High-riding Volvo not to all tastes
Understandably, many pre-owned buyers who have come across a Volvo XC 70 on a dealer floor will have likely given it a passing glance, and moved on to something else.
It gives people uncomfortable thoughts. It's a bit of a wonder - standing tall, yet visibly a home-based station-wagon.
I don't know about the rest of the world, but here at home, upon seeing a vehicle perched high off the ground, we immediately have imaginations of an off-roader.
This is probably why so many shy away from this car. Volvo is generally regarded as premium material by the larger South African community, and the idea of pointing its balmy nose at some shrubbery is tantamount to sacrilege.
Yet, this is exactly what Volvo had in mind for its XC 70; an estate car that can reach where the average luxury sedan wouldn't, which is why it's AWD (all wheel drive). This type of car would get a hero's welcome in snow-bound countries, and perhaps in Lesotho. I have personally driven an XC 70 in an area best described as unsuitable for a station-wagon. Although this exercise went off without incident, I'd say it scored 80% because at times, its extended ride height was not nearly enough to scale every obstacle, resulting in many an uncomfortable underbelly knock. But taken from a slightly skewed angle, what better way is there for an Eskom field technical manager to spring a surprise check on his charges at the wheel of a luxury estate that can carry a massive tool box?
Volvo designed this car to be as practical as possible.
The rear storage area is maximised to load, easily and fully.
There is no need to harp on about the brand's lavishness, which includes seats constructed with help from the world's best chiropractors.
If however you are just a regular guy with a nuclear family and all you require is a car that will take you and the spawns to school, work and back, while also acting as a suitable holiday mule, the XC 70 may be too much of a specialist for this task.
For you there is the V70; basically the same car but with fully painted bumpers. It also sits closer to earth with suspension designed solely to protect your vertebrae from this country's unmerciful speed-humps and badly surfaced roads. It gets all the amenities found in the Jurassic version. In Europe they have access to a wide range of power sources but here at home you will find units also powered by a bass-rich 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine and mated to Volvo's six-speed automatic gearbox. This is not a train smash, as South Africans prefer their whale-sized cars with big engines beating in front, and an automatic gearbox.
But beware of fuel guzzling antics. If you want a smaller engine, there are also 2.4-litre and D5 derivatives. Pricing begins at about R270000, to about R400000.