2003 Volvo XC70 Reviews

2003 XC70 New Car Test Drive


Volvo wagons have never been better. Volvo's flagship 70 series wagons range from comfortable sophistication to off-highway capability to high-performance barnstormer. 

The Volvo Cross Country can be a great substitute for a sport-utility. It boasts an elevated chassis for ground clearance, no-dent body armor to brush aside trail debris, and all-wheel-drive traction for slippery conditions. Yet it offers the smooth ride, agile handling of a luxury car, while coddling occupants in a luxurious leather cabin. 

The Volvo V70 2.4 offers a soft, smooth ride and front-wheel drive. The V70 T5 offers stellar performance and handling with the refined demeanor of a European luxury sedan. 

Volvo V70 and Cross Country wagons are based on the same platform as the silky smooth, flagship S80 luxury sedan. Their interiors are elegant and well designed. All are practical wagons with an adaptable seating arrangement and a cavernous cargo compartment complete with tie-down hooks and other useful accessories. Unlike many SUVs, the cargo floor is flat when all the seats are folded. 

Add to that Volvo's traditional dedication to safety: Occupants are shielded by a safety-cell structure and active seats designed to prevent whiplash injuries. Airbags are positioned ahead, beside and above. Responsive steering, electronic brake enhancements, and optional traction control help avoid accidents in the first place. 

Volvo has reduced prices across the entire V70 range, from $2155 to as much as $3355, depending on model. Leather upholstery and the sunroof are now optional. 


The Volvo 70 series offers a choice of engines, suspensions, and packaging. 

Volvo V70 2.4 ($27,870) is powered by a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine that develops 168 horsepower (165 in California) and drives the front wheels. It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional ($1000). Standard equipment includes power four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, 15-inch aluminum wheels, and a long list of luxury, safety, and convenience features. 

V70 2.4T ($30,870) uses light-pressure turbocharging with intercooling to coax 197 horsepower from the same basic engine. The five-speed automatic is standard on this model, while Volvo's Geartronic automatic with manual override is a optional ($200). Befitting its extra brawn, the 2.4T comes with wider tires on 16-inch wheels, and adds power seats and automatic climate control. 

V70 T5 ($33,870) comes with 247-horsepower 2.3-liter inline five-cylinder engine with high-pressure turbocharging and a five-speed manual gearbox. The Geartronic is available as an option ($1200). The T5 also comes with firmer suspension settings and wider (P215/55R16) tires for a sporty flavor, and adds a few more comfort/convenience items to the standard-equipment list. Volvo's DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) is standard. 

XC70 Cross Country ($33,870) features all-wheel-drive, a higher ground clearance, a front skid plate, and unique appearance and trim items. It is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-5 with light-pressure turbocharging, developing 208 horsepower and 236 pounds-feet of torque. Cross Country comes standard with the Geartronic automatic transmission. In its luxury appointments the XC70 resembles the T5, but it uses a simpler traction control system (called TRACS, with the more sophisticated DSTC as a $695 option) and slightly taller P215/65R16 tires. 

V70 2.5T AWD ($32,620) shares Cross Country's all-wheel-drive system, as well as its 208-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged engine and Geartronic transmission. Otherwise the 2.5T AWD is equipped the same as the front-drive V70 2.4T

A long list of additional options and option packages is available. Premium Packages for each variation add a sunroof and leather upholstery, plus a selection of the comfort and convenience items that come standard on higher-level models. (Premium Package prices range from $1995 for the T5 to $2995 for the basic 2.4.) Volvo also offers leather as a stand-alone option for $1450 in the T5 and XC70, $1400 in other models. 

Volvo's computer-linked Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system may be added to the 2.4, 2.4T, or 2.5T AWD ($695). A navigation system ($1895) is optional on all models. Also available is Volvo's new On Call telematics system with a mobile phone ($835). 

All V70s uphold Volvo's tradition of safety, with dual-threshold front airbags, dual side-impact airbags, front and rear head-curtain airbags, WHIPS active whiplash protection, and both ISO-FIX and LATCH anchors for child seats. 

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