Behind the wheel

Behind the wheel  - 2012 Volvo XC70 Review - Reviews - Volvo XC70

Driving the XC70's turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 took some getting used to. I appreciated the surprisingly zippy kick-in-the-pants feel, as opposed to the sluggishly heavy acceleration I anticipated in such a large wagon. However, it was hard to get the feel for accelerating smoothly during stop-and-go driving without throwing my passengers' heads back into their seats. During one particularly long errand session, my 11-year-old daughter started complaining of some motion sickness.

The braking is soft in comparison, and switching between gently accelerating and more forcefully braking was a challenge the entire week I drove the Volvo.

I've heard others describe the XC70's cornering as topsy turvy and more consistent with an SUV, but this must be highly subjective. To me, the XC70 felt solid and well-connected to the road in corners, while soft enough to float over rough pavement without discomfort.

The EPA estimates the XC70 T6 AWD's mileage at 17/23 mpg city/highway. The less-powerful 3.2 model with front-wheel drive is more efficient, at 19/25 mpg. If you choose this wagon rather than a similarly utilitarian SUV, it shouldn't be for gas-saving purposes. Volvo recommends premium fuel to optimize the XC70's performance.

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