What it Is
Volvo V70 Preview – 2007 Geneva Auto Show: Volvo may not have invented the wagon, but it sure does a great job defining what one is. In the beginning, its wagons were utilitarian devices simply to expedite hauling people and things. Today, it is a go-to brand for luxury hauling, a position sure to be even more firmly established when the new 2008 Volvo V70 wagon goes on sale. Redesigned inside and out, this sharp looking ride boasts a range of new engines, modern and luxurious interiors and the latest in safety technology, including the first built-in adjustable child booster seat. Based on the new S80 sedan’s mechanicals, the V70 does not offer that car’s V8 engine, but does offer a 3.2-liter inline-six for the first time.
Why it Matters
The V70 isn’t exactly Volvo’s flagship; that honor goes to the S80 sedan. But it’s a close second, and let’s face it, when we think Volvo we’re still largely thinking safe and sensible, and few vehicles are more sensible than a wagon – especially one as large as the V70. The new V70 also further entrenches Volvo as the safety leader with new features such as an adjustable-height integrated child booster seat, bigger curtain airbags that are long enough to protect small children in an accident, a rigid body structure made up of three different kinds of high-strength steel and many more advancements.
What's Under the Hood
Powering the V70 is an optional 3.2-liter inline six cylinder engine making 235 horsepower. Although no details were given, we can assume that this engine will be mated to the same six-speed automatic transmission that it’s paired with in the S80 sedan. There was also no word of all-wheel drive, nor the V8 engine that is available in the S80. Beyond saying that the V70 will have the 3.2-liter available (implying other engines will be in the mix, too), Volvo was tight lipped about what will be under the hood.
What it Looks Like
What we can tell you is that the V70 is the first wagon in a long time – maybe ever – that makes us drool. The lines on this new car echo the sexy new S80 sedan, but even the wagon body is gracefully done. The grille boasts Volvo’s standard egg crate pattern, but with chrome on the vertical bars to give it a little more character. The profile is also very good, and it’s obvious that the S80 platform was intended to have a wagon variant from the very beginning. The V70’s tailgate is designed to echo the new C30 and Volvos of the past, with the corporate name spelled out across the hatch under the glass.
The interior lives up to the promise of the exterior, with the same sweeping dash and luxurious trim that we’ve seen in the S80. But beyond the usual luxury baubles – including Volvo’s unique slim console design – are the safety items. Volvo boasts it has the world’s first integrated adjustable child booster seats, which can be ordered for both outside positions in the rear. It also features advanced crumple zones for low and high-speed collisions, improved side-impact protection with deeper curtain airbags to help protect small children, three kinds of high-strength steel and the second generation of the company’s WHIPS whiplash protection system.
What Volvo Says
Volvo’s official press information was thin on information about engines, transmissions, handling…all the things that enthusiasts get revved up about. Instead, it concentrated on safety, quoting the Director of Volvo cars Safety Center Ingrid Skogsmo as saying, “In developing the all-new V70 we aimed to produce the safest car in its segment. The V70 model is comprised of a sophisticated network of interacting safety systems, highly efficient energy absorption thanks to its patented body structure and the latest generation of side airbags and whiplash protection. Furthermore, we are introducing a world innovation in the field of child safety [the adjustable booster seat].”
What We Think
Volvo can crow all it wants to about safety, and we’re sure that the V70 will gladly sacrifice itself in an accident with a flurry of crumple zones, airbags and active restraints to ensure its occupants emerge with nary a scratch. But we live to drive, and Volvos deliver in this department, too. Hopefully the V8 and all-wheel drive of the S80 will become available, but if not, we’re still confident that the V70 will be a choice ride for pampered kids everywhere.