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2008 Volvo V70

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2008 Volvo V70 Review

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A cornerstone of Volvo's lineup, the mid-size V70 wagon has undergone a complete makeover for 2008. In addition to gaining a more contemporary appearance, the third generation of this popular hauler has transitioned onto upgraded platform architecture that it now shares with the firm's flagship S80 sedan and the equally new XC70 all-wheel-drive crossover utility vehicle. Although it remains front-drive only and now comes in just one V70 3.2 trim level, the 2008 version boasts a new and larger six-cylinder engine, meaningful enhancements to both its standard and available features and a stellar array of advanced safety systems that have boosted its competitive appeal. As before, this competent Swedish family wagon faces off against a formidable field of mostly European rivals, headed by the Audi A6 Avant quattro, BMW 535xi Sport Wagon, Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon and Saab 9-5 SportCombi.

You'll Like This Car If...

Wagon buyers who want a comfortable, practical and stylish vehicle with outstanding safety features should be impressed with what the new V70 package has to offer.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Anyone expecting a replacement for the hot-performing but slow-selling V70R is out of luck for 2008, and wagon buyers who demand the added security of all-wheel drive still must either step up to Volvo's pricier XC70 crossover or pay a visit to their local Audi, BWM, or Mercedes-Benz dealer.

What's New for 2008

A comprehensive redesign of Volvo's mid-size wagon adds greater visual distinction and endows it with better ride and handling plus an even broader range of comfort, convenience and safety touches.

Driving the V70
Driving Impressions

The new iteration of Volvo's versatile V70 makes the most of its redesigned chassis and powertrain elements to deliver an even smoother, more comfortable and better-isolated ride than its predecessor....

... While the new six-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine has sufficient muscle to let the V70 3.2 successfully cope with most day-to-day traffic and passing maneuvers, it won't do much to satisfy anyone with even modest enthusiast leanings. Aggressive cornering will elicit some noticeable body roll, but most buyers will likely find this Volvo's tradeoff between control and compliance a very livable compromise. The standard driver-selectable Dynamic Stability and Traction Control system helps the V70 maintain its composure on slicker surfaces without being too intrusive, and its powerful four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes incorporate both Electronic Brake Assistance and anti-fade compensation circuitry to optimize the car's overall stopping power in emergency situations.

World-Class Safety Innovations
Beyond it's more-rigid unit body, the V70 3.2 incorporates upgraded WHIPS and SIPS whiplash and side-impact protection systems, a new dual-height child booster-seat system with adaptive seatbelts and introduces, as available options, Volvo's Blind Spot Information System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Auto Brake and Personal Car Communicator with heartbeat sensor.

Convenient Cargo Handling
The V70 3.2s flexible cargo system features floor rails with adjustable fold-down anchor points and additional tie-downs in the side panels to secure bulky items, plus a big, lockable underfloor cargo bin. Its larger, one-piece tailgate further simplifies the loading and unloading process, and now offers optional power activation.

2008 Volvo V70 Details
Interior

Cast in a Swedish-modern motif, the V70's spacious cabin is finished in standard charcoal or beige Tricotek fabric and brushed aluminum accents but can be upgraded with leather and real wood trims. It shares basic S80 design cues, from legible analog gauges with supplemental driver-info readouts to Volvo's distinctive slim-line center stack with intuitively arrayed audio and climate controls. Well-formed front seats feature eight-way power adjustability for the driver, while the V70's 40/20/40 split-folding rear bench has room for adults at the two outboard spots -- which also incorporate Volvo's new variable-height child booster-seat cushions. Maxxing out the aft quarters for cargo toting increases the carrying capacity from 33.3 to 72.1 cubic feet.

Exterior

The third-generation V70 has grown a bit, adding 2.3 inches of wheelbase and 4.5 inches to its length. All-new sheetmetal imparts a more athletic flair, with bolder character lines that rise from its chiseled front fascia and carry through a power-bulged hood and onto prominent shoulder ridges. Blackout pillars and tasteful brightwork help integrate the V70's side glass, but the strongest visual statement is provided by its rear quarters, where a single-piece liftgate is framed by oversized conventional and LED combination tail lamps and a highly-stylized soft fascia. Standard 16-inch aluminum wheels mount 225/55 tires, but the optional 225/50 run-flat tires on larger 17-inch alloys impart a sportier finishing touch.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As befits its up-market status, the V70 3.2 is a high-content vehicle that complements its capable powertrain and comfortable seating with a full array of power assists, dual-zone climate control, a tilt/telescopic steering column, multifunction steering wheel, cruise control and a 160-watt AM/FM/MP3 sound system with six-disc CD changer and auxiliary input jack. Enhancing its utilitarian qualities is a flexible hold-down system in the rear bay that makes it easier to secure bulky items plus a lockable underfloor cargo bin. Heading the V70's formidable safety systems are front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control and four-wheel anti-lock discs with Electronic Brake Assistance.

Optional Equipment

Four key equipment groups highlight the V70's extras list: The Premium Package (leather and wood cabin trim, a power moonroof, auto-dimming mirror and HomeLink), the Convenience Package (front and rear Park Assist, a power tailgate, roof rails and interior air quality sensors), the Climate Package (heated seats, Rainsensor wipers and headlamp washers) and, new to the V70 line, the Collision Avoidance Package (Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning System with Auto Brake, Distance Alert, Driver Alert and Lane Departure Warning systems). Major single options include bi-xenon headlamps, DVD-based navigation, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, Personal Car Communicator with heartbeat sensor and keyless drive, Blind Spot Information System and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

Under the Hood

For the first time in its history, the V70 gets an engine with six, not five, cylinders. Still an in-line configuration, this new naturally-aspirated powerplant displaces 3.2 liters and was co-developed with parent company Ford. The engine's 235 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque are less than any of its main rivals. However, sophisticated Cam Profile Switching and a variable-intake system help keep 90 percent of its peak torque on hand from just 2000 rpm. Backed by a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with manual-style shift mode, it propels the V70 3.2 from zero to 60 mph in a respectable -- although hardly class-leading -- estimated 7.8 seconds. The V70's EPA fuel economy numbers of 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway are only average, and are equaled by BMW's pricier, but far-quicker, 300-horsepower all-wheel-drive 535xi Sport Wagon.

3.2-liter in-line six
235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24

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