If variety is the spice of life, the last month has been at least a vindaloo for the Volvo, if not a phall.
It’s been all over the country and has even squeezed in a whistle-stop tour to France, during which it crammed 1,100 miles into three days. One of the trips was to the Peak District, where in very snowy conditions I tried out the new V70 D4, with its all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox. At a stroke, this new mechanical package addresses many of the dynamic aspects that make the current V70 feel old-fashioned compared with newer rivals. You can read more about this in Andy Goodwin’s separate report on the S60 model in last month’s issue, but suffice to say that those two extra gear ratios make more of a difference than you might expect.
At the time of writing, the Volvo’s engine has barely cooled from a drive to Paris, to pay a quick visit to the Retromobile classic car show. Part of a bigger trip with friends and industry colleagues, the V70 acted as support car for a series of photoshoots – and it went down a storm. The Volvo accompanied a Citroën CX and Alpine A610 to France’s capital, packing in over 500 miles on the first day. When the Alpine conked out in the centre of Paris at midnight, in the pouring rain, we were glad we had the V70’s spacious cabin and heated seats to keep us warm for the three-hour wait for the local depannage to turn up.
The next day, while the Alpine was fixed, the Volvo was used as shuttle car for scooting around Paris between various destinations, its bulk and long wheelbase smothering the cobblestones that typify Parisian streets. Taking in the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and endless miles of Parisian roads, the automatic gearbox made piloting the V70 a breeze; it was only when trying to find a parking spot that the Volvo’s length became an issue.
On the third and final day, with the Alpine’s split fuel line fixed, we whizzed up to the battlefields of the Somme for more pictures; once again the V70 provided an ideal shelter from the elements, with no let-up in the rain that day. While the assembled team sat in the Volvo munching sandwiches and listening to the iPod, I toiled away getting pictures, aware of Longueval’s place in history – something that’ll be remembered that much more in this centenary year.
It was on this hideously wet day that an issue cropped up with the Volvo’s adaptive cruise control. Earlier in the month, a warning had flashed up on the dash to say the system’s radar was blocked, and on this day it flashed up twice more. Each time it’s happened it’s been in very heavy rain, but once the rain has subsided, the system has worked fine. Which is just as well, because at the time of writing, the Volvo is about to embark on the annual family skiing trip. With 1,500 miles of motorway driving to despatch, the Volvo should be in its element.
|Whats Hot:||The cream leather makes the cabin feel light and airy, especially at night with the interior lights on.|
|Whats Not:||That cream leather also gets dirty very easily, and after 10,000 miles, the driverís seat is looking grubby.|
|Date arrived:||17th October 2013|
|Mileage to date:||10,295 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||57.6mpg (official combined)
37.2mpg (on test)