2012 Volvo XC70 Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Reviewers agree that the 2012 Volvo XC70 has better performance than most compact SUVs, but compared with premium wagons from Audi and BMW, the XC70’s performance falls short. Front-wheel drive is standard on 3.2 models, and all-wheel drive is optional. If you go for a T6 model, you get a more-powerful engine and standard all-wheel drive.
- “Optional turbo six churns up gratifying power, and comfort quotient is high. But numb steering and cushy ride quell any sport-wagon ambitions.” -- Car and Driver
- “The Volvo XC70 has a smooth and refined ride befitting its premium status. It's not much fun, though, as its light steering, ample body roll and elevated center of gravity make it feel less nimble than past Volvo wagons.” -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
The Volvo XC70 3.2 features a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 243 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. However, the XC70 T6 AWD comes equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that generates 304 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. Reviewers say the 3.2-liter engine is adequate, but they overwhelmingly prefer the extra zip in the T6 AWD models. The transmission earns almost universal praise for smooth shifts and quick responses.
However, auto writers are disappointed with the XC70's gas mileage. According to the EPA, 3.2 models with front-wheel drive get 19/25 mpg city/highway, while T6 all-wheel drive models get 17/23 mpg city/highway. That’s about average for a compact SUV, and lags behind most other wagons' fuel economy.
- "In 3.2 models, power is adequate from a stop, and there's enough reserve muscle for fuss-free passing and merging. T6 is notably stronger and does not suffer from turbo lag. In all versions, the smooth transmission is quick to respond to throttle inputs." -- Consumer Guide
- “Acceleration from the base six-cylinder engine is sluggish and rather coarse for a premium brand. The turbocharged power plant helps matters considerably, but carries with it a fuel economy penalty.” -- Edmunds
- “The 240-horsepower, 6-cylinder engine is a capable powerplant, but it's the Volvo XC70 T6 AWD's 300-horsepower, turbocharged six that breathes life into this big wagon.” -- Kelley Blue Book
Handling and Braking
Test drivers find that the Volvo XC70 handles decently on both daily commutes and the occasional romp off pavement, though it’s not sporty by any means. The available all-wheel drive system is best at helping drivers maintain control on slick and snowy pavement, rather than adding a performance edge on the track or an off-road trail.
- “It's not much fun, though, as its light steering, ample body roll and elevated center of gravity make it feel less nimble than past Volvo wagons. Nevertheless, the XC70 is markedly smaller than most crossover SUVs, so it feels more maneuverable in tight spots.” -- Edmunds
- "Compared with SUVs, as is Volvo's pretense, the XC70 is nimble and nearly sporty. Compared to traditional station wagons, XC70 has slightly less communicative steering and marginally more lean in corners." -- Consumer Guide
- “The Volvo XC70 is based on the Volvo S80 sedan. This helps it deliver a stable, quiet and controlled ride that belies the vehicle's off-road abilities. We covered gravel roads, slushy snow and fresh mud. None proved an obstacle for the Volvo XC70. Novice off-roaders have a friend in the XC70's Hill Descent Control, which proves a useful tool when descending steep and slippery slopes.” -- Kelly Blue Book