2009 Volvo XC70 Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
The XC70's all-wheel drive system (AWD) and 8.3-inches of ground clearance add a bit of off-road versatility to an otherwise adequate family wagon. New for 2009 is a turbocharged T6 trim.
- "It's not a machine that makes you crave sporting roads. It will be suitable daily transport for many Americans, preferable to a large SUV." -- AutoWeek
- "[O]n public roads, we may as well have been driving a sedate Volvo sedan -- such as the S80 -- wrapped in luxury, surrounded by safety, cruising in absolute and powerful quiet." -- Boston Globe
Acceleration and Power
The Volvo XC70 3.2 AWD features a 3.2-liter I6 engine that produces 235-horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 236 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm. However, the XC70 T6 AWD comes equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 engine that generates 281-horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 to 4,800 rpm. Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission.
While reviewers' opinions of the XC70 3.2 AWD's engine range from poor to adequate, its Geartronic transmission is praised for operating smoothly. The T6 has not yet been test driven.
What's more, auto writers are disappointed with the XC70's gas mileage. According to the EPA, the 3.2 AWD has a city/highway fuel economy of 15/23 mpg, while the T6 AWD nets 15/22 mpg.
- "The base XC70 shares its engine and transmission with the V70, but weighs about 200 pounds more. It moves along nicely just the same. There's adequate power from a stop and enough reserve power for fuss-free passing and merging. The smooth transmission is quick to respond to throttle inputs." -- Consumer Guide
- "The base 235-hp 3.2-liter inline-6 sounds unbecomingly truckish under hard acceleration, and it's truckish at the gas pump too, with EPA fuel economy estimates of just 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined -- a couple mpg worse than the V70, and also inferior to the larger Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Flex crossover SUVs." -- Edmunds
- "Volvo's new six is no screamer, but it delivers torque in smooth, linear fashion and breathes well at the high end." -- AutoWeek
- "Despite hearing some complaints about insufficient low-end torque, I found it competent for the kind of driving we encountered during the day." -- The Auto Channel
- "The six-speed transmission shifts well on highways, and in manual-selection mode, answers the call for power with a brisk gear change." -- BusinessWeek
Handling and Braking
Test drivers find that the all-wheel drive (AWD) XC70 handles well on both daily commutes and the occasional romp through the backwoods. However, it isn't engineered for hard terrain.
- "I had no complaints about the XC70 with the less powerful engine, but the T6 model is a little more fun to drive." -- Orlando Sentinel
- "Compared to SUVs, as is Volvo's pretense, the XC70 is nimble and nearly sporty. Compared to the V70, XC70 has slightly less communicative steering and marginally more lean in corners." -- Consumer Guide
- "It is by no stretch of the imagination a rally car, but it can quite happily and safely be driven briskly in the twisties, and can deal well with poorly-paved and improved unpaved surfaces thanks to its clearance and standard all-wheel drive system." -- The Auto Channel
- "An electronically controlled Haldex wet-clutch all-wheel-drive system is standard on XCs and optional on Vs. The system sends 95 percent of torque forward until the wheels slip, at which point up to 65 percent can be routed aft." -- Motor Trend
- "Despite that, the all-wheel drive XC70 has off-road credentials. It has more than eight inches of ground clearance, which makes it capable of handling modest terrain out in the boondocks. It's no Jeep or Land Rover, but it acquits itself well on logging trails and unpaved roads." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel