By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/7/2011
Evolved from the rugged package that spawned the first Volvo Cross Country Wagon, the 2011 Volvo XC70 adds a bit more finesse to the formula without giving up any of the original vehicle's off-pavement abilities. Although its only direct competitor is the Subaru Outback, a growing number of car-based crossovers are beginning to tread on the Volvo XC70's territory. Still, if you don't require a third-row seat or an excessively high seating position, the 2011 Volvo XC70's mix of style, strength and safety make it the ideal choice for the affluent active family.
If you're looking for a vehicle that can tackle the great outdoors or snow-covered roads with ease, but you don't want a bulky or unsophisticated SUV, the 2011 Volvo XC70 is a great choice.
If you're craving a versatile wagon with an advanced all-wheel drive system, good ground clearance and a comfortable interior, but can't stomach a $40,000-plus price tag, the Subaru Outback makes a far better choice than the Volvo XC70.
For 2011, a new front-wheel-drive model, the base Volvo XC70 3.2, joins line-up. Both the naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines see a gain in horsepower and torque. Sirius Satellite Radio is now standard, while a rear park assist camera has been added to the Multimedia package.
The 2011 Volvo XC70 3.2's 240-horsepower, 6-cylinder engine is a capable powerplant, but it's the Volvo XC70 T6 AWD's 300-horsepower, turbocharged six that breathes life into this big wagon. While we're confident the Volvo XC70 handles better than most truck-based SUVs, its additional height and larger wheel/tire package prevents it from returning the sporty, confident feel found with such all-wheel drive rivals such as the Audi A4 Avant. The Volvo XC70 is based on the Volvo S80 sedan. This helps it deliver a stable, quiet and controlled ride that belies the vehicle's off-road abilities. We covered gravel roads, slushy snow and fresh mud. None proved an obstacle for the Volvo XC70. Novice off-roaders have a friend in the XC70's Hill Descent Control, which proves a useful tool when descending steep and slippery slopes.
Hill Descent Control
With the push of a button, the Volvo XC70's Hill Descent Control manages the steepest descents, holding the car to a near crawl without the need for driver intervention.
Anyone caught in the rain with two arms full of groceries will appreciate this feature. The power tailgate can be activated via a button on the remote key fob.
Matching the 2011 Volvo XC70's sophisticated exterior is an equally refined interior. Among one of the most elegant and comfortable cabins ever to grace a Volvo vehicle, the XC70's clean and simple dash design places most controls within easy reach of both driver and passenger. Adding to a sense of high fashion is the Volvo XC70's open-back center console, which simulates the appearance of fine Scandinavian furniture. Families whose kids are too big for child safety seats will appreciate the available 2-stage child booster seats. Located at the outboard rear seat positions, these foldout boosters allow young children a higher perch and put them within coverage of the side-curtain airbags.
The 2011 Volvo XC70 displays a modern yet outdoorsy exterior. You won't find any tacked-on cladding or over-the-top styling themes, just a modest amount of protective plastic covering the molded bumpers and lower door panels. To improve outward visibility, Volvo purposefully designed the rear hatch glass a bit lower than the side windows. Volvo enhanced the ability to load cargo with a wider rear hatch opening, which was allowed by integrating the taillights into the D-pillar. A protruding front nose and large lower fog light bezels add a sporty feel to the Volvo XC70. Optional features such as the power tailgate solidify its place as a premium luxury wagon.
The base 2011 Volvo XC70 3.2 features a 240-horsepower engine, 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Other notable standard features include dual-zone electronic climate control, 8-way power driver's seat with memory and lumbar support, Bluetooth and 16-inch alloy wheels. Standard audio is a 160-watt AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and auxiliary input. The upper of the two versions, the Volvo XC70 T6 AWD, adds a turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, Hill Descent Control, front and rear skid plates, leather seats, a power passenger seat, dual integrated child booster seats, 18-inch wheels and performance-inspired "watch dial" instrumentation.
Stowing groceries has never been easier thanks to the optional power tailgate, which opens and closes via a push-button key fob. Volvo's Adaptive Cruise Control, part of the Technology Package, uses radar to maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Other options of note include heated leather seats, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), remote engine start, Keyless Drive, rear seat child boosters, rain-sensing wipers, 8-way power passenger's seat, bi-xenon headlights and HDD Navigation. Also available are 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system, power glass sunroof and rear park assist camera. Optional audio is a Dynaudio Premium Sound system, which includes a 650-watt amplifier, 6-disc CD changer, Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound and 12 speakers. All-wheel drive is available on the Volvo XC70 3.2.
The 2011 Volvo XC70 3.2's 3.2-liter, inline-6 is a strong engine, but delivers only acceptable performance in this 4,000-plus-pound wagon. Off-the-line acceleration is brisk, but passing power could be better. On the flip side, fuel economy is good for this class and engine noise and vibration are barely detectable from inside the car. Those preferring more power should move up to the Volvo XC70 T6 AWD, which has a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine with 60 more horsepower and nearly 100 lb-ft more torque.
240 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (FWD), 18/24 (AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged in-line-6
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22
The 2011 Volvo XC70's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $33,000 for a front-drive Volvo XC70 3.2, while an all-wheel drive model starts closer to $35,000. The sporty Volvo XC70 T6 AWD starts right around $39,000 and tops out just over $48,000. The less-expensive Subaru Outback is nearly as capable but not as luxurious. A truck-based SUV, such as the Land Rover LR2, can match the XC70's off-pavement abilities but lacks the car-like ride and handling. Before you set out to purchase your new Volvo XC70 be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area paid for their XC70. As for resale, the XC70 is expected to retain an average resale value over a 5-year period, not as good as the Subaru Outback and Cadillac SRX, but better than the Land Rover LR2.