Volvo is one to check out

LIKE so many I have to put my hand up and admit that I am a fan of the Volvo Estate.

LIKE so many I have to put my hand up and admit that I am a fan of the Volvo Estate.

For so many years this vehicle in its many guises has become a firm favourite with families and business users alike.

With the march of time and technology the evolution has been impressive. Today the modern Volvo Estate in a thoroughly desirable set of wheels.

So when I received news that I would have one for a week for my latest Test Drive it did put a smile on my face. The latest to come my way the V70 DRIVe.

Right at the heart of this vehicle is a 1.6 litre diesel engine, which is currently available in a number of Volvo models.

In its latest form power output is up from 109 to 115bhp with a maximum torque of 270Nm.

Allied to a slick six speed transmission with the now in fashion stop/start technology the emission figure is just 119g/km. Fuel economy is good, Volvo state 62.8mpg on the combined fuel cycle.

My average figure was 42.3mpg and to be fair the bulk of my driving during the test period consisted of short runs with the exception of a drive to Newcastle and to a favourite coffee shop.

The DRIVe package features Brake Energy Regeneration, low rolling resistance tyres and precise fuel management, all of which help to achieve good fuel economy and CO2 figures.

With the latest user-friendly Volvo Sensus infotainment system and enhanced technology driving is even safer and more comfortable for all onboard.

With Sensus, all information is presented on a five-inch or seven-inch colour screen in the upper part of the centre stack.

The screen is positioned high up to make it easy for the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road without being distracted.

All the functions can be controlled via buttons built into the steering wheel or via touch buttons located just below the colour screen.

Pressing once on the My Car button in the centre stack offers access to a range of settings, such as for City Safety, Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection, Driver Alert System, Active Cruise Control, lighting, door mirrors, climate unit, central locking and audio system.

With the multimedia audio system, Sensus comes upgraded with the larger seven-inch screen that also displays information and images from the navigation system, phone, reversing camera, panorama camera, DVD player, digital TV and so on.

The Bluetooth connection has been upgraded to allow not only hands-free phone conversations but also music streaming from a preferred Bluetooth enabled portable music player.

Integrated navigation with voice commands is available as an option as well as an entertainment system for rear-seat passengers.

This package includes a DVD player, two eight-inch screens integrated into the front seat headrests, wireless headphones and remote control.

City Safety can lessen the severity of or entirely avoid low-speed rear-end collisions at speeds of up to 30km/h.

It keeps watch on vehicles in front with the help of a laser sensor built into the windscreen at the height of the rear-view mirror.

The car automatically brakes if the driver does not respond in time when the car in front slows down or stops or if the driver is driving too fast towards a stationary object.

If the relative speed difference between the two vehicles is less than 15 km/h, the collision can be entirely avoided.

If the speed difference is between 15-30 km/h, the speed of impact is reduced to minimise the effects of the collision.

Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake is a support function designed to help the driver detect dangerous situations and it can actively help avoid the nightmare scenario of hitting a pedestrian.

Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake uses radar and a camera to monitor pedestrians in front of the car.

The collision warning system has also been programmed to respond to vehicles in front that are at a standstill or are moving in the same direction.

In certain situations, a collision can be avoided if the speed difference between the two vehicles is less than 35 km/h.

All of this technology is housed in a smart body, a vehicle that is also very practical and highly desirable.