Volvo V70 D3 Manual SE Nav
Found in almost every modern car, the conventional “three point” seat belt (where the chest as well as the lap is restrained by an additional strap) was invented by Volvo 56 years ago. Initially Volvo’s wonderful new system was only fitted as standard to cars for the Swedish market; the first came off the production line on 13 August 1959. Soon though, seat belts were being offered by most car manufacturers although it took the UK another 24 years before it became illegal for car passengers not to wear seat belts in the back & front of cars. Thanks must go to both an engineer named Nils Bohlin who came up with the idea & also to Volvo, who amazingly didn’t patent the idea nor stop anyone else using their new device. It is estimated that the 3-point seat belt has saved over 1 million lives since it was introduced & although modern cars have a vast array of safety features fitted as standard nowadays, it may take an awful long time before air-bags for example, get anywhere close to such a figure.
Volvo owners would probably point out that it is the perceived safety of Volvo that is one of the major factors in their purchase of one. Indeed having just spent a week in the classic Volvo, a V70 estate, it would be hard not to argue that safety is most definitely just as important to Volvo in 2015 as it was in 1959. My test car the V70 D3 SE Nav, was packed full of the usual safety features. However, it was fitted with a Driver Support Pack, at the additional cost of £1565 which offers the latest in advanced car safety features, including, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian & cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control & distance alert, queue assist, lane departure warning, driver alert control with active high beam & road sign information display. If you haven’t been lucky enough to drive a vehicle fitted with some of these extras, I can tell you that some are very easy to live with day to day, whilst others can be quite hard. For example, adaptive cruise control with distance alert is excellent, because it allows the driver to select a speed & distance from the vehicle in front, which is particularly useful on the motorway. The lane departure warning can be frustrating & I found myself turning this off because it goes off every time you change lanes without signalling. I am in the habit of indicating to overtake, but not indicating when I pull back in afterwards , which sets it off. Of course, for night time & log distance driving it is extremely useful, but at leat Volvo gives you the choice of turning this function off or on as required.
I have owned several Saabs in the past & 15 years ago when my children were young, I headed in Saabs direction mainly because I wanted a well built & safe car to drive my kids around in. For example, back then few new cars offered more than just a drivers air-bag in their cars, whilst Saab & of course Volvo offered several air-bags to their customers. The fact that they were made in Sweden & were as well put together as the luxury German brands, was also an attraction & I’m sure that I was not alone in favouring Swedish built cars back then.
With the V70 range starting at £27,195 for the D3 Business Edition, all of this safety with luxury doesn’t come cheap. Why then did I find myself really enjoying my week in the V70, despite that fact that it’s not as good to drive as the BMW 5 Series Touring , as sumptuous as the Mercedes E Class wagon or as well priced as the Skoda Superb ?
What appeals to me about the V70 over & above it’s competitors, is that the Volvo just feels right. The 6-speed 150bhp engine offers just enough oomph to get you around at a comfortable speed, whilst the steering & gear box are both light & easy to use. Despite it’s length, it handles really well & the comfortable leather seats both in the front & back are fantastic, especially on longer journeys. The dash board is well sculpted & there’s something very tasteful about the way that the V70’s interior is finished, no garishness just simple high quality finishes in black & chrome. The hands free Bluetooth connectivity, SatNav & information switches are all simple to understand & to use & the overall feeling is definitely calming for both driver & passengers.
The main reason for choosing to buy an estate is because you want space & the V70 doesn’t disappoint, offering an impressive 575 litres of load space. The rear seats can be folded down in three 40/20/40 segments, giving more options to configure the space. With all of the rear seats folded flat, the load space grows to a cavernous 1,600 litres. The power-operated tailgate, operated remotely via the key fob or the dashboard, is another useful feature. If you have young children, the rear seat can integrate double two-stage child seats – with one simple movement, booster cushions pop up from the seat giving a comfortable and safe ride height for children from the age of three and upwards. Also, the rear load space has been cleverly designed, with two levels of flooring to allow a flat loading space & there’s also useful rails in the floor with hidden built in hooks so that you can attach your cargo to these if required.
Emissions & fuel consumption are at the top of any company car drivers list of priorities. The V70 D3 manual offers emissions of 119g/km coupled with a combined return of 62.8 mpg. My real world test, saw me average closer to 47.6 mpg in the D3, which is pretty remarkable for such a large car. Top speed is 124 mph & it takes 10.6 seconds to reach 62 mph from a standing start.
Company car drivers looking for a little bit of luxury in their estate are spoilt for choice nowadays. Not only do BMW, Audi & Mercedes offer one, but so too do Skoda with their Superb & Jaguar with their XE Sportbrake. All have their high points, but having spent a week in the V70, none really package their estate quite like Volvo, which when you drive it manages to make you feel comfortable without being smug.
A Stieg Larsson 3.5/5