I’ve had a busy car ownership summer. It all started with a decision to invest some money into my home by renovating the kitchen and one toilet. This meant selling our 1yr old Qashqai- which we both loved to free up some capital. A truly great value and stylish family car, but occasionally it felt a little small for my family (my son was born last June). I developed a strange desire for total practicality and above all SPACE in my car choice. I looked for a Volvo estate, and quickly found a 2000 model V70. This was the first year of the curvaceous era of Volvo design- under the guidance of Peter Horbury, another legendary Coventry graduate. His reinvention of the Swedish brand was sublime and brilliant in surface execution. Curves and shapes inspired by steam treated curved wooden furniture (a Swedish speciality) can be seen for example in the b-pillar and catwalk (or shoulder) profile.
My V70 was a 2.4 light pressure turbo, automatic. It was huge- just enormous inside and out and it quite literally drove like a bus. It was very smooth, fast and quiet, but you may be wondering why I’m using past tense? Well the V70 has gone. It lasted 3 months for one simple reason- fuel economy. 10.8l/100km average (26mpg UK, 21mpg US!) was totally unacceptable for a family car, so after looking into a few options I went to my Volvo dealer and swapped to my first ever diesel car- a smaller (much smaller inside) V50. Immediately I’m happy to see incredible range and mileage explained by the trip computer. So far my first fill up claims 1090km range on one tank of fuel, and 5.6l/100km (50mpg UK and 42mpg US) average! Diesel fuel is also cheaper than petrol here in Finland so the savings are hopefully going to be massive! The design is rather less wonderful let’s say- it’s slick, and has that non-sporty but quality feel of a good Volvo, but I miss the extra smooth radiuses and more elaborate shaping of the lower surfaces on the V70… anyway, here’s a pic.