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First drive: Volvo advances uptown with new V70

Bigger, better: Gen-three V70 is larger, quicker and pricier.

Volvo’s V70 station wagon is back with a big injection of power and panache

2 Apr 2008

VOLVO is taking its V70 premium sports wagon further upmarket in Australia with the launch last week of the third-generation model, raising the price by some $15,000. However, the all-new V70 bears little resemblance to the superseded model, not only in looks but in terms of technical specification and features.

Based on the bigger S80 platform rather than the previous S60-based model, the new V70's turbocharged six-cylinder engine replaces the previous five-cylinder ‘atmo’ unit and has the drive going to all four wheels rather than just the front.

With the apparently unstoppable growth of SUVs cutting into traditional wagon sales, Volvo Australia thought long and hard about bringing the new V70 here and has now clearly positioned it as a sporty alternative for buyers who want the space and practicality but have not yet given up on driving enjoyment.

The new V70 is priced at $67,950 and, apart from the massive power boost and all-wheel drive, gets a substantial list of standard features that push it well beyond the previous model (which was priced at $52,950) and even above its high-riding XC70 sibling (which is priced between $56,950 and $64,450).

Volvo Australia has elected to retain its single-model V70 policy, even though more humble engines are available overseas, so any Volvo buyers suffering sticker shock with the latest model will have to look at the smaller V50 range.

18 center imageAt the heart of the new V70 is the transversely mounted turbo inline 3.0-litre T6 engine, which features a two-stage turbo for strong performance throughout the rev range and produces some 210kW of power and 400Nm of torque at just 1500rpm (compared with 175kW and 320Nm for the 3.2-litre version in the V70-based XC70).

Driving through a standard six-speed automatic transmission with a ‘Geartronic’ sequential manual mode (only five-speed previously), the V70 accelerates to 100km/h in a very unwagonlike 7.2 seconds – some 1.8 seconds faster than the outgoing 125kW/230Nm model.

Of course, the flipside is that the turbo uses considerably more fuel, with the official combined figure rising by 14.1 per cent, from 9.9L/100km to 11.3L.

Squeezing the straight-six engine sideways under the V70’s bonnet was achieved by removing hardware such as the air-conditioning and power steering pumps from the front of the engine and locating them above the transmission, driven by gears from the back of the crankshaft.

Being based on a larger platform with a 56mm-longer wheelbase, the new V70 benefits from a bigger interior that provides some 48mm more legroom in the back seat and 30mm more shoulder room in the front.

A revised self-opening tailgate design makes the boot aperture larger than before, cargo volume increases by 70 litres to 555 litres and adjustable anchorage points on aluminium rails as well as a 40-20-40 split-folding rear seat provide plenty of load-carrying options.

Cabin innovations include a “world-first” two-position height-adjustable integrated rear child booster seat that comes as standard with the Australian model.

Other safety features include extended (by 60mm) side curtain airbags to better protect children, twin-chamber bags to cover the hips as well as the chest (a system first seen on the S80) and a stronger side structure designed to improve impact intrusion.

Greater use of high-strength steel throughout the chassis is said to have improved torsional rigidity by 15 per cent.

Other new technical features include the introduction of a semi-active self-adjusting electronic damping system with three manual settings (developed in conjunction with Swedish racing outfit Ohlins), an automatic park brake and optional speed-sensitive power steering (with three settings).

Electronic stability control is standard, along with active bi-Xenon headlights, parking sensors front and rear, 18-inch alloy wheels, auto-dimming interior mirror, automatic wipers, woodgrain interior trim, a six-CD audio system and heated front seats.

Stopping power is aided by ABS with emergency brake assist, while a collision warning system uses radar and a camera to alert the driver to a possible collision and will automatically brake the car if a collision is deemed unavoidable to reduce the force of the impact.

GoAuto can help you buy a new V70

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