New Car/Review

Volvo

Volvo V70 XC (2001)

SEE ALSO: Volvo Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 34,900
     Price As Tested                                    $ 42,955
     Engine Type              DOHC 20-valve 2.4 Liter I5 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 149 cid/2435 cc
     Horsepower                                   197 @ 6000 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               210 @ 1800 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  108.8"/73.2"/186.3"
     Transmission                           Five-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     3892 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                              205/65R16 H-rated
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                 14 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.34

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            17/22/19         

     0-60 MPH                                        9.0 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                          17.0 seconds @ 82.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           120 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

("Safety has always been a big deal to Volvo," says Bob Hagin. His son Matt says that with it's rough-duty Cross Country model, Volvo encourages its owners to do it in the dirt.)

BOB - Being typically Swedish, Volvo has always been big on producing vehicles that would serve in extremely cold weather and on snow-covered roads, but it never got into the sport/utility end of the market. But now the company is offering its loyal followers almost the best of both the station wagon and SUV worlds. According to the Volvo press pack, its V70 XC wagon can operate on just about anything that can pass for a road, which is good logic. Very few true SUV's ever go off into the bramble-bushes or do any boulder-crawling and their main purpose in life is either to look "cool" or carry their occupants over snowy streets and highways. Its ground clearance of 7.6 inches is as high as some of the fancy 4X4s, but its passenger car-like overhangs front and rear keep it from getting too aggressive off the road.

MATT - But even the "traditional" SUV is changing, Dad. Originally they were four-wheel-drive pickup trucks with the beds converted into passenger compartments. They had truck frames and solid truck axles. But that's changing and a great number of modern small SUVs are built on raised sedan platforms with front-wheel drive as the primary system and an all-wheel-drive mode that switches back and forth automatically. The Volvo XC is basically one of these and its function is to simply transport its occupants and contents safely in all kinds of weather.

BOB - Being in the luxury car class, it does it with some pretty fancy and technically-advanced items. Its engine is a transverse-mounted five-cylinder, twin-cam turbocharged engine that uses an advanced type of variable valve timing. It puts out 195 horses, but because of this high-tech valve operating system, it puts out considerable amounts of torque at very low engine speeds. This gives it plenty of power to get through tough areas without needing to spin the revs too high. It uses a five-speed automatic transmission that's progressively selectable manually, kind of like a motorcycle. It has a traction control system, of course, and it can transfer its torque away from any of the wheels that are spinning on ice or mud and put it over to the wheels that need traction. It's pretty much based on the standard V70 station wagon, but it's got over an inch of extra ground clearance and its track is wider to accommodate the wider wheels and heavy-duty tires.

MATT - I wish Volvo would give us one during ski season - the kids and I would have a blast. We'd enjoy the luxury-car interior, which is leather, of course, and the driver's seat is eight-way adjustable. The front passenger has to settle for changing that seat manually, however. Since the V70 XC is being marketed to upscale drivers who have a tendency to be the outdoors type, the rear seat has a three-position lay-down system. The center section can be flopped forward to allow long items like skis to be packed inside, but four people can still be carried. As an option, Volvo can supply a body-colored, roof-mounted cargo box that is built to fit the factory roof rack. Those coffin-like boxes hold lots of cargo, an they're the perfect place to put wet skis and muddy boots. It's got a space provided for a factory shoulder pack that fits into the drop-down recess in the middle of the rear seat, and a factory-built 12-volt cooling chest too. It's kind of like a Swiss army knife on wheels.

BOB - The styling lines of the Cross Country are more modern and "soft" than the traditional upright Volvo profile to which we've become accustomed, but it's still not a "cookie-cutter" silhouette that looks like many other vehicles on the market. It is still identifiable as a Volvo when you see it in traffic. Volvo safety extends into the realm of personal safety, too, The keyless remote fob has a trigger that can set off a panic alarm, and the lights can be turned on by the same remote to light up the area around the outside of the car.

MATT - It's getting to be a scary world out there, Dad. It's a good thing you don't drive at night.

 

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