What's New for 2006
For 2006, the sporty T5 model has been discontinued and with it goes its entertaining turbocharged engine. New this year are standard 16-inch wheels on the 2.4 (up from 15s) and a new wheel design for the 2.5T's 16-inch wheels. The 2.4's convenience package adds power child locks, a sunglasses holder and park assist.
Ah, yes, the Volvo station wagon. Brings to mind PTA meetings and trips to the vet in the straight-edge-designed refrigerators of yore, doesn't it? In an effort to distance it from the boxy Volvo cars of the last couple decades, the midsize Volvo V70 carries itself more aggressively, borrowing curves and character lines from its platform mates, the S60 and S80 sedans.
Volvo claims there were four defining goals for this redesign: the V70 was to be sporty but comfortable, assertive yet elegant, muscular and fuel-efficient and, above all, "secure as a strongbox." Based on the stout S80 large-car platform, the Volvo V70 looks quite similar to its sedan progenitor from the A-pillars forward, but the two share no exterior panels. The 2006 Volvo V70 wagon has long been a solid choice in family transportation, as it offers a satisfying combination of interior space, safety features and luxury content. Plus, pricing starts around $30 grand, which makes the V70 the most affordable midsize luxury wagon on the market.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Volvo V70 wagon comes in two trim levels -- 2.4 and 2.5T. The 2.4 comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone manual climate control, a trip computer, a CD player, power-fold rear headrests, one-touch front windows and a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. In addition, the 2.5T gets a power driver seat with memory, automatic climate control and faux wood interior accents. Options include an excellent 13-speaker Dolby sound system with a four-disc CD changer, a DVD-based navigation system, 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, real wood accents, heated seats, Volvo's On Call telematics, a sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, satellite radio and an interior air quality system. An optional rear-facing third-row seat bumps maximum passenger capacity from five to seven.
Powertrains and Performance
The Volvo V70 2.4 comes with a 2.4-liter, five-cylinder engine that produces 168 horsepower (165 in California where it's SULEV-certified). The 2.5T is turbocharged and makes a solid 208 hp. The 2.4 can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.5T is available only with the automatic. Automanual functionality is included on the 2.5T. All V70s are front-wheel drive.
Every V70 comes with side airbags for front occupants, head curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, pre-tensioning seatbelts in all five positions, anti-submarine seats and whiplash-reducing front head restraints. Stability control is optional. In government crash tests, the Volvo V70 earned a perfect five stars for its frontal- and side-impact protection. Volvo's S60 sedan earned the top rating of "Good" in IIHS frontal-offset testing, and the V70 should offer similar crashworthiness.
Interior Design and Special Features
The V70's interior is similar in design to that of the S60 sedan. The controls are nicely weighted, although the pictograms depicting the various functions can be difficult to understand. The Volvo V70 offers wonderfully comfortable accommodations for front passengers, though legroom is tight for rear passengers. Fold the rear seats down, and there are 71.4 cubic feet of cargo space at your disposal. 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.
Neither engine available on the 2006 Volvo V70 is very strong for this price range. The 2.4 model tends to feel underpowered, so the reasonably quick 2.5T model is definitely the way to go. On twisty roads, the V70 feels planted and predictable, though if you're looking for true performance, the Subaru Legacy GT, Dodge Magnum and Volvo's high-performance V70 R are all better bets. Ride quality is generally smooth, though it can be a tad harsh over rough pavement.