Full 2010 Volvo V70 Review
What's New for 2010
The Volvo V70 wagon gets a slight fuel economy improvement for 2010, while models sold in states with California emissions standards receive a cleaner partial-zero-emissions (PZEV) tailpipe rating. There's also a new trim level; called 3.2 R-Design, it features bigger wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and unique styling elements inside and out. All V70s get some different interior trim and a new grille with a larger logo. The optional packages have also been reorganized and renamed.
The Volvo wagon is an automotive icon. It's not a flashy one, to be sure -- it's unlikely old 240s and 850s will be showing up at an antique car show near you anytime soon. But for decades, the Volvo wagon has served families everywhere with sensible, safe transportation. Today, wagons are no longer family transport du jour, but the 2010 Volvo V70 carries on as a choice for those who shun crossovers and minivans. Unfortunately, this modern Volvo wagon isn't quite as sensible as those that came before.
Based on Volvo's flagship S80 sedan, the V70 has a whole lot more style than those boxy wagons of old. And with 71 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, there's still plenty of space to transport things. Safety also remains a high priority. Though no government or independent crash tests have been conducted as of this writing, the V70 offers a wide variety of safety features, ranging from the practical (integrated rear booster seats) to the paranoid (a keyless entry system that alerts you to the heartbeats of potential attackers lurking in your backseat) to the preoccupied (driver inattention alert system).
That's the good news. The bad news is that the V70 fails to distinguish itself from any number of top crossover SUVs, including Volvo's own new XC60. Unlike the XC60 and the many Volvo wagons that came before, the V70 comes only with a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter 235-horsepower inline-6. This engine isn't particularly pleasant to the ear, nor does it deliver any significant advantages in terms of acceleration or fuel economy. And though it's a bit more maneuverable, the V70 is not notably fun to drive.
Certainly, the 2010 Volvo V70 delivers the expected amounts of space and safety while adding some style and innovative features to the mix. But overall it does not make for a particularly enticing choice. Crossovers like the Audi Q5, Lexus RX 350 and Volvo's XC60 do most things better than the V70 and have all-wheel drive to boot. And if a wagon is still your thing, we highly recommend looking at the equally roomy Volkswagen Passat or sportier models like the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 328i xDrive or Saab 9-3 SportCombi. This Volvo wagon simply isn't the icon its forebears were.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Volvo V70 is a five-passenger wagon available in base 3.2 and R-Design trim levels. Standard equipment includes 16-inch wheels, roof rails, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 40/20/40-split-folding rear seat, an eight-way power driver seat with memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, integrated rear booster seats, tech-fabric upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod audio interface. The Premium package adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat and real wood interior trim.
Going with the new 3.2 R-Design trim level gets you 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and the content of the Premium package as well as special R-Design pedals, trim, floor mats, gearshift knob, steering wheel and gauges.
There are several option packages available on both trims. The Climate package includes heated front seats, heated windshield-washer nozzles, automatic wipers and a high-pressure headlight cleaning system. The Convenience package includes a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, and a grocery bag holder. The Multimedia package adds a navigation system and a 12-speaker Dynaudio surround-sound system with satellite radio and rear-seat headphone jacks and controls.
Spring for the Technology package and the V70 comes with adaptive cruise control and a variety of warning systems (collision warning, vehicle distance alert, driver attention alert and lane-departure). Stand-alone options include bi-xenon headlights, 17-inch wheels, a blind-spot warning system, keyless ignition/entry and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Volvo V70 comes with 3.2-liter inline-6 that generates 235 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. V70s sold in California-emissions states are PZEV rated and have a slightly lower 225-hp rating. All V70s are front-wheel drive and come with a standard six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on the related Volvo XC70 crossover wagon.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. In performance testing, a V70 with the non-PZEV engine went from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, a bit slower than most compact luxury crossovers but still more than quick enough for most folks.
Stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and two integrated two-stage child booster seats are all standard on the 2010 Volvo V70. Additional safety features are available such as a blind-spot monitor as well as the Technology package that adds adaptive cruise control, collision warning with "Auto Brake" (which reduces brake reaction time by snugging the brake pads up against the brake discs), a driver fatigue warning (monitors a variety of factors including the driver's face to determine whether he or she is dozing off) and a lane-departure warning.
Interior Design and Special Features
The wood and leather trim in the optional Premium package really dresses up the V70's otherwise austere cabin. In any form, though, the V70 is a showcase of modern Swedish style, with Volvo's trademark "floating" center stack panel and artfully designed controls. The optional navigation system is cumbersome to use, however, because of a hard-to-use interface that utilizes steering-wheel-mounted buttons and a handheld remote that duplicates those controls for the passenger.
The V70's front seats are among the best in the business, achieving a rare combination of proper, chiropractor-approved support and plush, body-hugging comfort. The backseat is also comfortable, though perhaps a bit short on legroom. A 40/20/40-split-folding seatback and a pair of height-adjustable integrated child booster seats bump up the V70's versatility index. With the rear seats folded flat, the V70 can hold 71 cubic feet of cargo, which is big for a modern wagon.
The 2010 Volvo V70 has a smooth and refined ride befitting its premium status. The V70's light steering and ample body roll put the kibosh on driving enjoyment, however. This year's new R-Design should be a bit sportier to drive. Acceleration from the six-cylinder is adequate, but the engine is coarse-sounding and just generally off the pace of other luxury wagons and even some crossovers.