By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.5
Although many feel the station wagon no longer has a place in the hearts and minds of today’s active young go-getters, the 2016 Volvo XC70 proves otherwise. More upscale and roomier than the Subaru Outback, the XC70 is less about rugged off-road adventures and more about tackling deep snow or dusty trails on the way to some pampered outdoor retreat. Unlike the Outback and Audi Allroad, the XC70 offers a choice between front- or all-wheel drive (FWD, AWD), and its price falls comfortably in between the two competitors. With its car-like driving manners, roomy cargo hold and Scandinavian-inspired styling, Volvo’s XC70 for 2016 should appeal to families and singles whose priorities revolve around safety, reliability and established luxury-car credentials.
If you’re looking for a family vehicle that places safety above all other priorities, the 2016 Volvo XC70 will likely hold broad appeal. When equipped with AWD, the XC70 can tackle most foul-weather situations. Subtle styling and a modern interior make the XC70 a less conspicuous status symbol.
The 2016 XC70 can’t tow more than 3,300 pounds or seat more than five people. If either of these facts is a deal breaker, you’ll likely need an SUV. Those looking for a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder plus all-wheel drive will have to look to the Subaru Outback.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to the 2016 Volvo XC70 are few but significant. New standard features include 18-inch wheels and heated front seats. The turbocharged 3.0-liter and normally aspirated 3.2-liter engines have been discontinued, replaced by the 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder from the XC60.
Not many people equate invigorating acceleration with a station wagon body, but in the 2016 Volvo XC70, that’s just what you get. The 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo is quite impressive, both...
... in performance and fuel economy. Sadly, it is only offered with the front-drive models, leaving the turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder as the only option for those who desire AWD traction. Both turbocharged engines deliver exhilarating straight-line acceleration, but you’ll want to dampen that enthusiasm when approaching curves as the XC70 sits up high and its suspension trends toward the softer side. Around-town jaunts and long highway runs are where the XC70 feels most at home, with a hushed cabin and some of the most comfortable front seats in the industry. For those times when you do venture off-road, standard Hill Descent Control holds the XC70 at a steady speed when descending steep or slippery grades.
Volvo’s City Safety automatic brake feature monitors the traffic ahead, even when you may not be. Volvo designed the system to be used in slow-speed situations up to 30 mph where it will apply the brakes and even prevent a collision should the driver fail to act.
One of the main reason buyers opt for a wagon over a sedan is the additional cargo space, and the XC70 wagon for 2016 provides a vast 72.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Some XC70 models even provide a fold-flat front passenger seat for accommodating longer items.
Volvo XC70 wagon for 2016 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 and the driver's seat itself is way above par with excellent outward visibility. 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 2016 Volvo 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 2016 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 heated 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, 18-inch alloy wheels 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. 2016 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 5-cylinder, the 2016 XC70 offers two engines to choose from. The base model, confusingly named T5 Drive-E (nothing to do with cylinder count or electrification), uses the turbocharged 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 last year’s naturally aspirated 3.2-liter 6-cylinder. Unfortunately, at this point, the 4-cylinder model is front-drive only. Those seeking AWD get the less fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder that cranks out 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. It is partnered with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The XC70's towing capacity is commendable at 3,300 pounds.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (FWD)
258 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 (AWD)
250 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-2,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg
The 2016 Volvo XC70’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $38,040 for a front-drive Volvo XC70 T5. Stepping up to a base all-wheel-drive T5 lifts the price to $39,540. Within each are higher trims that can lift prices by several thousands of dollars, topping out around $52,000 for a fully loaded AWD T5 Platinum. In contrast, an Audi Allroad starts at over $43,000 and quickly climbs with options, while the Subaru Outback starts around $25,000 and tops out near $41,000 for loaded 6-cylinder Limited trim. 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.