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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Experience with Volvo XC70 D5 AWD

Yes, this is a Saab related blog, but I like cars in general, so to get a chance to drive a Volvo XC70 and not to write a review with it would be, at least in my eyes, a pity. So the next lines are about how a Saab driver feels in a Volvo crossover. No comparison, well, maybe a little bit.

First some data. It's a XC70 D5 AWD built in 2008. Engine : 2.4 turbodiesel with 185 HP / 400 Nm. Acceleration 0-100 : 9.9s, average fuel consumption 8.3 l/100km (on paper), 8.5 with me in the reality. It has 125.000km. Manual transmission.

I've got it for a while as a company car after someone and have it for nearly a month now. After 3.000 km driven the car started to show it's character. There are upsides as well as downsides. 

Volvo XC70

Volvo XC70

Nice colour isn't it ? Of course it is a question of personal taste. According to DuPonts car color popularity index, the red color was last year on the 6th place in Europe and 5th place worldwide. However exatly this facelift looks too plastic for me. As if Volvo would recognise that, the later facelifts are a bit more smoother designed.

As always with company cars, there is a limited budget and several conditions. I don't how it was 3 years ago, but this car was configured with the philosophy : the strongest diesel available plus four-wheel-drive and a very few extras. Besides the standard there is a tempomat (or was it standard ?), bluetooth system and that's it. It's a good approach, but for someone used on whatever Saab Aero and things like dimming mirror or automatic wipers, some things must be done manually. Well, no problem with that.

Roof detail

It is a mix between a ship and a tractor. It flows on the road in the good meaning. The a bit higher sitting in the crossover gives to it not much more overview on the road, it's just the feeling. The car is loud. Much louder than petrol engines. Therefore the tractor feeling. The 125.000 km are playing definitely a role here.

 In the city traffic it is by far not a sprinter, but also not lazy, somewhere in between. However it drinks 10.5 litres in the city. That is for a diesel too much, even with the 1721 kg empty weight. The problem comes with parking, it costs time to get used to park a tractor and get the edges of the car into the eyes. Therefore for people considering this car, parking assistant is very recommended.

On the highway it is again a ship. It easily comes to the 130-140 kmh local allowed speeds. The 400 Nm is enough for accelerating to 160 - 170 without any problems. The aerodynamic noises are not unusual loud, just the engine.

In the curves it behaves as one would expect from this kind of car. Only one thing, on the snow when it switched the rear wheels and became AWD (Haldex), my head started to twirl. Strange feeling. Other people in the car had the same feeling. But after I've got used to it, it dissapeared.


Plenty of space inside and very large trunk. For me, these new generations of Volvo (incl. the current one) started to be somehow "cold". This is a standard interior, the more aluminium stuff, the colder. Something is strange here. When you look at the upper part of the dashboard, there is a try for minimalism. Fine. But than the part with radio and buttons comes and kills the nice minimalistic try immediately. As if two people would design it. I had a previous generation of S60, it had much more homogeneous interior.


This is a car for people which understand the car as a tool bringing them from point A to point B, while the point B can be somewhere in a light terrain. Very very good snow performance. The holes in the streets are not to feel. Driving this XC70 requires also a bit more physical power than the Saab. It has a bit harder characteristic, the steering wheel goes harder, the pedals as well as the transmission. It doesn't go softer in higher speeds. My former Volvos were the same, so no surprises here.


I would expect a bit more for the 40-45.000 € price of a new one in this configuration but it is still a very fine car. It's safe, it flows nicely, it's a good choice for the family, it brings you also to places with only bad roads, where I never would go with my Saab. However it is not a car to which I could develop a "relationsship" as I had to my V40, S60 and later the Saab 9-3 Aero.

Click for car specs.


  1. Well written. Did you try the Mercedes C too?

    1. only as a passenger (in the front) for an hour or so. to be honest, i've expected a bit more from the interior. i've never driven it, so no opinion here.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Replies
    1. Automatic? Having now an XC90 AT6 besides the Saab and sooner or later I will switch to MT again. The Aisins are slow and kind of stupid. Also Volvo recommends, that you shouldnt change the transmission oil at all, the consequences are expecting you in the service garage on the bill. Good luck man.