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2016 XC70

The Volvo XC70 provides solid all-weather capabilities in addition to a stylish and roomy interior and the cutting-edge safety technology that one would expect in a Volvo.


The XC70 features a more curvaceous and organic look than the Volvos of yore but it isn't radical enough to scare brand loyalists away. A black plastic lower body wrap adds an air of ruggedness, which is enhanced by the SUV-like 8.3 inches of ground clearance. 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights add a premium touch to the appearance.

Upholding the comfort end of the equation is a coddling cabin complete with some of the most comfortable seats ever fitted to an automobile. Volvo's tastefully minimalistic "floating" center console adds a bit of style, while those looking to haul copious amounts of cargo will appreciate the capacious trunk area: 33.3 cubic feet are available with the rear seats upright, while 72.1 cubic inches are available with them folded down.

The instrument cluster consists of an analog speedometer flanked by four digital gauges. All models come equipped with a thin-film transistor (TFT) screen that can be configured to provide vital information about the car and its surroundings.

All XC70s regardless of trim level come standard with a dash-mounted seven-inch color touch screen that runs Volvo's Sensus infotainment system. Sensus groups the car's connectivity, entertainment and navigation (if equipped) functions into a single easy-to-use unit that can also be controlled with buttons on the center stack and a voice command feature.

Under The Hood

The XC70 is available with two engines.

The standard configuration is a "Drive-E" turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. This engine sends 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, an arrangement that is good for an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The six-cylinder model has been discontinued. Instead, buyers who want all-wheel drive need to order a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft. of torque. It's bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Dynamically, the XC70 is safe and predictable rather than athletic and sporty. Though accurate, the steering is quite light and lacking in feel, while a fair bit of body roll in turns is the price paid for the wagon's SUV-imitating ride height. There is no low-range transfer case on the options list, signaling that this wagon is designed not to traverse muddy trails but rather to comfortably and safely convey its occupants to their destination through any variety of inclement weather - on the pavement.

There is no low-range transfer case on the options list, signaling that this wagon is designed not to traverse muddy trails but rather to comfortably and safely convey its occupants to their destination through any variety of inclement weather - on the pavement.

Standard and Optional Features

The T5 Drive-E model is available in three trim levels called base, Premier, and Platinum, respectively.

Base models come nicely equipped with LED daytime running lights, remote keyless entry, chrome accents around the windows, skid plates on both ends, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a leather-upholstered steering wheel, an eight-speaker sound system, T-Tec upholstery on the seats, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Stepping up to the Premier trim adds tinted rear windows, a power moonroof, a specific instrument cluster, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, walnut trim, navigation, and leather upholstery.

The range-topping Platinum model brings a blind spot information system, a HomeLink transceiver, keyless start, collision warning, adaptive cruise control, active high beams, road sign information, lane departure warning, distance alert, driver alert control, xenon headlights, a power tailgate, accent lighting, a cargo cover, a grocery bag holder, power-folding rear headrests, a rear-view camera, a quick-folding passenger seat, a 12-volt power outlet in the trunk, and a 650-watt sound system.

The T5 AWD model is offered in the same three trim levels with the exact same features.

The list of standalone options includes metallic paint, parking sensors on both ends, a rear-seat entertainment system, and keyless drive.

Buyers can also choose from several option packages. Notably, the Convenience Package includes a quick-fold passenger seat, a HomeLink transceiver, a cargo cover, a grocery bag holder, a 12-volt power outlet in the trunk, and power-folding headrests.

The Climate Package brings heated rear seats, a heated windshield, a heated steering wheel, and heated washer nozzles.

Occupant Safety

Standard on all XC70s is the automaker's City Safety package, which uses a laser sensor to automatically trigger the brakes at low speeds if a pending impact is detected. Other standard safety features include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, a tire pressure monitoring system and emergency brake assist.

Key Competitors

The XC70's most direct rival is the Audi allroad, which also a luxury wagon masquerading as an SUV. Those looking to do large amounts of people or cargo hauling should note that the Audi is a bit smaller than the Volvo. Potential buyers should also cross-shop similarly priced premium crossovers such as the Acura RDX, the BMW X1, and the Lexus NX.