2001 V70 New Car Test Drive
Volvo's Cross Country AWD estate wagon, jacked up in the suspension and rigged with a permanently engaged all-wheel-drive device for trekking across rugged terrain, is the company's clever alternative to a sport-utility vehicle.
The Cross Country boasts an elevated chassis that rivals an off-road wagon, no-dent body armor to brush aside trail debris and traction applying to all wheels. It can plow down rough routes to reach a backwater fishing hole or camping spot, yet on pavement deliver sophisticated traits of a refined road car with agile handling and a smooth ride quality. In other words, it possesses the go-anywhere attributes of a sturdy SUV when you want to venture away from pavement, but otherwise behaves like a nimble sedan while always coddling passengers in luxurious comfort.
The Cross Country comes with an impressive pedigree derived from a new generational design for Volvo's mid-size V70 estate wagon. It stocks a turbo-charged engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, extensive luxury features typically found on European touring cars, plus innovative safety measures. Compared against the V70 foundation, though, the Cross Country stretches 1.2 inches longer in length and is several inches wider due to an expansion of the front wheel track by 2.3 inches. It's also 2.8 inches taller at the roof, with the chassis raised by 2.4 inches to clear 8.2 inches.
Volvo's traditional focus on active and passive automotive safety devices carries over to the Cross Country with its safety cell body structure and seats that react to collision forces to thwart whiplash injuries. Occupants are shielded by airbags set ahead, beside and above. Then, to avoid a crash altogether, the Cross Country driver can draw from active safety tools like quick-to-cut steering, anti-lock brakes and a traction controller to reduce skidding and the emergency stopping time.
As a bonus, the wagon format creates a generous flat-floor cargo bay in back where an optional third-row seat may be added. A second-row bench splits and folds in three sections to vary the mix of passengers and gear, and an available electric refrigerated cooler box plugs into the center seat section to chill road picnic snacks. Volvo's all-new V70 mid-size wagon may be practical and safe, but it also has another side that's luxurious, sporty and wild.
The practical nature becomes apparent from the adaptable arrangement of seats for as many as seven passengers and an expandable cargo compartment with tie-down hooks and various accessories available to manage on-board freight loads.
Its luxurious side comes from posh appointments in an insulated passenger compartment in the mode of elite European touring sedans.
Volvo's historical emphasis on safety lives on with innovations to safety cell structures and active seats rigged to thwart whiplash injuries. Occupants are shielded by airbags positioned ahead, beside and above. To avoid crashes in the first place, the driver is armed with active safety tools including responsive steering, anti-lock brakes and traction control to reduce skids.
The sports appeal comes from turbocharged power and an adaptable five-speed automatic transmission designed to propel the car quickly up a freeway on-ramp and allow it to keep pace at autobahn speeds when desired.
And its wild side comes into play from a rigid chassis with sporty suspension tuning and the choice of a manual five-speed shifter for the high-output turbo T5 edition.
The Cross Country shows up in a single body style spinning off Volvo's V70 mid-size wagon: It's a five-door estate wagon hiked higher in the suspension and outfitted with an all-wheel-drive system linked to a 2.4-liter inline five-cylinder light-pressure turbo engine with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing begins at $34,900 with many standard safety features aboard, including side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and a traction control system.
Accessories and luxury equipment grouped in packages add to the bottom line, such as a leather upholstery kit for $1,300, touring gear for $1,250, a power sunroof at $1,200, premium audio with in-dash CD player for four discs ($1,000), and Volvo's pop-up navigation system ($2,500). The new generation design for Volvo's V70 estate wagon of 2001 splits into two front-wheel-drive models that differ in terms of powertrain and interior equipment.
The V70 2.4T draws from a 2.4-liter inline five-cylinder light-pressure turbo engine linked to a five-speed automatic transmission. Pricing for this base model starts at $32,400 with many standard safety features aboard, including anti-lock brakes and traction control.
The V70 T5 for $33,400 packs a 2.3-liter inline-5 high-pressure turbo that musters 247 horsepower through a manual five-speed gearbox. The T5 uses firm suspension settings for a sporty flavor.
Volvo's computer-linked Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system may be added to either version ($1,250 for the 2.4T, $1,100 for T5), and a navigation system adds $2,500 more to the bottom line.