Crossovers today have largely become synonymous with many of the same traits that used to be the exclusive realm of minivans and SUVs: large, upright passenger compartments, tall ground clearance and an imposing physical presence that is usually bigger and heavier than the typical automobile. These vehicles have become such a standard part of every day living in North America that most people would have trouble thinking back to a time when the term 'crossover' was new and the designs which would popularize it amongst the car-buying public were about as far away from a truck or a van as drivers could get.
The very first crossovers were in fact variations on the long-suffering station wagon. Brought forth by Subaru and Volvo, these new wagons traded in their suburban duds for aggressive body cladding and rugged all-wheel drive systems. In combination with better than average ground clearance, these vehicles were intended to appeal to those who lived in snowy regions of the country where traction was prized above all else during the winter months. In this respect, Volvo had a definite edge. Their home country of Sweden offered up some genuinely inhospitable conditions in colder weather, and as such the very first Volvo crossover, dubbed the 'Cross Country' (later shortened to XC) was tuned to attack even the toughest snow drifts and iciest roads.
Loyal Volvo fans flocked to this newest all-wheel drive wonder, and they were greatly appreciative of the opportunity to purchase a car that was not only chock full of the standard safety and comfort gear that Volvo typically provided, but one that also avoided the rough and tumble driving experience usually associated with an SUV. The Volvo V70 XC crossover was a full-size crossover choice that didn't require an extension to be put onto the driveway, and it navigated both low-ceiling parking garages and narrow city streets with ease.
The second generation Volvo XC70 would be a significant improvement on the original, with much better ground clearance combining with turbo power to help place it near the front of the near-luxury crossover pack. This article focuses on this edition of the best used crossover to have ever worn the Volvo badge, and discusses its features and specifications on the way towards making a case for why it deserves serious consideration from families looking for a safer form of winter travel.
2003 - 2007 Volvo XC70
At first glance, it is clear that the 2003 - 2007 Volvo XC70 is no typical station wagon. With over 8-inches of ground clearance, the XC70's stance is both aggressive and purposeful, a look that is enhanced by the plastic moldings attached to the bumpers and sides in order to help fend off scratches from either branches and bushes or the loose shopping carts of the urban jungle. Despite this added paneling the vehicle still manages to maintain the same composed Volvo look that has attracted so many well-heeled buyers to the company's showrooms.
The 2003 - 2007 Volvo XC70 would maintain the same drivetrain configuration throughout its entire production run. The heart of the crossover is a 208 horsepower, 5-cylinder turbocharged engine that also produces a healthy 236 lb-ft of torque. This engine is matched with a 5-speed automatic transmission that feeds power to all four wheels. In addition to the vehicle's taller ride height and heavy duty suspension the XC70 is also equipped with a front skid plate to help protect the engine during any unexpected off-road excursions, and traction control is provided as standard equipment. When not being called upon to deal with adverse road conditions, the XC70 provides a smooth ride that betrays not a whisper of the formidable drivetrain that lies waiting for the next patch of ice or snow squall.
The interior of the crossover is as well appointed as other Volvos at its price point, with a full range of power equipment and the option of an excellent stereo system upgrade and a premium package that includes leather seats and a moonroof. The XC70 also offers active safety equipment that leads the industry, such as seats which guard against whiplash and a full range of airbags that cover almost any possible impact situation.
The 2003 - 2007 Volvo XC70 is a premier used crossover vehicle that brings an excellent ride and great handling to the table in addition to the great cargo space stemming from its wagon configuration.