The Volvo V70 is gone and the Subaru Outback has morphed into a conventional crossover, but rest easy, New England college professors, Trader Joes shoppers, and liberal bumper sticker printers; the XC70 remains with us. It also remains worthy of consideration over "real" crossovers, even for those don't fall into one of the above demographic segments.
Volvo styling hasn't changed much since Peter Horbury re-imagined the brand's look in the 1990s, but it has aged incredibly well. I still find the cat-like headlamps and broad shoulders attractive. Grey body panels have never suited my taste, but clearly the American motoring public has outvoted me. The interior likewise is extremely familiar to anyone who's spent time in a newer Volvo, with amply proportioned, cozy seats and a thoughtfully arranged, floating center stack. Unfortunately the XC70 also employs an old-school navigation/back-up camera screen that takes a long time to rise from the dash. I do like the fact that it displays your distance from obstacles when you're backing up. The rear cargo hold easily swallowed my groceries and has a clever pop-up separation panel that keeps small items from bouncing around.
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.
- David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
The higher-riding XC70, formerly known as the Cross Country, is a pretty nice consolation prize for Volvo devotees who are disappointed that the automaker no longer sells the V70 wagon (sadly, the smaller V50 wagon is not long for this world, either). This is it, folks, the last Volvo wagon standing. Our fully loaded test car had the optional turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic, a very sweet powertrain that's available in various other Volvos, including the XC60 small crossover and the new S60 sedan. Hit the accelerator pedal and you're rewarded with a rush of linear power and torque, instant acceleration, and plenty of passing power even if you've loaded the XC70 for bear.
The XC70's interior is quite nice, with splendid seats, in the traditional Volvo idiom, but there are some dated components, such as the slow-acting navigation screen that must rise from the dash. That's also where the rearview camera images are projected, but by the time that screen wakes up and comes up out of the dash, you've already backed out of the driveway.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor