From April 2008 issue

List price when tested: £31,035
Kerbweight: 1868kg
85% match: 1588kg
Max towing weight: 2100kg
Towball limit: 75kg
Braking 30-0mph: 10.8m

THINK OF the Volvo XC70 as a V70 estate with four-wheel drive and an increased ride height, and you won’t go far wrong. If you often tow to muddy pictures in all weathers, the XC70 is worth a look.

The healthy kerbweight makes tourers of 1588kg an 85% match. For our test drive, we matched the Volvo to an Abbey Expression 550 (MTPLM: 1500kg). The XC70 pulled the caravan from 30-60mph in 12 seconds, thanks to the D5 engine’s healthy 295lb.ft of torque. On the motorway we found the XC70 would comfortably hold 60mph, even up steep inclines.

Numb steering

The big Volvo wasn’t so happy through our lane-change test. The numb steering made it hard to know what was going on with the front tyres, and the car leaned heavily. The driver could feel the caravan pushing and pulling at the back of the car at higher speeds.

We’re much more satisfied with the Volvo’s performance in the hill start. The XC70 pulled easily up the 1-in-10 slope, both going forwards and in reverse.

Leave the caravan behind and the Volvo is an indifferent car to drive. The soft suspension swallows big bumps whole, but it’s not very composed once the road begins to twist and turn. The engine is noisy when accelerating, although it settles into the background at a steady cruise.

Very practical

Practicality is the Volvo’s strongest point. With 575 litres of luggage room there’s lots of space, but it’s not just the raw numbers which impress. The square shape of the luggage area and the ease with which the rear seats fold flat all make the XC70 an excellent load carrier.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 2/5
Practicality: 5/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 3/5 – Rather cumbersome to drive, but powerful and practical.

Find out more about this car at