Used 2016 Volvo XC70 Wagon Review

With its raised suspension and scuff protection, the 2016 Volvo XC70 can be an appealing choice if you intend to do a lot of driving on dirt and gravel roads or in inclement weather and want a bit of luxury while doing so. But many crossover SUVs pretty much do the same thing, and have fresher designs.




what's new

For the 2016 XC70, Volvo has replaced the previous 3.2-liter inline-6 engine with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 that's more fuel-efficient. The previous top-line turbocharged inline-6 engine (the T6) has been dropped. Elsewhere, Volvo has added a few extra standard features to the base XC70 and shuffled option package content.

vehicle overview

When people consider getting a luxury vehicle to handle the latest snowstorm or bounce up to that vacation cabin without looking worse for the wear, a crossover SUV is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But there's also the 2016 Volvo XC70, a luxury wagon that can handle much of the same thing. To accomplish this, Volvo equips it with available all-wheel drive, a raised suspension for extra ground clearance, front and rear underbody skid plates and lower body panels with material that resists hacks and scratches. If crossovers aren't your thing, this Volvo could be an interesting alternative.

Even with the upgrades, the XC70 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 range of safety features for which Volvo is known. For 2016, the all-wheel-drive XC70 has a new turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 engine that replaces both the naturally aspirated 3.2-liter inline-6 and turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engines offered last year. The inline-5 is more powerful than the 3.2 and just as efficient. It's not as strong as the old turbo 3.0-liter engine, but we believe for most buyers it will still be quite suitable. The front-wheel-drive XC70 keeps the efficient-yet-peppy turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic transmission combo that was introduced last year.

Luxury wagons that can handle the occasional dirt trail aren't exactly common. The XC70's closest competitor is the Audi Allroad. It's a nicer and more premium-feeling vehicle, but not as roomy inside. The Subaru Outback is another great choice if you want an off-road-themed wagon and don't need something with a luxury badge. You might even consider Volvo's own V60 Cross Country, which follows the XC70's playbook but with a smaller, more nimble-handling body. Among this group, the XC70 doesn't hold any major advantages. But if Volvo's reputation for safety and the XC70's blend of luxury and utility appeal to you, it's worth a look.

trim levels & features

The 2016 XC70 is a five-passenger wagon available in four trim levels: T5 Drive-E, T5 Platinum, T5 All-Wheel Drive and T5 AWD Platinum. There also are a number of options packages and stand-alone options.

Standard equipment for the XC70 T5 Drive-E and XC70 T5 AWD models includes 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, underbody skid plates, roof rails, heated side mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, a heated, eight-way power driver seat, driver memory settings, a heated power front passenger seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and leatherette upholstery. Standard technology features include low-speed forward collision notification and mitigation, a 7-inch central display screen, Volvo's Sensus Connect system with smartphone app integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB audio interface.

The Premier package adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, a navigation system, a configurable instrument display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear privacy glass.

Moving up to the Platinum trims adds everything in the Premier package plus adaptive xenon headlights with washers, interior accent lighting, a blind-spot monitoring system, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and Volvo's Convenience, Technology and Proximity packages, which are options on all other XC70 trims.

The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlight control, an upgraded collision mitigation system, road sign information, a driver alertness monitor and lane departure warning.

The Convenience package provides a fold-flat front passenger seat to increase cargo capacity, a cargo cover, a pop-up rear grocery bag holder and power-folding rear head restraints.

The Proximity package includes keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera and a power liftgate. A Climate package, optional on all trims, includes heating for the rear seats, windshield, steering wheel and windshield washer nozzles.

Stand-alone options include front and rear parking sensors, integrated rear child booster seats and a rear entertainment system with dual displays.

performance & mpg

The standard engine for the 2016 XC70 T5 Drive-E is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It comes with an eight-speed automatic and drives the front wheels. The EPA's fuel economy estimate for the 2016 XC70 T5 Drive-E is 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway), which is excellent for a luxury wagon or crossover. Contributing to the front-wheel drive XC70's 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 T5 AWD gets a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 rated at 250 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway).

safety

The 2016 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. Also standard is Volvo's On Call system that includes emergency assistance, automatic crash notification and stolen vehicle assistance.

Optional features include a blind spot warning system, lane departure warning, a driver inattention monitor, an upgraded frontal collision warning and intervention system with full automatic braking and pedestrian and bicycle detection, and integrated rear booster seats.

driving

We haven't tested the all-wheel-drive 2016 XC70 with its new 2.5-liter engine but it should provide adequate acceleration. The T5 Drive-E is similarly powered and has much improved fuel efficiency, but it can only be had with front-wheel drive, which limits its appeal.

Where the XC70 shines is with its premium ride, which pleasantly eradicates the nastiest bumps and potholes and handles smaller road annoyances. 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 2016 Volvo XC70 sports an elegant look. The floating 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. For more complicated tasks such as selecting a media player playlist or programming the optional navigation system, the S60 relies on the standard Sensus system. It's fairly easy to use, though the multipurpose knob's location on the dash (rather than the center console) is not ideal and lacks a touchpad input like some other rival controller systems.

As is the norm throughout the Volvo lineup, 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. But 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 roof line is a few inches lower than that of the typical crossover SUV, making it a bit easier to load bikes, kayaks and other gear on rooftop racks.

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.