Review: 2008 Volvo XC70

Not long after I drove the Volvo V70, I had the opportunity to drive the XC70. It was an interesting opportunity to compare these similar cars and get a feel for the differences.

Volvo XC70

Most notably are the obvious. With over 8 inches of ground-clearance, this car sat much taller than it’s little brother. It was slightly longer in the cargo area, and it’s exterior styling was much more aggressive and macho. I’m personally a big fan of the XC styling, and think that has that little something that begs to be taken outside, run through mud puddles, stormed up to the mountain, and hosed off when home. Not to mention the addition of stock four-wheel drive on the XC70s, the differences are slightly more than cosmetic, and Volvo has provided a car worthy of the mountain in both its function and appearance.

Another note about the XC70 was that it seemed to be slightly more refined inside. My wife called it “the black-label V70”, noting a few small touches and refinements she hadn’t noticed in the smaller, slightly less expensive V70. Both had family-friendly features such as a B-pillar rear-passenger air vent that was at head-height instead of stuck in the foot compartment of the rear center console. Several passengers riding in the back showed appreciation that they too, like the front seat riders, could adjust warm air to their upper body instead of merely having it pointed at their feet.

One thing my XC70 came equipped that I didn’t see in the V70s option list, was child door locks tied in to the window locks from the driver’s door. On the driver door, where you would expect to find window controls for all four windows, you also had the ability to lock passengers from adjusting their windows. But with this lock, you could also activate the rear child safety locks, keeping your passengers stuck in the back until you chose to release them. We found this feature on accident, as I had inadvertently bumped the window lock feature with my hand, but soon after, as nobody could escape the back seats, we went on a hunt to discover how to deactivate the feature. Evidently, some models have a standard switch inside the door jam, but this XC70 had the feature tied to the window locks. I can see this as both a feature and an annoyance. For those with kids, it would be great to have absolute control over them, their windows, and their doors; however, those with adult friends could easily find themselves bumping the button and locking perfectly responsible people into their car. I guess that’s why it’s an option in this car…

As with the V70, I loved driving this car. And since I’m becoming more and more a fan of increased ground-clearance, I appreciated the taller ride-height. The interior again was beautiful, elegant, and characteristic of modern Volvos, which I not only love, but pine for when driving all but $50,000+ cars. They just know how to make an interior feel like home. With the XC70 starting at only $4000 more than the V70, and the four-wheel drive, improved styling, and slightly longer wheelbase, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend the V70 over this car. But to be honest, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend any other wagon in this class over the XC70. The Outback is nice, but the XC70 is amazing. 5 stars.

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