By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 6/20/2012
In these days of big SUVs and crossovers that seem to populate every road and vehicle segment, the 2012 Volvo XC70 is a bit of a rarity: An easy-to-drive station wagon that has seating for five and cargo space galore, along with extra ground clearance and available all-wheel drive (AWD) that enables it to tackle just about any surface almost as well as those more cumbersome utility vehicles. The XC70's main competitors in its niche category are the Subaru Outback and Honda Crosstour, both of which have lower starting prices but lack the premium feel and safety features that are standard on the Volvo.You'll Like This Car If...
If you desire the cargo space to haul the toys of your active lifestyle and the ability to travel almost any road with them, but don't want a big and bulky SUV, the XC70 is a premium alternative. That it boasts some of the highest-tech safety features available on any car is icing on the cake.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need to carry more than five passengers or plan to do serious off-roading, a bigger SUV would be a better choice. If the Volvo XC70's mid-$30,000 price tag is too much for you, a Subaru Outback can be had for about $10,000 less in base form.What's New for 2012
Base versions of the XC70 are front-wheel drive (FWD), which became the standard in 2011. For 2012, trim choices jump from two to seven with the addition of Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum editions in all models. A redesigned instrument panel conveys audio, navigation and other information to the driver via a 7-inch color display, the Bluetooth interface now allows audio streaming and the lower center console has been redesigned with metal framing or wood inlays, depending on trim level. On the safety front, the 2012 XC70 comes standard with City Safety, a system that automatically applies the brakes in lower-speed situations to avoid a collision if the driver is distracted and fails to brake. A higher-power Polestar edition is available on turbo models; a software performance package bumps output from 300 horsepower to 325 and torque from 325 lb-ft to 354, and does not affect the car's warranty.Driving It Driving Impressions
In standard form with the 3.2-liter base engine, the Volvo XC70 has decent power and acceleration. For a much more invigorating experience, move up to the 300-horsepower turbocharged engine in the T6. The added power comes at a price premium, but it helps make the XC70 a much more enjoyable car for those who like the dynamic aspects of driving. The T6 XC70 blasts from zero to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds, which is fast for a car of this nature. That said, you'll need to dial down the enthusiasm level for turns; with its increased ride height and softer suspension, this car is not made to take curves with great velocity. On the highway, the XC70 is comfortable and quiet. Visibility from the XC70's increased ride height is not as good as a taller SUV, but it is better than most wagons and sedans. We like the easy-to-use, steering wheel-mounted audio controls as well as the climate controls on the dash with the vent-direction buttons depicting a human figure. If you descend steep grades, the Hill Descent Control, standard on all-wheel drive models, will help you down slowly and with confidence.Favorite Features
Here's an option you'll appreciate every time you find yourself with an armful. The touch of a button raises or lowers the tailgate, leaving your hands free for other tasks.
One of the XC70's best attributes is its generous amount of space. With the rear seats folded flat, it boasts a vast 72.1 cubic feet of room for all those IKEA runs, plus hidden storage underneath. There's so much room that, in a pinch, you could even sleep in the thing.