After 118,000km’s I am making way for a different kind of car for the family now, but figure it’s worth a write up on the car finally. In order of the scores this site gets you to list;
Performance and Economy
I drove around 30,000kms per year, with about 90% of that at between 80 – 110km/h. It averaged around 7.2L/km (6.9L/km freeway and 7.6 around town) – to me, that’s an excellent achievement. Particularly when you consider it has a shed-load of torque and a great amount of kilowatts. Performance-to-economy – it was brilliant. It’s also exceptionally heavy for a station wagon, at 1900kg’s plus all the passengers etc.
Cabin Space and Comfort
Cabin space has been perfect for a growing family of 4 with week-long trips away to holiday destinations with all associated stuff on board. The seats are sublime. The drive while cruising is brilliant. The in-built cargo net is a great idea (and considering the cost of the design/build for a car, something surely others could do) as were the integrated child boosters. Plenty of room up front. It can also take (easily) a 3m wooden plank or 12 from the hardware shop inside the vehicle from tail gate to dash-board.
Technology and Connectivity.
OK, so the sound system sounds brilliant but is sometimes let down by some clunkyness with respect to pairing. But where this scored highly was with all its safety kit that at the time was very rare including BLIS, Auto-braking, usual Safety structure stuff (WHIPS, SIPS etc) as well as having items such as DVD player and the like. There is also a lot of attention to detail items that once you know about them, they give you a small grin (but would not alter a purchasers mind so I’ll not bore you).
Price and Features
The safety kit cost too much, and still does on the newer cars. The other options were also expensive. But where this car takes a massive hit is in re-sale value. If you buy a Demo or near-new, then this is less of an issue. But if you buy new, you’re stuffed. That’s why this segment scored poorly and let the otherwise excellent car down.
Ride and Handling.
On a freeway, nothing I have driven beats this car – and I am coming from owning around 18 cars and 4WD’s now, including Subaru/ Mercedes/ Volvo/ Mitsubishi/ Honda/ Nissan/ VW/ Ford and more. Where this car falls over (almost literally) is when a turn comes up. It wallow’s a lot. I could not live with this car if I lived in a city and drove from a city house to a city work environment, or if you regularly drove a windy/ twisty road.
You’d get great abs though from bracing up each corner.
Going back to the Features and Tech comment on the cost of the items – the only thing that saves this car is a >$4000 option called the Four-C chassis control. After three years, I finally drove an XC70 fitted with it and it transformed the car into, say, a Camry with respect to its handling. Not a race car, but nothing you’d complain about. Good luck in finding that option on a demo or near-new model though, as it costs too much (I understand you cannot option it now).
Overall, I am exceptionally happy with this vehicle. As a family car it takes a lot to beat it, including SUVs and so on. The AWD and raised riding height was great for the fire-trails I went on. The servicing was very reasonable ($400/$400/$400/$795 for the 15/30/45/60K servicing, plus things like brakes etc) and warranty was never needed.
Highly recommended, but you won’t initially fall in love with it unless you know Volvo’s. Drive it for a week and you’ll not regret your purchase. I’d go so far that it’s almost the ultimate road touring car thanks to its safety, fuel efficiency, drive on the open road and space.