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Volvo's V70 offers space and safety -- in addition to speed in T5 guise.
Superb comfort, plenty of safety equipment, solid construction, amazing braking ability.
Gets expensive when you start adding options, cheap interior materials, odd control placement.
Available V70 Wagon Models
Use the Edmunds Pricing System to help you get the best deal:
Like the rest of its platform mates (S60 and S80), the V70 gets emergency BrakeAssist, enhanced traction control performance and improved throttle management, resulting in quicker response in everyday driving situations. In addition, a V70 AWD model will be offered -- minus the armor and raised suspension of Volvo's Cross Country. Standard content has been increased, as well: All models get a cargo security cover; the 2.4T gets six-spoke alloy wheels and a leather gearshift knob; and the T5 gets Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), special vinyl/cloth upholstery, leather wrappings on the steering wheel, hand brake and shift knob and aluminum mesh accents. Other new features include a DVD-based navigation system, xenon headlamps and an upgraded premium audio system. Cosmos Blue is now an exterior color choice. Finally, Volvo has plans to offer a limited number of special-edition V70s to commemorate the Volvo Ocean Race that begins in Fall 2001; these cars will come with leather upholstery, Ocean Blue exterior paint, silver body moldings, identifying badges and unique floor mats.
Ask your neighbor to name a sensible family wagon with a reputation for safety, and most likely he or she will name Volvo. But when the second-generation V70 wagon arrived in 2001, Volvo was hoping to stir your emotions, as well.
In an effort to distance it from the boxy Volvos of the last decade, the V70 carries itself more aggressively, borrowing curves and character lines from its platform mates, the S60 and S80 sedans. Engineered to offer more passenger room than its predecessor, today's V70 does, indeed, offer wonderfully comfortable accommodations for front passengers, though its shorter length makes legroom tight for rear passengers. Fold the rear seats down, and there is 71.4 cubic feet of cargo space at your disposal -- this is slightly more capacity than a Subaru Outback provides. As an added bonus, the Volvo's front-passenger seat folds flat, as well. If you have more bodies than cargo, you can purchase the optional rear-facing third-row bench, which seats two children (preferably diminutive ones).
The V70 comes in four trim levels. The base 2.4 wagon comes with a 2.4-liter inline five that makes 168 horsepower. Midlevel 2.4T wagons get a turbocharged version of that engine that develops 197 horsepower. And the upscale T5 has a 2.3-liter inline five equipped with a high-pressure turbocharger; output on this model reaches 247 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. We expect that the 2.4T powerplant will satisfy most buyers, and a long options list ensures that you won't miss out on any of the T5's additional features. Both the 2.4 and the T5 are available with either a manual or automatic transmission, while the 2.4T only comes with an automatic. Finally, the V70 AWD uses the 2.4T model's powertrain and comes with the Cross Country's viscous-coupling AWD system. Under normal traction conditions, this system directs most of the engine's power to the front wheels; when slippage is detected, nearly all power can be redirected to the rear. Volvo's TRACS system enhances the package by permitting side-to-side transfers of torque when needed.
All V70s have a MacPherson-strut front suspension and multilink rear suspension to give the wagon a level of performance and confidence not normally associated with, well, a wagon. On twisty roads, the V70 feels planted and predictable on fast sweepers and quick transitions. And the ride is smooth on all but the harshest pavement. The steering isn't overly communicative, but its quick ratio makes the V70 easy to maneuver. For added peace of mind, Volvo's STC traction control system is optional for 2.4 and 2.4T wagons. Also optional for the 2.4T and standard on the T5 is the more advanced Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system, which provides both traction and stability control. Later this model year, the V70 AWD model is expected to receive an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system similar to what is offered on the S60 AWD sedan -- this more advanced unit would be compatible with DSTC.The V70 boasts a long list of safety and convenience features perfect for hauling the brood and associated gear. Safety features include side airbags for front passengers, head curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, whiplash-reducing front headrests and ISO-FIX child-seat attachment points. Available options include leather upholstery, heated seats, a DVD-based navigation system, an Audio Max premium sound system, 17-inch wheels, a foldable rear table and a shopping-bag holder for the cargo area. The navigation system's 6.5-inch screen is normally hidden inside the dashboard, and rises upward when the driver hits a button on the back of the steering wheel. This feature makes it easier to look at the screen without taking your eyes off the road.
The V70 wagon is an impressive vehicle, and it offers an excellent combination of utility, performance, safety and luxury content. Pricing starts around 30 grand, which should help Volvo maintain its lead in the luxury wagon segment. A fully loaded T5 can get expensive, however, so it's best to limit the optional equipment, if you are on a budget.
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