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By Rick Popely
December 1, 1999
Vehicle Overview The S70 is the mid-priced sedan in Volvo's lineup, fitting between the entry-level S40 and top-shelf S80. A station wagon version is available as the V70. Volvo previously has offered all-wheel drive on the V70 wagon, and this year it is also available on the S70 sedan. The AWD system is permanently engaged. All other sedan models have front-wheel drive.
Interior Though the S70 is listed under small cars because its wheelbase is less than 105 inches (104.9 to be exact), the EPA calls it a midsize car based on interior volume of 111.5 cubic feet. There is ample room for four adults, but the interior isn't wide enough for three people without squeezing everyone. Trunk capacity is 15 cubic feet, and folding the rear seat increases capacity to 33 cubic feet.
Exterior Volvo has given some of its newer models, such as the S80 sedan and C70 coupe and convertible more flair and rounded lines, but the S70 maintains the company's traditional boxy look. The S70 splits the difference between the S40 and S80 not only in price, but also in size. At 186 inches overall, the S70 is 10 inches longer than the S40 and 4 inches shorter than the S80.
Under the Hood The base S70 uses a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine with new variable valve timing that boosts horsepower from 163 to 168. It is available with a five-speed manual or new five-speed automatic. The GLT and AWD models get what Volvo calls a "light-pressure" turbocharged version of this engine with 190 horsepower. The high-performance T5 model is the hot rod of the group with a 236-horsepower turbocharged version.
Safety Standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, anti-lock brakes and Volvo's Whiplash Protection System, which moves the front seats rearward in a collision. The federally required front air bags deploy at two levels, with lower force used in low-speed collisions.