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A Grand Monday: Volvo V70

Published 18 October 2016

The first generation Volvo V70 is a car that’s rapidly developing a bit of a cult following – and there’s a very good reason for that.

Based on the 850, which it replaced, the V70 was the last of the traditional boxy Volvo designs before the scallop-sided new wave of Volvo design kicked in with the S80 in 1998, and its traditional looks appeal to those who don’t view anything since as a ‘proper’ Volvo.

The Mk 1 V70, though, is very much that. A Volvo of the old school. Square, spacious and extremely sturdy – a proper Volvo estate, yet one that, thanks to a finely tuned chassis (it was developed in conjunction with Tom Walkinshaw Racing - TWR), has a level of agility and dynamic performance that no previous Volvo could offer. The interior, too, was a huge step forwards in terms of modernity, with a one-piece moulded dashboard and soft-touch cabin materials.

A well-specced V70 was a fine car – hugely capable as both a long distance cruiser and a massively useful estate. In a sense, that’s reflected in the values, for while there are still many examples knocking around in banger territory, Volvo specialists are getting upwards of £3000 for the best examples, and they’re in demand.

Volvo V70 (2)

All of which makes this very early 1997 Volvo V70 look quite attractive at a quid under £1,000, or even less if the buyer will take a close offer. We think £900 will buy it, or you could even be cheeky and try £850.

For that, you’ll get a very well specced and rare AWD variant, although the owner does point out that it’s currently minus a propshaft, so is currently running front-wheel-drive only. It’ll be fine like that, but if you can find a rear prop, the passive all-wheel-drive system adds more grip and handling balance.

The car has covered a smidgen over 130,000 miles, which is nothing for Volvo’s turbocharged ‘T5’ engine – remember, these were beloved of police forces when new for being both rapid and indestructible.  It comes with a chunk of history and a really smart interior, including Volvo’s extremely clever fold-down booster seat in the back, making this a perfect family classic.

The buyer is keen to point out there are a few marks and dents, but these certainly aren’t obvious, and for a car that’s rapidly approaching its 20th birthday it looks to be in fine fettle. In this spec and trim, a very rare car that will only go up in value if you maintain and look after it, and an on-the-cusp classic that’s perfect for cheap everyday motoring.


AlastairW    on 18 October 2016

It's probably simplest to keep it fwd. The 4wd V70s are very fussy about the tyres being the same. I'd love something like this though.

Paul Kiddle    on 18 October 2016

I own a v70 on a v reg 235k on the clock and still turning out the bhp and what a brilliant car I only paid £150 will comfortable very smooth and engine running very sweet couldn't for a better car

rob brown    on 27 October 2016

Just clocked 240k on my year 2000 Tdi which regularly gives me 60mpg average and lives on £30 oil changes every 10k miles. Awesome car all round.

garry bolton    on 18 October 2017

I run a 99 V70 diesel
Without doubt the best car I have ever owned bullet proof reliability and build, 200k and still pulls like the flying Scotsman. Volvo their boxy but their good (Dudley Moore)

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