Monday Motoring Classic: Volvo V70

You don't need us to tell you that Volvo has a long history of producing brilliant estate cars, but its modern products are a million miles from the tank-like wagons of the 1970s and 1980s.

We reckon the V70, a significantly-facelifted version of the 850, represents a nice sweet spot between traditional Volvo design, modern running gear And value.

Launched in 1996, the Volvo V70 is a large estate even by today's standards, although it's worth noting that the boot space isn't as massive as you might think. But still likely enough for most occasions.

Like the Volvo 850 the V70 was front-wheel-drive, although all-wheel-drive versions were available. More importantly the engine range was made up entirely of five cylinder units, which remains a rarity.

The basic 2.0-litre 10v is hardly brisk, but the 2.5-litre was available in 10v and 20v versions with anything up to 170PS, so you had some useful poke to go with the sweet five-pot sound.

You could even go full-house with the T5 or R versions, which at the end of the line dished out 260PS. No wonder the Old Bill liked them.

Inside the V70 offered the kind of cabin you'd expect: sturdy, sensible, utterly logical and easy to use. The driving experience was solid rather than spectacular, but a sorted example will still be an enjoyable steer.

There are some points to look at, as you'd expect of any car approaching 30 years old.

Check the front suspension and driveshafts for wear, particularly with the more powerful engines. Front tyre wear can be an issue too.

Air conditioning units can fail and are expensive to replace, while timing belts on 2.5-litre engines can fail, so change early to be on the safe side.

On to the good news: there's plenty of V70s around, with a choice of engines and they start well below the price of a decent holiday.

The first one out of the hat was a 1998 2.5T SE with 150,000 miles and scruffy bodywork, but £1500 for a solid car with a great engine option is very tempting.

We found another 2.5 turbo with similar mileage but one owner, full history and in remarkably fresh condition for £3000 that you wouldn't even need to polish it was that good.

There was even a 1997 2.4 SE with just 39,000 miles, but at £6450 it was a little out of our budget. If you're looking for a lifer though it would sail past 200,000 miles with the right care.

Inevitably the R models attract bigger money - the cheapest we could find was £7000 and thanks to a bit of a cult following many of them are modified.

Nice as they are, we'd be happier with one of the cooking versions that you can sensibly use on a regular basis and still make fast-lane motorway morons glance nervously over their shoulders. Find a classic Volvo for sale.

Ask HJ

How much is a Volkswagen Lupo worth?

How much I should list my VW Lupo 1.4S for? Mileage is 75,000 and it has paint peeling on bonnet and roof.
Looking at other examples for sale we would suggest around £2000 would be the right area if you are selling privately.
Answered by David Ross
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