Client: Business to Business
There is an air of excitement in the writing of an article, an opportunity to experience a new model, the anticipation of a new motoring experience, and of course the swapping of pleasantries at the dealership. The walk to the car builds the tension further, you’re eager to jump in and drive away. Hold on! You need the guided tour of the controls before that keenly awaited test drive. I am at Bells Motor group in Bedford and about to leave the kerb in a 2 litre Diesel V70 Volvo estate. There is realism in the process of climbing in and driving away. How would I be feeling if this were my latest purchase – the collection of my new company car perhaps?
Not your first choice for a company car? Look a little closer. The introduction of a 2 litre diesel engine turbo equipped and delivering 136PS, reduces your tax exposure and offers a Swedish alternative to the Germanic main stay within this segment of company and fleet offerings. It is often the subtle detail of a product that sells itself to you. You can’t always put your finger on it, somehow it just feels right. From opening the door to settling in behind the wheel, the V70 offers a tactile clean & crisp environment, styled and functional, the detailing feels engineered not mass produced.
The power plant offers a similar feel. Tractable power delivery with a sharp response when squeezing the accelerator pedal, use all of the available horses under the bonnet and the V70 propels you forward with a constant seamless pull of acceleration. As with most modern diesel engines turbo lag is almost imperceptible, matched to a 6 speed gearbox, the ratios complement the power delivery. Town or motorway driving, you have a gear to suit all environments. 6th speed felt a little long legged for the 2 litre engine: you may find yourself swapping gears on long uphill motorway gradients. The plus side though is reduced fuel consumption and emissions from the 6 speeds for the cost conscious fleet manager or high mileage user.
The ride and handling are worthy of mention. The steering is nicely weighted and communicates accurately with the road. It is direct and builds confidence considering the size of the vehicle. In fact so much so that I had to have a peek under the bonnet to see if Volvo had fitted electronic power steering. (Although a cost and energy saving advancement, it has the habit of making the steering vague and uncommunicative and is becoming standard fitment for a lot of manufacturers.) That’s good it is still hydraulic, well done Volvo – not all technological advancements benefit the driving experience. All importantly the ride is comfortable and controlled – a key consideration for long journeys at peak times. The isolation of the cabin removing almost all of the diesel knock and boom from our aggressive local road surfaces.
Subjectively the Volvo ticks most of the boxes on my company car shopping list. How does the V70 fare in the objective column? I would have to say pretty good. Room inside for the family and more if you use the clever 40/20/40 split rear seats – it will even take a fridge in the luggage compartment. Unrivalled crash protection. Volvo has invested heavily to ensure our safety. DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) fitted as standard, excellent fuel economy all matched to an impressive menu of options and accessories.
Could I live with the V70 day in day out for the length of a lease? Yes. Would it be on my company car radar? Yes without question. I might even ask for another road test. All that excitement for a second time, what more could I ask?