Used 2015 Volvo XC70 Wagon Review

The 2015 Volvo XC70 is an appealing luxury wagon that offers some nice advantages if you're planning on frequently using it in inclement weather or for recreational activities. But many crossover SUVs pretty much do the same thing, and have fresher designs.




what's new

For 2015, the Volvo XC70 gets an all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive models. Also added are the "2015.5" XC70s (models produced after May 2014), which get the updated Volvo On Call and Sensus Connect telematics systems as standard. Some other adjustments to standard and optional equipment have also been made to these later XC70s.

vehicle overview

The 2015 Volvo XC70 is a tasteful and discreet luxury station wagon that can handle the latest snowstorm or bounce up to that vacation cabin without looking worse for the wear. To accomplish this, Volvo equips it with a raised suspension for extra ground clearance, front and rear underbody skid plates and lower body panels with material that resists hacks and scratches. Even with the upgrades, though, this is still a very practical vehicle. Its rear cargo area is roomier than those of many small luxury crossover SUVs, and you've got the wide gamut of safety features for which Volvo is known.

For 2015, the XC70 receives a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine that boasts energetic acceleration and high fuel economy. Aiding the latter is an equally new eight-speed automatic transmission and a surprisingly refined automatic engine stop-start system. Unfortunately, this engine is available only on the front-wheel-drive XC70, whereas the old lineup of less efficient six-cylinder engines and six-speed automatic transmissions soldiers on with all-wheel drive. The difference in fuel economy is significant, as is acceleration with the laggardly 3.2 AWD model.

Luxury wagons that can handle the occasional dirt trail aren't exactly common. The XC70's closest competitor is the 2015 Audi Allroad. It's a nicer and more premium-feeling vehicle, but it's not as roomy inside. Of course, there's a wide selection of small luxury crossovers to consider, such as the 2015 Acura RDX or Volvo's own 2015 XC60; many of them are more enjoyable to drive. The 2015 Subaru Outback is another great choice if you want an off-road-themed wagon and don't need something with a luxury badge. Overall, the XC70 isn't really a standout in this group, but if the brand and the XC70's unique approach appeal to you, it's certainly worth a look.

trim levels & features

The 2015 Volvo XC70 is a five-passenger wagon available in three trim levels: T5 Drive-E, 3.2 and T6. The T5 Drive-E has Volvo's all-new four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, whereas the 3.2 and T6 are powered by inline six-cylinder engines (the T6's is turbocharged) and have standard all-wheel drive. Depending on when your XC70 was built, standard and optional equipment will vary slightly. A few changes were made to XC70s produced after May 2014, which Volvo refers to as 2015.5 models. See the end of this section for details on how the 2015.5 model differs.

Standard equipment for the 2015 XC70 T5 Drive-E and XC70 3.2 includes: 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, front and rear underbody skid plates, roof rails, heated side mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, an eight-way power driver seat, driver memory settings, power front passenger seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, low-speed emergency automatic braking (Volvo's City Safety), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

Moving to the T5 Premier trim adds a sunroof, rear privacy glass, leather upholstery, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a configurable instrument cluster display.

The Premier Plus package adds a power liftgate, a rearview camera, a folding front passenger seat and power-folding rear head restraints. The Platinum package for the T5 and 3.2 features all of the above, along with a navigation system, a premium audio system and interior accent lighting.

In addition to its more-powerful turbocharged six-cylinder, the XC70 T6 starts with the base models' standard equipment, but also includes as standard 18-inch wheels and what is essentially the equipment found in the Premier package. The contents of the Premier Plus and Platinum packages are the same for the T6 as for the other 2015 XC70 models.

The Climate package adds a heated windshield, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, heated windshield-washer nozzles and an air quality sensor. The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam control, frontal collision warning, automatic braking for frontal collision crash mitigation, a driver inattention monitor and lane-departure warning.

Stand-alone options include a blind-spot warning system, active xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors and integrated rear child booster seats.

For the 2015.5 Volvo XC70 (those built after May 2014), there are a few changes worth noting. All XC70 models get the Volvo On Call and Sensus Connect systems. On Call adds an in-car WiFi hotspot, emergency roadside assistance and automatic crash notification, while Sensus Connect adds updated graphics for the touchscreen, improved voice commands and in-car apps such as Pandora and Yelp.

A few optional items have also changed on the 2015.5 models. For the T5 and 3.2 trim levels, the Premier package gets a navigation system but no longer includes keyless ignition and entry. The Premier Plus package has been replaced with the Proximity package, which includes keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate and a rearview camera.

New for 2015.5 is the Convenience package (available on all XC70s), which adds a cargo cover, power-folding rear headrests and a power-folding passenger seat. Front and rear parking sensors are no longer included with the Technology package (they're available as a stand-alone option). The Platinum package on these updated XC70s now includes the contents of the Technology package and the Convenience package as well.

Updated 2015.5 stand-alone options included the previously mentioned front and rear parking sensors, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system.

performance & mpg

An all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is the standard engine for the 2015 XC70 T5 Drive-E. It develops 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It comes with an equally new eight-speed automatic. This powertrain drives the front wheels and, according to EPA fuel economy estimates, it will get 27 mpg combined (24 city/31 highway). Contributing to that impressive efficiency is an automatic engine stop-start system (it shuts off the engine while the vehicle is stopped to save gas) that is standard with this engine.

The XC70 3.2 comes with a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. Volvo says the XC70 3.2 will sprint to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is a slow time compared with that of most compact luxury crossovers. EPA-estimated fuel economy is considerably worse, though: 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway).

The T6 offers the strongest performance, with its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that generates 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic are again standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the T6 zipped from zero to 60 mph in a quick 6.1 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy dips only slightly for the performance boost, to 20 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway).

safety

The 2015 XC70 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, hill descent control, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Also standard is Volvo's City Safety feature, which can automatically apply the brakes in low-speed situations when a frontal collision seems imminent.

Integrated rear booster seats and a blind-spot warning system are optional for every XC70. The available Technology package adds frontal collision warning, adaptive cruise control, additional automatic braking for frontal collision crash mitigation, a driver inattention monitor and lane departure warning.

In Edmunds brake testing, an earlier XC70 T6 AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 133 feet, which is about 10 feet longer than average.

driving

The 2015 XC70 driving experience differs greatly depending on the trim (and hence, engine) that you get. The 3.2 AWD is slow and delivers unimpressive fuel economy; we'd recommend avoiding it. A better choice is the T5 Drive-E, as it delivers more energetic acceleration and excellent fuel efficiency, but you're stuck with front-wheel drive, which severely limits the functionality of this Volvo. The T6 AWD is arguably the best pick here, though again, it returns significantly lower fuel economy than the T5.

Where the XC70 shines is with its premium ride, which pleasantly eradicates the nastiest bumps and potholes and handles smaller road annoyances with a supple indifference, too. The too-light steering doesn't seem to match the controlled ride, though, and the XC70 corners less nimbly than many taller crossover SUVs.

interior

Inside, the 2015 Volvo XC70 looks elegant and classy. 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. The interface for the available navigation system in early 2015 models feels a few years behind rivals' systems in both its graphics and functionality, but the refreshed 2015.5 models have seemingly addressed that with several updated features and performance.

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 available 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 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 72 cubic feet with those seats folded down. One benefit of the XC70's wagon design is that the vehicle is a few inches shorter than the typical crossover SUV, and that can make loading bikes, kayaks and other gear on rooftop racks easier.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.