What’s New: For 2008, Volvo treats the V70 to a 235-horsepower six-cylinder engine, revised exterior styling, integrated rear child booster seats, updated safety systems, improved side-impact protection, and a host of options including a Personal Car Communicator, adaptive cruise control, the brand’s Blind Spot Information System, and a power tailgate.
What We Think: They may not be sexy, but wagons make sense. The 2008 V70 offers ample power, a spacious cargo area and cool features like integrated child seats for a reasonable starting price of $33,210.It’s so good, in fact, that we wonder why pre-owned gas-guzzling, underutilized utility vehicles aren’t filling Volvo dealers’ lots.
Volvo V70 – 2008 Review: It’s almost as though Volvo knew we’d be back for something like the V70.
The situation mirrors those of everyday life. As young children, we hang on every word our parents say, eager to mimic and please them, a period that is eventually followed by the teenage years. Suddenly, the givers-of-life who were once cherished are now disallowed from sharing our presence in public and offer absolutely nothing of value. During this same strange phase, it’s not unheard of for a best friend to be harshly dismissed for not having the right Hollister clothes. Fast forward to the day when senses return, a time when we again appreciate the value of those who were once casually disregarded because of what they looked like, what they wore, or the simple fact that they were labeled “Mom and Dad.”
Though much less dramatic, the public’s relationship with the family station wagon has been quite similar. Serving the needs of people for decades, this popular jack-of-all-trades fell out of favor because of “cool” new suvs and a general distaste for anything not big and intimidating. Now things are gradually shifting back (thanks in large part to rising gas prices) to the point where people are once again seeing the benefits of smaller, more efficient yet still immensely useful vehicles such as the V70 station wagon.
As sensible as it may be, Volvo understands that its V70 still needs a few enticements to get shoppers in the seats. To that end, the updated V70 offers a more powerful six-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode, integrated child seats, options such as Sirius satellite radio and a Blind Spot Information System, boatloads of cargo space, and a 3,300-pound towing capacity to accommodate anything that doesn’t fit inside. Is it perfect? No, but it’s closer than what currently fills many garages in Suburbia, U.S.A.
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Models and Pricing
Some say that Volvos are best suited for individuals intent on providing their families with top-notch safety. That may be true, but they’re also perfect for indecisive shoppers. Take the 2008 V70 as an example – there’s only one trim, meaning all you’ll have to consider are what options you want and which color catches your fancy.
Prices start at $33,210 including a $745 destination charge. That includes a good deal of content, including the integrated rear child booster seats and expected safety bits such as Dynamic Stability Traction Control, a tire pressure monitoring system, front-side and side-curtain airbags, and Volvo’s WHIPS whiplash protection technology for the driver and front passenger. For an extra $695 we’d tack on the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that alerts drivers when other cars are nearby but nearly impossible to see with a cursory check of your mirrors. The Personal Car Communicator is another cool feature – this fob unlocks the car as you approach, incorporates a remote start system, and even has a heartbeat monitor to let you know if there’s someone waiting for you in the car. In our minds, it’s easily worth the $495 asking price. Same goes for the $1,800 dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system. No, it’s not cheap, but can you really put a price on maintaining sanity during a family road trip? At the other end of the spectrum are the $800 Bi-xenon headlights, helpful in low-light situations but arguably too expensive. Today’s hot factory options like a navigation system and Sirius satellite radio (with six months of service) run $2,120 and $295, respectively.
There are also option packages from which to choose. If you’re like us, $2,995 might be worth it to get the Premium Package’s leather upholstery to replace the standard funky Tricotec fabric. And who could steer away from something labeled Collision Avoidance Package? For $1,695 this includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and more. Add it all up and our ideal 2008 Volvo V70 would roll out of the showroom for $40,890. For that kind of coin, maybe the dealer would throw in a set of plush floor mats.
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Under the Hood
There’s a single engine choice for buyers of the 2008 Volvo V70, the same powerplant used in a number of the brand’s other vehicles. It’s a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder with variable-valve timing that’s good for 235 horses at 6,400 rpm and 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm. With fuel prices constantly escalating, drivers of the V70 will be happy to know that they can skip the cost of premium petrol and stick with the basic 87-octane juice while achieving up to 24 mpg on the highway in their ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV II). City mileage, rated at 16 mpg by the EPA, is more than a bit disappointing. Power from under the hood is directed to the road thanks to a six-speed automatic transmission with a sport shift mode that delivers output to the front wheels, which like the rear, are 16-inch alloys rolling on 225/55 rubber; 17-inchers with 225/50 tires are optional.
This 3,527-pound modern-day station wagon is built on the redesigned S80 sedan’s platform and rides on MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup with an aluminum subframe out back. Like most every other car on the road today, the V70 uses a power rack-and-pinion steering system. The brakes, on the other hand, are clearly borne from a company focused on safety and include discs front and rear, ABS, hydraulic brake assist, optimized hydraulic brakes, ready alert brakes, and fading brake support. Of all the hazards commuters may encounter while driving, engineers of the V70 aimed to ensure that wishy-washy stopping power wouldn’t be among them.
Put the whole package together and you’ve got a five-passenger family hauler that will tow up to 3,300 pounds, accommodate up to 72.1 cubic feet of cargo (with rear seats folded), and hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds as it climbs to a top speed of 130 mph…but probably not with the family and WaveRunners in tow.