2006 XC70 New Car Test Drive
Volvo's 70 series wagons offer a vehicle for every style of driving, from backcountry bushwhacking in a Cross Country to antiquing in a V70 to turbocharged barnstorming in a V70R. With the range of models, buyers can choose urban practicality, comfortable sophistication, serious performance, or off-road competence. Regardless of your choice, these are superb wagons.
The Volvo V70 2.4 offers a smooth ride and front-wheel drive. The V70 2.5T kicks it up a notch with turbocharged power, and sportier handling. For the driver who wants a real adrenalin boost, the high-performance V70R with big Brembo brakes and a 300-horsepower engine would even be at home at car club track days. The 2006 V70R comes standard with all-wheel drive, which improves its handling stability in the rain and snow.
Most popular, however, is the Volvo XC70 Cross Country. It's a great substitute for a sport-utility. We verified this on epic drives over rough, rock-strewn trails in the Baja in the summer and up lonely, frozen roads from Anchorage northward across the Yukon River to Point Barrow in the winter. The Cross Country 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 and agile handling of a luxury car, while coddling occupants in a luxurious cabin. The Cross Country gets an improved all-wheel-drive system for 2006.
The cabins are elegant and well designed. An adaptable seating arrangement and a cavernous cargo compartment complete with tie-down hooks and other useful accessories make them practical. With the rear seats folded, the flat floor makes loading bulky cargo easier than in many SUVs.
The 70 series cars are worthy heirs to Volvo's historic reputation for safety. Responsive steering, electronic brake enhancements, and optional traction control are designed to help drivers avoid accidents in the first place. Airbags are positioned to cocoon driver and passengers from after-impact injuries. Active seats protect occupants from whiplash injuries, and interior integrity is sustained by a safety-cell body structure.
Four major models comprise the Volvo 70 series of wagons: the V70 2.4, the 2.5T, the V70R, and the XC70 Cross Country. They differ in terms of engines, suspensions and packaging but share attributes.
The V70 2.4 ($29,445) 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 2.5T ($32,765) has more power, using light-pressure turbocharging with intercooling to coax 208 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque from the same basic engine. The 2.5T comes standard with Volvo's Geartronic automatic transmission, wider tires on 16-inch wheels, power seats and automatic climate control.
V70R ($39,545) gets a turbocharged, twin-intercooled 300-horsepower version of the 2.3-liter engine, featuring bigger brakes with four-piston Brembo calibers, a six-speed close-ratio gearbox, and the technically advanced Four-C active suspension system. Instant Traction all-wheel drive comes standard on the V70R for 2006. A six-speed Geartronix microprocessor-controlled automatic with an auto-stick function is optional ($1,250).
XC70 Cross Country ($35,700) is powered by the same turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 engine as the 2.5T, and comes standard with the Geartronic automatic transmission. The Cross Country features a Haldex all-wheel-drive system improved for 2006 with Instant Traction, which maintains a constant torque load on the rear wheels to maximize traction response in slippery conditions. The off-road capabilities are enhanced with higher ground clearance, and front and rear skid plates. The XC70 comes standard with a traction control system called TRACS; the more sophisticated Dynamic Stability and Traction Control is optional ($695). A sophisticated active chassis system of adjustable shock absorbers, called Four-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) is optional ($995). The Cross Country comes with slightly taller P215/65R16 tires than the other models.
The V70 T5 model has been discontinued.
Many options and option packages are available. Premium Packages for each variation add leather upholstery, a sunroof and features that come standard on higher-level models. Leather upholstery is available as a stand-alone option for the XC70 ($1450) and V70R ($1550). A navigation system ($2120) is optional on all models.
Safety features include ABS with traction control, dual-threshold front airbags, dual side-impact airbags, front and rear head-curtain airbags, WHIPS active whiplash protection, and ISO-FIX and LATCH anchors for child seats. Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) may be added to the 2.4, 2.5T and XC70 ($695).