By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
While families and active individuals flock to SUVs for their versatility and steadily improving ride quality, the 2015 Volvo XC70 proves the station wagon is still relevant, and as capable and sophisticated as ever. The XC70 actually splits the difference between a traditional wagon and an SUV. It has the cargo room, ground clearance, and available all-wheel drive of an SUV, yet retains the driving manners and ease of entry associated with a sedan. And being a Volvo, the XC70 is loaded with safety features, including a system that automatically brakes to prevent a collision. The XC70 also finds a happy medium among its main rivals in terms of price and amenities, falling between the higher-end Audi Allroad and more mainstream Subaru Outback.
If you want a spacious, well-equipped hauler that tackles snow and light trails like an SUV, but drives and maneuvers like a car, the XC70 deserves your attention. Other benefits include Volvo's reputation for safety and this buffed-up wagon's ability to stand out from the crowd.
If you need to carry more than five passengers, tow over 3,300 pounds or are among the few who plan to do serious off-roading, look to a larger SUV. If you desire an all-wheel-drive wagon with a sub-$25,000 price, the Subaru Outback remains an affordable all-star.
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The big news for the 2015 XC70 is the addition of a powerful yet efficient 4-cylinder engine/8-speed transmission setup that can be had instead of the wagon's 6-cylinder/6-speed offerings. Other changes include a standard power-operated passenger seat, and all-wheel drive as standard on 3.2-liter 6-cylinder models.
You may not equate a station wagon with invigorating acceleration, but the 2015 XC70 can flaunt just that if you choose one with a turbocharged engine. The 240-horsepower 4-cylinder has...
... impressive power delivery, and the matching 8-speed automatic transmission is excellent. Go full boat with the 300-horsepower turbocharged inline-6, and you'll have a station wagon that can beat some sports cars off the line. In the middle is the naturally aspirated (non-turbo) inline-6, which provides acceptable power for passing and getting up to speed. Despite its potentially surprising straight-line acceleration, you'll want to dial it down in the corners. Volvo's big wagon sits higher than a normal vehicle and has a suspension made to soak up bumps, not tear around tarmac. In normal driving, the XC70 is hushed, and its driver's seat is among our favorites. Those venturing off the beaten path will appreciate Hill Descent Control, which keeps the car at a steady pace when descending slippery slopes.
City Safety is the name of Volvo's automatic braking feature, and it monitors what's happening ahead even when you don't. The system was designed for slow-speed and stop-and-go driving of up to about 30 mph, and can apply the brakes to prevent a collision if the driver fails to act.
With the rear seats folded flat, Volvo's all-purpose wagon boasts a vast 72.1 cubic feet of room plus hidden storage underneath. In some XC70 models, the front passenger seat folds to accommodate long items like lumber or a surfboard. In a pinch, you could sleep in this vehicle.
The 5-passenger Volvo XC70, especially in its higher trim levels, can pass as a luxury car with its plush leather seating and walnut inlays. Buttons and gauges are sleek and mostly easy to identify and use, none more so than the human-shaped climate controls – press the "head" to direct ventilation that way, for example. The driving position is good (though some craved a higher center armrest on long drives). The driver's seat itself is way above par, and outward visibility is excellent. Rear-seat room is spacious and the seats fold in 40/20/40 split. With the seats up, cargo space is plentiful at 33 cubic feet – enough for several weeks of groceries.
The XC70 looks like a station wagon that's been to the gym. This wagon not only boasts 8.3 inches of ground clearance to handle tough terrain, but also front and rear skidplates, protective side moldings and a standard roof rack that combine for beefed-up looks. Despite its host of utility features, the XC70 retains the rectangular profile and expanses of glass that make it a wagon through and through.
The 2015 XC70 T5 with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine slots in as the wagon's base model, but even in entry-level form this wagon offers quite a bit. Included are power front seats, an 8-speaker/160-watt AM/FM/CD/HD Radio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, the City Safety auto-braking feature, and a 7-inch color display. Climbing trims brings features such as leather seating, a moonroof, a power tailgate, a quick-folding front-passenger seat, and a rear parking camera. 2015 XC70s come with complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years/36,000 miles and four years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
Safety features figure high on any Volvo’s equipment list, including the latest XC70’s. Along with the standard City Safety automatic-braking system, the wagon can be outfitted with a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control, a cyclist-and-pedestrian-detection system with automatic braking, and lane-departure warning. Another interesting option is Volvo’s Road Sign Information system, which reads important road signs and relays them on screen. Also available are dual 2-stage child booster seats, heated front and rear seats, navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system with headrest-mounted screens, a rearview park-assist camera, and a 12-speaker premium sound system with rear headphone jacks and audio controls.
With the introduction of a turbocharged 4-cylinder, the 2015 XC70 now has three engines to choose from. The base model, confusingly named T5 Drive-E (nothing to do with cylinder count or electrification), uses the 4-cylinder linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. To save fuel, it has start/stop technology that turns off the engine at idle. Though the smallest of the XC70's engines, this 4-cylinder has the same horsepower and more torque than the naturally aspirated 3.2-liter 6-cylinder. At this point, the 4-cylinder model is front-drive only. At the top end is the T6 model with a turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder that cranks out 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Both 6-cylinder models come with all-wheel drive and use a 6-speed automatic transmission. The XC70's towing capacity is commendable at 3,300 pounds.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
258 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
240 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
The 2015 Volvo XC70’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $36,325 for a front-drive Volvo XC70 T5. Stepping up to a base all-wheel-drive 3.2-liter model lifts the price to $37,825, while a top-line T6 version with the turbocharged 6-cylinder engine starts at $41,875. Within each are higher trims that can lift prices by several thousands of dollars. In contrast, an Audi Allroad starts at over $41,000 and quickly climbs with options, while the least-expensive Subaru Outback starts around $24,000, and about $33,000 as a more comparably-equipped 6-cylinder model. The Honda Crosstour also undercuts the XC70 with its starting price of around $28,000. Before buying, be sure to check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their XC70. Over a 5-year period, we expect the XC70’s retained resale value to be slightly below that of its competitors.