2008 Volvo V70 Performance
Volvo's new engine and transmission combo is good, but it doesn't generate the excitement expected for the class. This and a merely adequate chassis lead Motor Trend to write "these cars never beg to be flogged. You won't have to leave early to get the kids to soccer practice, but neither will you be tempted to take the long, twisty road home."
Acceleration and Power
Whereas previous V70s offered several engine options, the 2008 model only has one -- a 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder with 235 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Test drivers describe it as smooth, adequate, or in Motor Trend words, "inherently silken" -- but most still wish for more. AutoWeek says, "Volvo's new six is no screamer, but it delivers torque in smooth, linear fashion and breathes well at the high end." The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the V70's new engine should achieve 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on highways.
Several begrudge the absence of the European V70's T6 engine. Motor Trend says, "But c'mon, Volvo, surely slipping a T6 engine discretely under the hood would add a moderate, sensible amount of passion to the mix without compromising the car's virtuous natures." No plans have been announced to offer the T6 model in the United States.
The 2008 Volvo V70's transmission is a six-speed Geartronic automatic that doesn't compare well to other wagons. According to Car and Driver, "It's neither as smooth nor as responsive as the ZF six-speed used by most of Volvo's rivals."
Handling and Braking
There are mixed opinions about the 2008 V70's chassis, which is a carryover from the V80 sedan -- itself a mix of Volvo systems and parts. But Car and Driver says no cobbled-together combination of steering and brakes "is entirely satisfactory. The result is that the V70, like the S80, lacks a character of its own." A less critical AutoWeek finds the V70's ride/handling balance "comfortable but more controlled, with less sway" than the 2007 model. Motor Trend agrees, "Ride quality is Euro-crisp," but later states, "The variable-effort power steering is adjustable in three settings: ridiculously light, too light, and almost right."