Volvo's V70 wagon returns for the final season in its present form with a four-model lineup and a choice of three engines. The V70 and similar S70 sedan are the midpriced models in Volvo's lineup, fitting between the entry-level S40/V40 and top-shelf S80 sedan.
The current V70 will be replaced this spring by a new model that is 4 inches shorter but roomier inside. The 2001 V70, built off the same platform as Volvo's S80 sedan, initially will come with front-wheel drive. An all-wheel-drive model will be added by fall.
Current models include the base V70 and GLT with front-wheel drive, and the XC (cross country) and R models with a permanently engaged all-wheel-drive system that apportions power among the wheels as needed for optimum traction.
Some of Volvo's newer models, such as the S80 sedan and C70 coupe and convertible, are more stylish and rounded. The squared-off V70 looks like the box those other models came in.
The XC targets would-be sport utility buyers with a roof that is 2 inches higher than other V70 models, an extra inch of ground clearance (6.5 inches), a roof rack and matte black exterior trim.
At 186 inches overall, the V70 is 10 inches longer than the V40 wagon and three inches shorter than the BMW 5 Series wagon.
The V70 has ample room for four adults, but the interior isn't wide enough for three people to comfortably sit in the rear seat. Cargo capacity is 37 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 70 cubic feet with the seat folded.
Under the Hood
The base V70 uses a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine with new variable-valve timing that boosts horsepower from 163 to 168. It is available with a five-speed manual or new five-speed automatic. The GLT and all-wheel-drive XC models use what Volvo calls a "light-pressure" turbocharged version of this engine with 190 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive R model comes with a 2.3-liter turbocharged five-cylinder that makes 261 horsepower and teams with a five-speed automatic.
Standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, anti-lock brakes and Volvo's Whiplash Protection System, which moves the front seats rearward in a collision. The federally required front airbags deploy at two levels, with lower force used in low-speed collisions.