2008 Volvo XC70 Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Volvo XC70 If...

If your next vehicle needs such off-road attributes as all-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control, but a bulky SUV doesn't fit your image, the 2008 Volvo XC70 is the car for you.

You May Not Like The 2008 Volvo XC70 If...

If you need seating for six or a price tag starting in the $20,000 range, a vehicle like the Jeep Commander or Subaru Outback is a better choice.

What's New

Despite a trend toward large crossover SUVs, Volvo's third-generation XC70 reiterates the Swedish manufacturer's commitment to the station wagon set. With only a handful of premium brand wagons available to consumers, the XC70 is poised to capture both safety-conscious families and active-lifestyle individuals.

Interior Features

Despite its rugged exterior, the 2008 Volvo XC70's interior is one of the most elegant and comfortable cabins ever to grace a Volvo vehicle. The clean and simple dash design puts controls within easy reach of both driver and passenger, while Volvo's new signature open-back center console adds a touch of style not usually associated with the family wagon. A number of options, including the Blind Spot Information System and Adaptive Cruise Control, make driving easier. Families who have outgrown child safety seats will appreciate the optional two-stage child booster seats (rear outboard seating), which allow young children a higher perch, putting them within coverage of the side-curtain airbags.

Exterior Features

The 2008 Volvo XC70 touts a stylish yet rugged exterior. Gone is the tacked-on side cladding, replaced by a more streamlined treatment covering the molded bumpers and lower door panels. Volvo has also lowered the rear glass beyond that of the side windows for better visibility and integrated the taillights into the tailgate to create a wider opening. An aggressive front fascia adds a sporty feel to the XC70's demeanor, while helpful features such as an optional power tailgate confirm the XC70's premium luxury-car status.

Driving Impressions

The XC70's S80-based platform delivers a stable, quiet and controlled ride that belies the vehicle's off-road abilities. The 3.2-liter in-line six is a capable powerplant, but feels like it could use a bit more oomph, perhaps from something along the line of Volvo's turbocharged models. The XC70 handles better than any truck-based SUV we've driven, but the added height and big wheels and tires don't return the same feel one might experience from a V70 or V50 wagon. Leave dry pavement, and the XC70's attitude changes. Gravel roads, deep mud and slushy snow prove little match for the XC70's all-wheel drive abilities. The Hill Descent Control feature is invaluable for both novice and experienced off-roaders. Once engaged, the system uses the vehicle's braking system to maintain a constant speed of around six-miles per hour, a useful tool when descending steep and slippery slopes.

Pricing Notes

The 2008 Volvo XC70's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts under $38,000. Add in the Climate Package and the 650-watt Dynaudio stereo and the price jumps to just over $40,000. With navigation, DVD entertainment and all the other bells and whistles, a fully-loaded XC70 tops out around $50,000. The less-expensive Subaru Outback is nearly as capable but not as luxurious. A truck-based SUV, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Land Rover LR2, can match the XC70's off-road abilities but lacks the car-like ride and handling, not to mention the XC70's stellar safety rating. Before you shop, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. It shows the typical transaction price others are paying for their XC70s in your area. As for resale, the XC70 is expected to retain a better-than-average resale value over a five year period; however, it trails behind the Subaru Outback, Audi A6 Avant and Land Rover LR2.

Notable Equipment

Every 2008 Volvo XC70 features a 3.2-liter engine, six-speed automatic transmission and Instant Traction all-wheel drive. Other notable standard features include Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Hill Descent Control (keeps the vehicle at approximately six miles per hour when descending steep grades), front and rear skid plates, heated side mirrors, dual-zone electronic climate control, eight-way power driver's seat with memory and lumbar support, 16-inch alloy wheels and a 160-watt AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and auxiliary input. Standard safety features include front, front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS).

Notable Options

Stowing groceries has never been easier thanks to the power tailgate, which opens and closes via a push-button key fob. Volvo's Adaptive Cruise Control uses radar to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Other options of note include heated leather seats, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), remote engine start, rear seat child boosters, rain-sensing wipers, eight-way power passenger's seat, Bi-Xenon headlights with washers, navigation, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth hands-free communication, dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system, power glass sunroof, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a Dynaudio Premium Sound system which includes a 650-watt amplifier, six-disc CD changer, Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound and 12 speakers.

Favorite Features

Hill Descent Control

With the push of a button, the XC70's Hill Descent Control manages the steepest descents, holding the car to a near crawl without the need for driver intervention.}

Power Tailgate

Anyone caught in the rain with two arms full of groceries will appreciate this feature. The power tailgate can be activated via a button on the remote key fob.

Under the Hood

Volvo's 3.2-liter in-line six is a strong engine, but delivers only acceptable performance in the 4,000-plus pound XC70. Off-the-line acceleration is brisk, but passing power could be better. On the flip side, fuel economy is good for this class and engine noise and vibration are barely detectable from inside the car.

3.2-liter in-line six

235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm

236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22

Editors' Notes

Volvo's XC70 wagon, formerly known as the Cross Country, occupies a big place in a very small field. Rugged wagons capable of off-road ventures are few and far between, and with the Audi A6 entrant long gone, Subaru's Outback becomes the closest rival. Good as it is, the Outback can't match the Volvo's luxurious premium-brand panache, nor can it equal the XC70's long list of standard and optional features. If a crossover SUV is more car than you care for, and you don't require three-row seating, the all-new XC70's artful blend of beauty and brawn (not to mention safety) make it ideal for the active family's lifestyle.

Road Test Video Reviews

2008 Volvo XC70 Owner Reviews

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Comfortable lumbar support, great safety features, and reliability

2008 Volvo XC70 4dr Wgn w/Snrf

No mechanical problems with my Volvo, even though it is 11 years old. My car is very reliable. It is easy to drive and park. I like the features of level fold-down back seats, and convenience of folding down one back seat, and can still use the other side for seating. The leather seats are very comfortable, with good lumbar support, and built-in seat heater. The seats and mirrors have easy-to-adjust controls that can be adjusted for each driver, and saved with just a push of a button. The sunroof gives a nice open feel when driving in the car, instead of a closed-in feel like many cars. My car has an optional fold-down cargo bars that separate the back cargo area from the seats. This is perfect for times I transport my dog. If I have to stop suddenly, the barrier stops my dog from flying through the car, and protects him. I love my Volvo!

- Ruth R

Volvos are great looking and long lasting vehicles

2008 Volvo XC70 4dr Wgn w/Snrf

I love how the car drives and the gas mileage. The look of the car is great looks like a luxury car both inside and out. Since I own a 2008 and bought it used, there have been a few problems with the vehicle. A few loose wires, goes through oil a little faster than I'd like, and I had a problem with the blower. So the biggest issue with a Volvo in general is the cost to fix it when Something goes wrong. In this case the blower is underneath the dashboard so you have to pay for all of the labor to get underneath the dashboard. Other than that it's a great car!

- Stephanie S

2008 Volvo Cross country 70

2008 Volvo XC70 4dr Wgn

Smooth drive, great gas mileage, great control while steering the wheel. What is not great is the phone charging battery goes out quite a number of times and must be brought in for repair. The car does not have Bluetooth in it's system but it is an older model which is most likely why

- Gabriela G

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