Volvo V70 - An Economy Drive
I've set myself a sort-of driving challenge! I'm about to go and do a bit of visiting in another town and am taking a big car, in fact a VERY big car, with me.
It's one of those lovely Volvo V70s, which let's face it you could almost fit a house into. But, my plan is to see just how far this car can go on one tank of petrol.
I think it'll be interesting, because lots of families think that once they have their second or third child, they have to budget more for the cost of fuel in a larger car. Let's see, shall we!
Ok, itís day 1 and itís early morning, just before sunrise and weíre about to set off on a trip from Cardiff in South Wales to Aberdeen in Northern Scotland, run around in that area for a couple of days and then drive back to Cardiff. The tank is full and the Trip counter has just been reset to zero.
Iím not being particularly light-footed on this exercise either, because thatís not the way people drive generally. Iím just going to drive as though it were my own car for a few days and see what results.
First stop is at Hilton Park services, just north of Birmingham, but this is literally just for a couple of minutes for a leg-stretch and a quick visit to the loo before pressing onward. The fuel gauge is still showing full, so letís forget a photo on this occasion.
Next stop is Lancaster services on the M6. Weíve now completed the Ďbusyí and boring part of the route and are just about to set off through the very scenic Eastern Lakes, up over Shap and over the Scottish border. Itís a lovely sunny morning and weíre looking forward to just enjoying the scenery as we go.
Time for another rest at Annandale Water, just north of Lockerbie. Itís clouded over now, but is still dry and bright. Itís time for a sandwich break and a quick wander around. We park the incredibly long Volvo V70 right next to a diminutive Fiat 500. Thatís about the long and short of it.
Now itís the last leg of todayís journey, as weíve decided to spend the night at Stirling before completing our journey tomorrow morning. Itís an effortless drive over the pretty and impressive Southern uplands, with their rolling hills and endless wind turbines and finally down the Clyde Valley before taking a last-minute hop up the M73 towards Stirling.
Itís a drizzly Friday morning and weíve had a bit of a lie-in compared to yesterday, so after a hearty Scottish breakfast at our hotel, we finally set off for Aberdeen. Again, thanks to some quiet roads and our Ďin-betweení timing weíre up in Aberdeen by 11.30.
Our visit involved a little bit of running around the Grampian region too. One memory was our walk along the seafront at Stonehaven, taking in some bracing North Sea air and sampling one of their local delights Ė a deep-fried Mars Bar. Interesting!
Another early start on our return journey from Aberdeen saw us clear of Dundee by 7.30 and having an early coffee somewhere south of Glasgow by 8.30. This is the point at which, after around 700 miles driving, the fuel warning light came on, although the trip computer was still showing an available range of another 90 miles.
So I popped another £40 worth of diesel in and that then got us back to Cardiff Ė Just!
What an amazing economy for a very big car! Absolutely incredible, in fact. I would have been impressed if my little old Citroen C1 had managed that sort of economy in years past, but to get that from a large, luxury family estate car is beyond belief. There was no compromise in comfort, luxury, specification or indeed anything. The Volvo D2 engine might not win any speed trials, but to be honest, who would need to anyway? It got us from one end of the country to the other and back on one and a half tanks of fuel in absolute luxury and in a way that seems to avoid any sort of driver fatigue. On the way back I was able to drive for over 10 hours and didnít feel any the worse for it at the end. There certainly arenít many cars that can let you do that!
When I first drove the V70, back in 2007, I was taken by itís unassuming comfort and luxury. This test proved once and for all that you can own and run a big family car of a far smaller budget than you ever thought possible. It has virtually everything tech-wise that I could have wished for.. Adaptive Cruise control, stop/start economy, automatic ĎPower-Shiftí gearbox, sat-nav and full iPod interface. It really made for some very pleasant motoring indeed.
Strengths:Luxurious, Quiet and restful to drive over long distances, extremely well appointed, unbelievably economical.
Weaknesses:Needs careful choice of parking spaces, some irritating and distracting dashboard alarms, collision warning lamps on dash can be very offputting.
Model Driven: V70 D2 SE Powershift
Price as driven: £31,620