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By Jim Flammang
April 7, 2004
Vehicle Overview Volvo’s curvaceous front-wheel-drive coupe and convertible haven’t been stellar performers in the sales race, even though each attracted a modest group of fans. The coupe was dropped in 2003, leaving only a soft-top in the C70 lineup.
The C70 is facing its final year on the U.S. market, and the car’s base price has been cut substantially. Two new interiors are available for 2004: Volcano Red leather with aluminum dashboard inlays and Linen White with Birchwood inlays.
The Swedish-built C70 was Volvo’s first move away from its traditionally boxy vehicles. Two inline-five-cylinder engines remain available: a 2.4-liter version with a light-pressure turbocharger and a more potent 2.3-liter with a high-pressure turbocharger.
Volvo’s electronic stability system, called Stability and Traction Control, became standard on all C70 models after the start of the 2002 model year. Volvo might introduce a retractable-hardtop model, possibly with available all-wheel drive, as a replacement for the C70, but no announcements have been made.
Exterior Smooth, curvaceous lines characterize the two-door C70. Except for a traditional, vertical Volvo grille, the C70 has few design features that distinguish it from other brands.
Last year’s exterior freshening included a new, black, eggcrate-style grille and jeweled headlights and taillights. The C70 has standard 17-spoke 16-inch wheels, but 17-inchers are offered as an option.
The convertible’s power-operated top contains a glass rear window with a defogger. At 185.7 inches long overall and 56.3 inches high, the C70 is 3.1 inches longer and 2 inches taller than the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class convertible.
Interior Only four occupants fit inside the C70. It beats a number of other two-door models in terms of interior space, but the rear seating positions may be cramped for adults. A powered front-passenger seat slides forward slowly to help ease rear access, but getting in and out of the backseat can be a battle. Cargo capacity totals 8.1 cubic feet.
Under the Hood Two inline-five-cylinder engines are available. Operating with a light-pressure turbocharger, the 2.4-liter engine produces 197 horsepower. For extra performance, a 242-hp 2.3-liter with a high-pressure turbocharger is available. The light-pressure engine teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission, while the high-pressure version gets either the automatic or a five-speed-manual gearbox.
Safety Standard equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags, daytime running lights, all-disc antilock brakes and Volvo’s Whiplash Protection Seating System (WHIPS), which allows the front seatbacks to move rearward in a rear-end collision. The side-impact airbags are designed to protect the occupant’s chest, head and upper body. Volvo’s Stability and Traction Control system is standard. A rollover protection system uses pop-up steel bars.
Driving Impressions After a drive in the C70 convertible, one wonders why these stunningly shaped, Swedish-made two-doors failed to achieve sales success. High prices are definitely part of the reason, but performance and comfort abound in these modern-day Volvos.
Like other Volvos, the C70 exhibits a heavy feel overall. Steering demands some effort, but it pays off in solid road behavior and superior highway handling. On city streets, however, the ride can get rough. Assembly quality is solid and tight, and the C70 makes an appealing choice for a long trip.
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