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We generally prefer wagons to SUVs on account of their superior fuel economy and handling, but the 2010 Volvo XC70's SUV-like gas consumption and middling performance leaves us scratching our heads.
Wonderfully supportive seats, ample cargo capacity, all-weather traction, plentiful safety features, available integrated rear booster seats.
Poor fuel economy, lackluster base engine, dull handling, unintuitive navigation system.
Available XC70 Models
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The Volvo XC70 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 emissions rating. All XC70s get some different interior trim and a new grille with a larger logo. The optional packages have also been reorganized and renamed, while the navigation system gets revised graphics and menus.
The XC in the 2010 Volvo XC70 stands for "Cross Country," the name originally given to this wagon with boosted ground clearance, beefcake body cladding and standard all-wheel drive. It was meant to be an alternative for folks who wanted the interior volume and all-terrain ability of an SUV without the huge footprint, sloppy handling and fuel swilling that went along with it. Today's XC70 delivers the same things, but the game has radically changed with the advent of crossover SUVs. In general, the game has moved on, thereby diminishing the appeal of this cross-country Volvo wagon.
Basically, the XC70 is a V70 wagon with standard all-wheel drive and 8.3 inches of ground clearance, which is more than the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLK crossovers. Notably, the XC70 is also available with a 281-horsepower turbocharged engine, whereas the V70 only gets the weak-sauce naturally aspirated six-cylinder found in the base XC70. The bigger T6 engine provides more competitive acceleration versus compact luxury crossovers, though neither mill delivers a fuel economy advantage. At 18 mpg combined, the five-passenger XC70 returns the same mileage as the seven-passenger Ford Flex.
Compared to other wagons and those compact crossovers, the XC70 offers plenty of maximum cargo space -- 71 cubic feet, to be exact. 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) and the preoccupied (driver inattention alert system).
We like the XC70's combination of safety and style, and with its all-wheel-drive system and available turbocharged engine, it's certainly more appealing than the V70. However, there are a wealth of compact luxury crossovers (GLK, Volvo XC60), full-size family crossovers (Flex, Mazda CX-9) and fellow wagons (Subaru Outback, VW Passat) that deliver equal or more versatility, capability and maneuverability for less money and with better fuel economy. In sum, while the 2010 Volvo XC70 is undoubtedly a competent vehicle, we'd recommend taking a close look at the myriad other options.
The 2010 Volvo XC70 is a five-passenger wagon available in 3.2 AWD and T6 AWD trim levels. Standard equipment on the 3.2 includes 16-inch alloy wheels, front and rear foglights, heated mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, an eight-way power driver seat with memory functions, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, neoprene-like "Tricotec" upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with CD player, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The Premium package adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat and wood trim. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are a stand-alone option. The T6 AWD adds the content of the Premium package (minus the sunroof), plus a turbocharged engine, 18-inch wheels and upgraded gauges.
For more equipment, you can select the Climate package that adds heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, automatic wipers and high-pressure headlight washers. Heated rear seats are included in this package for models without the integrated booster seats. The Convenience package includes front and rear parking sensors, a power tailgate, rear privacy glass and a trunk grocery bag holder. The Technology package ups the ante with adaptive cruise control, a collision warning system, a distance alert system, driver inattention alert system and a lane-departure warning system. The Multimedia package adds a navigation system and a 12-speaker Dynaudio surround-sound stereo with satellite radio and rear seat headphone jacks and controls. Stand-alone options include integrated rear booster seats, a blind-spot warning system and keyless ignition/entry.
Every 2010 Volvo XC70 features all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. The 3.2 AWD model comes with a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 235 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. This engine, when sold in California-emissions states is PZEV rated and has a slightly lower 225-hp rating. Volvo claims the XC70 3.2 will sprint to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds -- about the same as full-size crossover SUVs.
The T6 AWD features a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 281 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Volvo estimates a 0-60-mph time of 7.1 seconds. Fuel economy estimates are lackluster for a wagon -- both engines have a 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined rating.
The 2010 Volvo XC70 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, hill descent control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front head restraints. Integrated rear booster seats are optional on both models. 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 (which monitors a variety of factors including the driver's face to determine whether he or she is dozing off) and lane-departure warning.
The available matte wood and leather trim really dresses up the XC70's otherwise austere ambience. In any form, though, the XC70's cabin is a showcase of modern Swedish style, with Volvo's trademark "floating" center-stack panel and artfully designed controls. Volvo cleaned up the optional navigation system's graphics and menu structure for 2010, but the system remains cumbersome to use 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 XC70's front seats are among the best in the business, achieving a rare combination of chiropractor-approved comfort and body-hugging support. The backseat is also comfortable, though perhaps a bit short on legroom. A 40/20/40-split-folding seatback bumps up the XC70's versatility index, as do the available integrated booster seats. With the seats folded flat, the XC70 can hold 72 cubic feet of cargo.
The 2010 Volvo XC70 has a smooth and refined ride befitting its premium status. Don't expect to have any fun, however, as the XC70's light steering, ample body roll and elevated center of gravity make it feel less nimble than past Volvo wagons. Nevertheless, the XC70 is markedly smaller than most crossover SUVs, so it feels more maneuverable in tight spots. Acceleration from the base six-cylinder engine is sluggish and rather coarse for a premium brand. The turbocharged power plant helps matters considerably and comes without a fuel economy penalty.
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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2010 Volvo XC70 Wagon in WA is: