Full 2014 Volvo XC70 Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Volvo XC70 receives a variety of updates this year. In addition to mildly updated exterior styling, there are some new features such as a heated windshield and steering wheel, a folding front passenger seat, a digital gauge cluster display and a new cyclist detection feature for the frontal collision mitigation system. T5 models also have a revised transmission that provides quicker shifts while in Sport mode.
The 2014 Volvo XC70 is aimed at buyers who are looking for the practicality of a sport-utility vehicle without the common downsides of poor handling and thirsty fuel economy. Based on the Swedish automaker's V70 station wagon (which isn't sold in the United States anymore), the XC70 gains a raised suspension that gives it a healthy 8.3 inches of ground clearance. Available all-wheel drive, underbody skid plates and dent-resistant lower body panels bolster this all-terrain's off-road credentials, though ultimately, this Volvo wagon is designed more for driving in snow than taking on steep, rocky trails.
Inside, the Volvo XC70 dispenses with the off-road armor in favor of typical midsize luxury wagon trimmings. It has reasonably roomy seating for adults, plus a useful amount of cargo space and a low liftover height. You'll also find exceptionally comfortable front seats, stylish decor and a long list of safety features, including an available forward collision alert system that's able to detect both pedestrians and cyclists, and can bring the XC70 to a halt automatically if the driver fails to react to its warnings of an impending crash.
The XC70 does have its downsides, however. The base model's 3.2-liter engine is only a so-so performer, and while it's tempting to get the more powerful turbocharged engine in the T6, the resulting fuel economy isn't much better than that of some larger crossover SUVs that offer more room for both passengers and cargo. The Volvo XC70's handling and braking abilities are also underwhelming compared with other midsize wagons.
If you're considering a 2014 XC70, the biggest question is simply going to be what your priorities are. The closest competitor to the XC70 is the 2014 Audi Allroad, which is also a luxury wagon with a raised suspension. It's not as roomy as the XC70, but it's more fuel-efficient and arguably more stylish (at least on the outside). For a less expensive all-terrain wagon, Subaru's Outback is a solid pick. And if you're not necessarily set on a wagon, we'd suggest checking out some luxury crossover SUVs such as the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo's own XC60.
In the end, the 2014 Volvo XC70 caters to a very specific niche. If you're looking for a luxurious midsize wagon that's comfortable around town, fun to drive on back roads and built to weather the occasional off-road jaunt (or more likely, winter storms), this Volvo could be an ideal companion.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Volvo XC70 is offered in two models. The entry-level 3.2 comes with a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine and a choice of front- or optional all-wheel drive; T6 versions get a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder and standard all-wheel drive.
Standard equipment on the 3.2 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear skid plates, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat with memory settings, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronic features include a low-speed frontal collision mitigation system (City Safety), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch display screen and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The T6 adds a more powerful engine, standard all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels, hill-descent control, a sunroof, rear privacy glass, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery, genuine wood interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a reconfigurable digital gauge cluster.
As for options, the Premier package, available on 3.2 models only, includes the keyless ignition and entry, a sunroof, rear privacy glass, leather upholstery, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power passenger seat and the reconfigurable gauge cluster from the T5. The Premier Plus package adds a power liftgate, a rearview camera, a power-adjustable folding front passenger seat and power-folding rear head restraints. The Platinum package adds a navigation system and a premium 12-speaker surround-sound audio system.
The Climate package adds heated front and rear seats, a heated windshield and windshield-washer nozzles, a heated steering wheel and an air quality sensor. The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam control, lane departure warning, a driver drowsiness monitor and expanded functionality for the frontal collision mitigation system. Stand-alone options include front and rear parking sensors, adaptive xenon headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system and integrated rear child booster seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Volvo XC70 can be had with one of two engines. The base 3.2 model gets a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option. EPA-estimated fuel economy is underwhelming at 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city/25 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg combined (18/24) with all-wheel drive.
The T6 comes equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder that generates 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque; all-wheel drive is standard. In prior Edmunds performance testing, a T6 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is about average for a luxury-brand wagon or crossover with an upgraded engine. Volvo says this year's model is a bit quicker still due to the revised transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers are 20 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway).
The list of standard safety features on the 2014 XC70 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, hill descent control (T6 models only), front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front head restraints. Also standard is Volvo's City Safety collision mitigation feature that helps drivers avoid or minimize low-speed collisions with vehicles in front of them by automatically applying the brakes. Integrated rear booster seats, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and blind-spot, lane-departure and driver-attention warning systems are optional on every XC70. The available Technology package adds pedestrian and cyclist detection to the collision mitigation system.
In Edmunds brake testing, the XC70 T6 AWD came to a stop in 133 feet, which is about 10 feet longer than average.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the 2014 Volvo XC70 displays the elegant simplicity that has become the hallmark of modern Swedish design. The look is especially rich with the available leather upholstery and genuine walnut trim. The thin "floating" design of the center stack adds a distinctive touch you won't find on competitive models. For the most part, the gauges are easy to read and controls operate intuitively, though the array of small audio buttons looks somewhat dated. The interface for the available navigation system feels a few years behind rivals' systems in both its graphics and day-to-day functionality.
The XC70's front seats are remarkably comfortable and supportive. The rear seats are nearly as good, though tall passengers will likely wish for a bit more legroom. Practically speaking, the backseat's 40/20/40-split-folding design along with the new folding front passenger seat gives the interior an uncommon degree of flexibility in transporting passengers, cargo or some combination of the two. You'll find 33.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, and it expands to 72 cubic feet with those seats folded down. Another benefit of the XC70's lower overall height is that it makes loading bikes, kayaks and other gear on rooftop racks much easier than on taller SUVs.
Equipped with the 3.2-liter engine, the 2014 Volvo XC70 provides adequate but underwhelming acceleration. The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder under the hood of the T6 model makes this wagon feel much more responsive, both around town and on the highway.
The comfort-tuned suspension gives the XC70 the plush ride quality you'd expect from a luxury car. Unfortunately, this softer tuning, plus the higher ride height, limits the XC70's handling abilities around turns. Other luxury wagons are noticeably sportier.