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New Car/Review


Volvo C70 Coupe (2001)

SEE ALSO: Volvo Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 34,500
     Price As Tested                                    $ 39,475
     Engine Type        DOHC 20-valve 2.3 Liter turbo I5 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 142 cid/2319 cc
     Horsepower                                   236 @ 5400 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               244 @ 2400 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  104.9"/71.5"/185.7"
     Transmission                           Five-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     3375 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  17.9 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                           225/50R16 all-season
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                        Four-passenger/two-door
     Domestic Content                                1.2 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            20/27/24
     0-60 MPH                                        7.0 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                          15.0 seconds @ 90.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           140 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

BRENDAN - Some cars get better over time and Volvo is one of them. Most of its older vehicles are venerated as nouveau-classics and Volvo's new line will no doubt will eventually join those ranks. We had this week's tester, the 2001 C70 coupe, and although it's now clothed in a svelte body, it's all Volvo under the skin. It has a turbo-charged 2.3-liter inline five-cylinder powerplant and is very quick with 236 horsepower and even more impressive 243 pound-feet of torque.

MIKELE - The C70 comes with either a manual or 5-speed automatic transmission, and ours had the latter. I loved the smoothness of the automatic. Brendan prefers a manual gearbox, we agree that the automatic has enough get-up-and-go to satisfy the "wannabe" racer in us. It handled great and the press packet says it's due to its high-tech suspension on both ends. It has an unusual semi-independent layout with coil springs and gas-filled shocks in the rear. Up front it uses MacPherson struts with asymmetrically coil springs and tight shock absorbers. It also has stabilizer bars front and rear for less body lean. I'm confused by all that "tech-talk", but I know its all good.

BRENDAN - Even my Dad was a "wowed" by the rear suspension of the C70, so I know that means it's pretty impressive. He understands systems, so maybe he can give us a little "chalk-talk" next time we test a Volvo. Inside, our Volvo has a plethora of items that make it fit right into the luxury market. An optional Grand Touring Package improves the overall driving experience by adding leather upholstery, a power glass sunroof, an automatic dimming rear view mirror, trip computer and simulated wood trim. At $2,200, I'd recommend it. I have a hard time getting into some vehicles due to being tall, but the C70 has a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, so I could adjust it to gain easy access without feeling cramped.

MIKELE - I could really get used to driving these luxury cars. It may be my imagination, but they make long trips just a little more, well, "luxurious." The cruise control came in handy and its center console with cupholders was placed just right. The gauges were easy to read, and the climate controls worked like a champ. The stereo sounded great as well. It's Volvo's SC-901 premium sound system, which has an in-dash three-disc CD changer, a 400-watt amplifier, Dolby pro-logic digital sound processor, and twelve speakers. It rumbles like thunder with the bass turned up, and made our jazz CD's sound like we were there during the recordings. My only gripe is that it has holds only three compact discs. Six is the norm, and three doesn't seem up to Volvo standards. The front seats are eight-way power adjustable for both the driver and front passenger, and power windows with "auto down" for the driver's window tops off a beautiful interior on a beautiful car.

BRENDAN - I know what you mean, Mikele. The C70 is a great ride, and it's exterior is the capper. Sleek lines, sixteen-inch alloy wheels, and Volvo's recognizable front grille make it a double-taker. Comfort items like heated outside mirrors make bad-weather driving almost a pleasure.

MIKELE - Volvo has a reputation for making one of the safest cars in the world, and the C70 is typical. Daytime running lights and front and rear fog lamps are standard, and the inside has dual-stage front air bags for the driver and the passenger. Side airbags are also standard. Four three-point, inertia-reel seat belts with pre-tensioners come in the C70, as well as Volvo's high-tech Whiplash Protection System, which Volvo calls WHIPS. If the C70 is struck from behind, the front seat backrest and head restraint move backwards in parallel while the occupant's head and upper torso are evenly, firmly and uniformly supported. The backrest is designed to then tip backward to help prevent the damaging forward whiplash movement. Simulated crash tests have shown that WHIPS can reduce acceleration forces in the neck by approximately fifty-percent.

BRENDAN - It sounds very futuristic Mikele. Are you sure this isn't the Jetsons space car?

MIKELE - You've been watching the cartoon network too much, Brendan.