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