2009 Volvo XC70
There’s always going to be a need to haul the kids and their gear from place to place. The minivan had its turn and the SUV is headed out the door faster than you can say “oil crisis,” so what’s next? Our money is on the tried and true station wagon. Wagons today have come a long way from the faux wood-panel disasters of the 70’s and manufacturers are starting to build loveable hatches with something resembling driving fun built in. The Volvo XC70 T6 AWD
is a perfect example. Powered by a 281 horsepower turbo 3.0-liter, this wagon scoots down the road with some serious gusto. Of course, Volvo’s legendary safety record and new-found good looks add to the overall package, too. Afraid of ditching the go-anywhere prowess of your big sport-ute? Never fear. The XC70 comes with all-wheel drive standard, making short work of slippery conditions and dirt roads alike. Yes, this is a wagon for the whole family to love.
What's to Like
The term “wagon” isn’t synonymous with “boring” anymore. Thanks to the 281 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque from the turbo six-cylinder, this car has enough get up and go to keep you interested behind the wheel. There’s lots of seating on tap and storage for everything from soccer gear to the family pup.
What's Not to Like
Unfortunately, that turbo and the beefy all-wheel drive system under this XC70 makes for some dismal fuel economy. At 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, this wagon doesn’t give the green-geared much to smile about. Indeed, those numbers are barely better than the gas guzzling SUVs that used to roam the freeways.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
It’s hard to get a handle on exactly where the XC70 T6 AWD is most comfortable. Around town it handles traffic and tight parking spaces with ease, stylishly ferrying kids and cargo to designated drop off points. Jump just outside of stop and go hell and head for the mountains, and this car is just as happy tackling snowy inclines as you head for the slopes. The car’s all-wheel drive system and two-ton girth make for a planted ride even in the most uncertain of road surfaces, and that’s something we love to no end. The ride is somewhat stiff, but still very comfortable for long-distance hauls, and the cavernous interior makes loading and unloading a breeze.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Volvo XC70 T6 AWD is powered by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 281 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that puts power to all four wheels via Volvo’s all-wheel drive system. Thanks to the 3.0-liter’s generous torque curve, power delivery is smooth and constant from just 1,500 rpm all the way to red line.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
This wagon is available with all kinds of neat tricks to keep you and yours safe everywhere you go. A Collision Avoidance Package can be had for $1,695 that includes adaptive cruise control, collision warning and lane departure warning. Those options work with a series of sensors and in-cabin warnings to keep you more aware of your vehicle’s position in your lane and in relation to other vehicles on the road.
Key Technology Evaluation
Volvo has decked out the XC70 with all the goodies to satisfy your tech tooth, including active bending headlights, SIRIUS satellite radio and a premium sound system with headphone jacks for rear passengers. Those bits can be had for $2,295, but the really cool part is Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator. The PCC can not only operate as a keyless drive, but can update you on your car’s lock and alarm status. It can even sense if there’s someone in your vehicle via heartbeat, allowing you to safely evaluate a potential vehicle theft from a distance. It can be installed on your XC70 for $495.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
As we mentioned earlier, this isn’t exactly where the XC70 T6 AWD shines. Thanks to the forced induction engine and heavy all-wheel drive system, this wagon hits the pumps and an embarrassing 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Volvo has made some impressive progress on their interiors, and the XC70 demonstrates that move forward. The company’s trademark center console is present, along with an amazing set of front seats wrapped in quality leather.
Outside, this Volvo is a long way from the boxy rides the company used to produce. A handsome, well shaped nose blends into a sleek-sided form down both sides. Out back, the family tail lights make for a well-sculpted rear end.
What We Think
To us, it is clear that the wagon is coming back in a big way and we can’t think of a better way to welcome it back than with the Volvo XC70. The combination of a sure-footed stance, plenty of power and loads of space make for a vehicle that’s more than capable in all the ways you need a wagon to be. It’s true we’d like to see better fuel economy from a six-cylinder, but given the car’s weight, the all-wheel drive system and the level of safety we’ve come to expect from a Volvo, it’s hard to fault the wagon.