Volvo V70 D2 DRIVe Powershift review

Volvo V70 D2 DRIVe Powershift review

Overall, the V70 is a very easy car to live with, but failed to deliver the fuel economy I hoped for even when driving gently. The other question is when do safety devices irritate and even distract? They can tell you there are vehicles in your 'blind spot', start braking before an obstacle, warn you of a car ahead, tell you when you change lane etc. But they can also distract and tempt you to rely on the systems and I have seen demonstrations where things, shall we say, have not gone according to plan.

I see two XC90 drivers regularly with varying damage so perhaps Volvo drivers need all the help they can get. I switched off as many lights and buzzers as possible but I do concentrate on what I am doing. Volvo says chauffeur company Tristar has reduced the number of 'own fault' drive into the car in front shunts by 28% in six months which is a worrying statistic. No wonder I prefer driving myself!

Review by Russell Bray for


Even with a turbocharger, a 1560cc, eight-valve, four-cylinder diesel developing 115bhp doesn't sound much to power a big Volvo estate car. It's the same engine as in many BMW, Peugeot, Citroen and Mini models though, and with a handy 199 lbs ft of torque from just 1750 rpm, it delivers a pretty good account of itself. However, overtaking needs good planning if you aren't going to run out of impetus when you need it. With a 'Powershift' six-speed automatic transmission, the test car reaches 60 mph from rest in 12.5 seconds (11 seconds for manual) and tops out at 112 mph.


R-design models get what Volvo calls a 'sports chassis' with better damping so thank goodness I didn't get a 'standard' car because for UK roads I think this is what they all should be! It feels pleasingly nimble for a large front-wheel drive car with nicely weighted steering that makes bends enjoyable. Ride is good at most speeds but can be jiggly on broken surfaces around town. Brakes could be a little firmer if hurrying but otherwise a well blended package for most motorists. Auto transmission makes life easy but I would have liked 'paddles' for quick overrides if desired. Dynamic stability and traction control is standard.


Volvo's V70 is a pretty swish looking estate, but as with BMWs it's the sportier models that look best – in this case badged R-Design. For your money you get racier dark alloy wheels, a big rear roof spoiler, 'silk' metal grille and fog lights, fancier exhaust tailpipe, R-design upholstery (not to all tastes) on sports seats etc. New for 2012 are redesigned headlamps and LED indicators integrated into the door mirrors. Electrically operated tailgate includes part of the rear lamps to make the opening bigger and easier to load. It is 4823 mm in length and 1861 mm wide (2106 mm including mirrors)


Volvo V70 DRIVe Scandinavian simplicity dominates the controls and interior which means they are blessedly simple to figure out without leafing through a handbook. The slim centre console holds radio and heating controls with the information screen accessed using a steering column stalk. There's only a small tray behind the console but it's a nice styling touch.

The trim in the test car was mainly black, grey and aluminium, with lighter sections on the seats. Not totally to my taste but it makes a change. The seats drew no complaints even on long treks. I liked the glass sunroof with blind, but it costs £870 extra. Low engine and wind noise adds to comfort.


An official figure of 119 g/km CO2 is good going for a big estate car and results in Band C taxation for the Volvo V70 DRIVe so there is no first year road tax and then £30 annually. Official fuel figures are 55.4 mpg round town and 62.8 mpg on the combined test cycle, but, perhaps as a result of the car's willing nature it only average 42 to 47mpg in my real world. And that was with the car never heavily laden, so fuel consumption on one of my kitted-up trips to a ski resort would be interesting. The V70 comes with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty.


Over the last two years Volvo has brought CO2 emissions from diesel and petrol models down by 13%. The D2 engine linked with the automatic Powershift gearbox delivers the same fuel consumption and CO2 levels as manual versions of the S60, V60, V70 and S80. This has been achieved by reducing friction between gearbox parts, modifying engine and gearbox software and setting the automatic start/stop system, which monitors the climate for greatest efficiency, to cut off the diesel engine below three mph. All electrical systems have been optimised to create lower energy consumption, brake energy is captured and regenerated and the engine turbo charger has variable geometry. The engine is fed via a common rail fuel supply with precise measurement Piezo injectors and has a combined catalytic converter and diesel particulate filter. Low rolling resistance tyres are fitted according to car specification. All in all, the V70 achieves a Next Green Car Rating of 35.


R-Design adds sportier handling and styling to the ES trim which includes electronic climate control, six-speaker sound system with 80W output, five inch colour screen, cruise control, dynamic stability traction control and front fog lights. R-Design models gain bigger 18 inch alloy wheels, a different rear exhaust pipe, dark leather-faced upholstery, front sports seats with side support, an R-Design leather steering wheel and changed aluminium interior trim. Somehow though, the feeling is more Spartan than luxurious. It's an impression enhanced by very simple silver on blue instruments, rather child-like controls perhaps designed so you can operate them in mittens, and lots of smooth, flat surfaces. This is a surprise when the test car boasted nearly £10,000 worth of optional equipment including driver support pack (£1,625), convenience pack (£1,535), winter pack with active bending headlights (£1,025), satellite navigation (£1,025), high performance multimedia pack (£820), power driver's seat (£630), and metallic paint (£640).


Volvo V70 DRIVe

Model tested: Volvo V70 D2 DRIVe Powershift
Body-style: Executive estate car
Engine/CO2: 115bhp 1560ccc four-cylinder turbo diesel / 119 gCO2/km
Trim grades: ES, SE, SE Lux, R-Design

On-road price: Range from £27,920 Test car £37,077
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 3.5 STARS

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Russell Bray

Author:Russell Bray
Date Updated:18th Jun 2012

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