I'm a Volvo devotee, and it pains me to no end that they no longer import a proper wagon. This car is a pretty good substitute, though it really seems a bit long in the tooth compared to the XC60 and the new S60. Volvo has done a nice job tweaking details here and there to keep things from getting too stale, but this car, particularly with it's limited paint options and the heavy presence of gray plastic seems (and looks) like it's been around forever.
Inside, things are typical Volvo: fantastic seats, nicely executed materials and details throughout, but some features are woefully out of date. While I don't mind the up-high position of a retractable screen for the nav function-eyes don't need to wander far off the road for a glance at the map-but coupling the back-up camera to this system is a joke. I had turned around in my driveway before the screen snapped to attention every time. (Though the distance meter was extremely helpful when parking in the garage.) I can't say I was impressed with the not-quite-flush position of the screen when retracted either. It just looked awkward protruding out of the dash.
Those minor complaints aside, the XC70 performs admirably in its intended role. It swallowed a massive cartload of groceries and my family with ease, and got us home safely in the surprise blizzard that ambushed us while we were inside the store.
This car is priced significantly lower than the Audi A6 Avant, and upcoming Saab 9-5 SportCombi will probably land in the $50s as well. The XC70 feels significantly nicer and more substantial than the cheaper Outback, and the similarly priced Saab 9-3X is smaller and significantly older. When you consider the prices of the most direct competitors, the Volvo looks pretty good.
I dream of the new V60 (available in Europe), but it sounds like it will never come here.
- Matt Tierney, Art Director