy, back-friendly seats; an incredibly quiet interior; and slightly manic road manners at 80 mph. The engine is restrained and willing to rev, the steering is a little numb, and if I close my eyes, I could be in my mom's old 850 sedan, save the reduction in NVH.
That said, two very important things popped into my mind. The first one is this: While the V70 is a good car, it's not necessarily a great car. And I don't see anything else classically great in the Volvo lineup. One or two landmark cars per decade used to be their trademark--a decade and a half in, the Ford ownership may be stamping out too much of Volvo's individuality.
The second point is this: While the V70 may not be spectacular, it at least remains a Volvo. For all Ford's flaws, Volvos still feel like they used to; it's instructive in that it shows just how far GM has strayed from the path with Saab.
Sam Smith, Associate Editor