After launching its all-wheel-drive XC (cross country) model a year ago, Volvo has introduced the all-wheel-drive V70 wagon for 2002. The XC has 2 more inches of ground clearance than other wagons, and it is equipped with body trim like that on a sport utility vehicle. The V70 AWD is not intended to replace the XC, and it uses the same light-pressure turbocharged 197-horsepower engine as the new S60 AWD sedan. Its ground clearance is just a little higher than the regular V70 wagon.
A special Ocean Race Edition of the XC is being marketed for 2002, which comes with Ocean Blue paint and unique body trim. It commemorates Volvos sponsorship of the global sporting event of that name.
Redesigned for 2001, the midsize V70 is roomier inside than the previous version because its on the larger S80 platform. In addition to the XC, four versions are available: the base 2.4, the 2.4T (turbo), the new 2.4T AWD and the high-performance T5, which uses a turbocharged, 247-hp 2.3-liter engine.
Volvos Dynamic Stability Traction Control has been added to the T5 and will be available early in 2002 for 2.4T and 2.4T AWD models. Later in 2002, the XC may also get that system. The T5 also gains a standard CD player.
At the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Swedish automaker exhibited a sport wagon version of the original Performance Concept Car that was equipped with a 300-hp engine, a six-speed-manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The automaker says it offers a fascinating glimpse into Volvos design and production future.
All V70s ride a 108.5-inch wheelbase and measure 185.4 inches long overall. They stand 58.7 inches tall and are 71 inches wide. Rounded front corners resemble those of the S80 sedan, but the rear half retains the traditional straight lines and body profile of a traditional wagon. A sunroof is standard on all but the base V70 wagon.
Intended for rough trekking, the V70/XC has 8.2 inches of ground clearance thats 2 inches more than other models and about the same as many true SUVs. Large bumpers and fog lights are augmented by moldings around the wheel arches and lower body, which give the V70/XC an appearance that suggests an authentic SUV.
All V70s seat five occupants in standard form, with two front buckets and a three-place, 60/40-split rear bench seat. Cargo capacity behind the backseat is 37.5 cubic feet, and that space grows to 71.4 cubic feet when the seat is folded down. The XC comes with a 40/20/40-split rear seat with a removable center section; this seat also folds down to increase cargo capacity.
A two-place, rear-facing auxiliary seat is optional. It is designed to carry children who weigh 50 to 88 pounds and are up to 55 inches tall. Additional options include hooks for grocery bags, a cargo net and a removable cargo cover. A Versatility Package includes dual child booster seats and a folding table.
Under the Hood
Buyers get quite a selection of five-cylinder engines. The base V70 wagon uses a 168-hp 2.4-liter that teams with either a five-speed-manual or five-speed-automatic transmission. XC and 2.4T models get a light-pressure turbocharged, 197-hp 2.4-liter engine that comes only with a five-speed-automatic transmission. Sport-minded shoppers may choose the T5 wagon, which comes with a high-pressure turbocharged, 247-hp, 2.3-liter power plant that is available with either a five-speed-manual or a Geartronic five-speed automatic gearbox.
Volvos Geartronic automatic transmission permits manually selected gear changes and comes standard on the XC and 2.4T AWD and optional on the 2.4T and T5. Other models use a conventional automatic transmission. The regular V70 has front-wheel drive, while the new AWD wagon and XC model feature all-wheel drive.
Safety features on all models include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags, inflatable curtain-type airbags and a Whiplash Protection System that moves the front seats rearward in a collision. Traction control is included on two-wheel-drive wagons.
The V70/XC is a thoroughly civilized, tightly constructed machine. It cruises with seeming effortlessness and gives little hint of the abundant power lurking below. A touch of the gas pedal can trigger a leap ahead, taking advantage of the thrust from the turbocharged engine.
Volvo wagons have a heavy overall feel. Their steering is also on the heavy side, but its not ponderous. The wagon maneuvers well, but some effort is required. Both wagons are stable on the highway and corner well enough, but they cant be called snappy in urban driving.
Ride quality is pleasing. The XCs firm yet almost cushiony suspension copes adeptly with bumps. Interior storage and backseat space is abundant, and the seats are comfortable and highly supportive. On the down side, the brakes dont seem to engage as smoothly as in some rival vehicles.