In these days of big and mid-sized SUVs that seem to populate every road and vehicle segment, the 2013 Volvo XC70 is something of a rarity. It's an easy-to-drive station wagon that has comfortable seating for five and cargo space galore, plus generous ground clearance and available all-wheel drive. A premium feel and advanced safety features come standard.
You'll Like The 2013 Volvo XC70 If...
If you desire the cargo space to haul the toys of your active lifestyle and the ability to travel almost any road with them, but don't want a big and bulky SUV, the XC70 is a premium alternative. That it boasts such high-tech safety features is a bonus.
You May Not Like The 2013 Volvo XC70 If...
If you need to carry more than five passengers or plan to do serious off-roading, a bigger, more conventional SUV would be a better choice. Or if the XC70's mid-$30,000 price tag seems high, a Subaru Outback does pretty well for a third less.
For 2013, the Volvo XC70 gets some minor equipment upgrades. Rain-sensing wipers, headlight washers and Tunnel-Sensing headlights are added across the line. A Sport mode is added to the T6's automatic transmission and depending on packages, keyless entry and starting, xenon headlights and Road Sign Information are now available.
The 2013 Volvo XC70, especially in its higher trim levels, can pass as a luxury car with its plush leather and tasteful accents in wood and metal. Buttons and gauges are sleek and mostly easy to identify and use. The seating position is good (some drivers would like a higher center armrest on long drives) and outward visibility is excellent. Rear-seat room is spacious and 2-stage child booster seats are available. Cargo space is plentiful, with over 33 cubic feet with the rear seats up – with the seats folded flat that space opens up to create what looks like a bed.
If a station wagon can look rugged, this one does. With 8.3 inches of ground clearance and a blocky design softened by gentle arcs and bulges, the 2013 XC70 looks like one stylish but bulked-up carry-all. Still, it's a station wagon and won't convince anyone otherwise. With its rectangular shape and three rows of side windows, the XC70 can remind you of Volvos past, as opposed to newer and more rounded models like the chic XC60 SUV.
In standard form, with the 240-horsepower 3.2-liter base engine, the Volvo XC70 has acceptable acceleration, but for a much more invigorating experience and some reserve power for passing, move up to the 300-horsepower turbocharged engine in the T6. The added power helps make the XC70 a much more engaging car, especially for those who enjoy the dynamic aspects of driving. The T6 XC70 runs from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. That said, you'll need to rein in the enthusiasm in turns – with its increased ride height and softer suspension, this car is not made to claw around curves at great velocity. On the highway, the XC70 is comfortable and quiet. The steering-wheel-mounted audio controls are easy to use, as are the climate controls on the dash with the vent-direction buttons representing a human figure. Hill Descent Control, standard on all-wheel-drive models, adds confidence on slippery slopes.
The 2013 Volvo XC70's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $34,345 for a front-drive Volvo XC70 3.2. Choosing all-wheel drive adds $2,000. A T6 version with the turbocharged 6-cylinder engine and standard AWD starts at $40,995. Adding the Polestar Performance upgrade for even more power is about $1,500. A top-line XC70 loaded with options can easily surpass $55,000. The less-expensive Subaru Outback is nearly as capable but not as luxurious. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area paid for the XC70. Over a 5-year period we expect the XC70's retained resale value to be about average for the segment.
A base 2013 Volvo XC70 3.2 features a 240-horsepower 6-cylinder engine, 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, front-wheel drive and Volvo's City Safety low-speed accident-prevention system. Also standard are rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, front and rear skid plates, an 8-way power driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a locking cargo-floor compartment, a 160-watt audio system with AM/FM/HD radio, Bluetooth hands-free communication, and cruise control. The XC70 T6 adds a turbocharged engine, dual chrome exhaust tips, leather seating, a power moonroof and power passenger seat. All XC70s feature Volvo's 5-year/50,000-mile warranty with five years of complimentary scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance.
Safety features figure high on any Volvo's equipment list, including the XC70's. Along with the standard City Safety automatic-braking system, the wagon can be outfitted with Volvo's Road Sign Information system, a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control, a pedestrian-detection system with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, and collision warning with fully automatic braking. Also available are xenon headlights, dual two-stage child booster seats, heated front and rear seats, an interior air quality system, navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system with two screens, a rear-view park assist camera, and a 12-speaker, 650-watt premium sound system with rear headphone jacks and audio controls.
Here's an option you'll appreciate every time you find yourself with an armful. The touch of a button raises or lowers the tailgate, leaving your hands free for other tasks.
One of the XC70's best attributes is its generous amount of space. With the rear seats folded flat, it boasts a vast 72.1 cubic feet of room plus hidden storage underneath. In a pinch, you could sleep in the thing.
Under the Hood
The standard engine for the 2013 Volvo XC70 is a 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder with 240 horsepower. In this over-2-ton vehicle, the engine delivers acceptable performance, but only just. Passing power, especially, could be stronger. A much better choice, if the budget allows, is the T6 model's potent 300-horsepower turbocharged powerplant. And for even more power, the dealer-installed Polestar Performance package retunes the turbo engine for 325 horsepower without affecting the fuel economy or warranty. Both the naturally aspirated and turbo engines can run on regular unleaded fuel. A 6-speed manually shiftable automatic transmission is used on all XC70s. This transmission offers a selectable Sport mode on the higher-performance T6. The base 3.2 comes with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive. The T6 is all-wheel-drive only.
240 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
Note: The dealer-installed Polestar Performance Package increases the XC70 engine output to 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy figures are not affected.
In these days of big and mid-sized SUVs that seem to populate every road and vehicle segment, the 2013 Volvo XC70 is something of a rarity. It's an easy-to-drive station wagon that has comfortable seating for five adults and cargo space galore, plus generous ground clearance and available all-wheel drive (AWD) that enable it to tackle just about any surface nearly as well as the more cumbersome truck-like vehicles. The XC70's main competitors in this niche are probably the Subaru Outback and Honda Crosstour, and while both of those have lower starting prices, they don't come close to the premium feel and advanced safety features that are standard on the Volvo.