By on January 11, 2008

4820_2_1.jpgVolvo is finally coming to grips with the fact that the brand doesn’t stretch much beyond wagons. Reflecting this new/old reality, rumors abound that Volvo’s about to axe their range-topping S80 sedan in favor of an upmarket V100 wagon. Add in a recent Consumer Reports’ study showing that American consumers still rate Volvo number one for safety, and you begin to understand the importance of the new V70 wagon. As wagons are what keeps Volvo’s ost on their smorgasbord, “getting it right” was essential. So, did they?

In the last 10 years, Volvo has gone from Ugly Betty to Swedish beauty. Since 1998, every Volvo model has been bred from the same DNA: restrained styling, sexy hips and hood creases culminating in a grill with the classic Volvo sash. Thankfully, the new V70 has all the requisite shapes, excepting the sloping rear windscreen.

4816_2_1.jpgDespite the looks, the V70 is all-new. The hauler is now based on the flagship S80 sedan instead of the mid-sized S60. The larger overall car is also equipped with considerably better interior bits. While the cheaper Volvos’ interiors look like IKEA specials, there’s nothing cheap about the new V70’s interior.

Our Euro-spec tester was swathed in matte finish wood trim and light grey “Sovereign hide” leather, which rivals the luxury feel of [former] PAG mates Jaguar and Aston Martin’s bovine wrappers. Sadly, North American buyers can’t get premium cow, and someone in Sweden figured ventilated seats were more important in the Arctic Circle than the tropical American south. Anyway, all the V70’s seats are supportive and comfortable for long trips.

4821_2_1.jpgThe wagon’s glove-friendly knobs and switches are placed in the usual logical locations. The now ubiquitous floating centre stack is along for the ride. While the cute cubby behind it will accommodate a few very small oddly sized nick-knacks, out of sight also means out of mind. Speaking of mindless, the V70 gets the new for 2008 keyless start system. As the alternative is the oddly located fob-slot in the dash– which makes your keys bang against the dashboard at gauge level– it’s $500 well spent.

Regardless of continent, all buyers get Volvo’s new two-stage child booster seats with redesigned curtain airbags. After thorough testing with two kids in the proper weight bracket (33-80 lbs), I can certify that the new feature protects adult sanity when struggling to get multiple progeny onboard.

4811_2_1.jpgAt the back end, Volvo continues to put hauling stuff at the top of their design priority list. Inside the power operated tailgate lie enough organizing options to keep Detective Monk busy for hours (if not an eternity). There are grocery bag holders, cargo dividers, rails with load hooks, nets, straps and locking compartments. The 40/20/40 split rear seats fold flat easily. As with all Volvos, the front passenger seat also bows down to the gods of goods; loading a 10ft ladder or a full-size grandfather’s clock is a breeze.

Volvo’s silky smooth 3.0-liter six-cylinder T6 turbo engine purred under the hood of our Euro-tester. The mill cranks out 285hp and 295 ft.-lbs. of torque. It’s mated to a six- speed slushbox and Haldex AWD (all wheel-drive) system. The V70’s 6.7 second zero to sixty sprint time feels quicker in person, due to the plateau-like torque curve, despite its decidedly porky 4100 pound curb weight.

4837_2_1.jpgThe V70 AWD system’s “instant traction” feature assures zero torque steer for European buyers. Yes, yet again American shoppers get shafted: both the T6 engine and AWD system are Euro only options. On this side of the pond you must satisfy yourself with the 235hp 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine, endure torque steer and grow old as you attempt to reach 60 from a standstill (7.8 seconds).

Out on twisty roads, the V70 feels almost nimble. The car’s front heavy nature is abundantly evident through the corners, but the cornering limit is surprisingly high. Equally important, steering feel is excellent. And when things do break loose the electronic nannies rein you back to a safer angle of attack. The Euro-only active suspension proves a faithful companion, eliminating any signs of wallow, tip or dive. It affords GTI-stiff dampeners at the corners for that race from the daycare to work.

4824_2_1.jpgWhile the V70 isn’t as dynamically satisfying as a BMW 5-series wagon or as luxurious as a Mercedes E-Class estate, the V70 is nevertheless an excellent competitor in this niche market… If you live in Europe. In fact, this is the perfect example of sending the wrong models to the wrong places. The 20.3 T6 model is too thirsty for Europe. But as a base engine in North America? Perfect. And while we’re at it, where’s OUR luxe leather, AWD and active suspension?

Until Volvo gets their product placement strategy is corrected, they’ll remain a niche player, good wagon or not.

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42 Comments on “2008 Volvo V70 Review...”


  • avatar

    I dropped by my local Volvo dealer to drive a C30 this week, and while there also took the new wagon for a spin. Except that, choosing between the V70 and the XC70, I opted for the latter, figuring it would be the more popular variant.

    Nimble the XC70 is not. Nor quick. Comfortable, certainly, but dynamically the car is a pig. The higher center of gravity and non-performance treads certainly don’t help. And the 3.2 is not up to the task of motivating the car. The XC70 is AWD; but does this engine churn out enough torque to generate torque steer?

    I wasn’t aware they were offering a T6 overseas. If and when they offer it here, hopefully in conjunction with an R-like sport package, I’ll drop back by to drive the V70.

    The saleswoman said they’re talking about bringing an R back, but my understanding is that the R is dead. Probably because I never bought one, despite all my talk of wanting a stick-shift high-performance wagon.

    TrueDelta is not yet collecting reliability data on the new V70 / XC70, but hopefully soon. The next set of results will include a couple of model years for the old one.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    GasGuzzler

    Great Review. I dearly miss the recently discontinued V70R, which was probably one of the most satisfying wagons available in the US. But, being unmarried and childless, I have no need for a wagon at the moment. Hopefully when the time rolls around, the R will be back or I can find a used ’07 V70R.

  • avatar
    ash78

    At risk of sounding like a VW fanboy–which I am not–how does this compare with the Passat 3.6? Comparing the US versions, the Passat is quicker, more powerful, AWD, and sub-$38k. To reiterate a comment I’ve made before, if you’re going to venture into European brands of questionable reliability, might as well go for the better value.

    I drove the V70R a few years ago. Maybe they’ll bring the Euro-spec version here as the “R” if this base model does well.

  • avatar
    AKM

    This whole “Euro only” business makes no sense.
    Oh wait, I think I found why: Americans are supposed to buy XC90s, not V70s!!

    Wagons with dual exhaust are cool. Period.

    Oh, yes, better than any similarly equipped sedan! And if we’re talking about the oval exhausts of an RS6, it’s perfection on wheels!

  • avatar
    Strippo

    If the S80 didn’t exist the V70 could be had with all of the options on your wish list. Maybe once the bloom is off that rose they’ll give the S80 wagon V70 more content potential.

  • avatar

    Ash78: as you suggest, the Passat wagon is far more fun to drive than any V70 currently available in the U.S.

    Strippo: you might be right. But I’ll never understand automaker logic when they decide not to offer something already in their parts bin because some other product partially fills the same needs. “Almost” gets you nowhere in today’s market.

    A note on the IP photo above: the car in question appears to have the matte “modern” wood. This wood is available in the U.S. only in the six-cylinder S80s–where apparently people complain about the lack of shiny. They had an S80 T6 in the showroom with it — and I like it. It’s heavily grained, and seems very Scanadanavian. But it’s not available in U.S. V70s or XC70s.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    In the last 10 years, Volvo has gone from Ugly Betty to Swedish beauty.

    I liked the old styling, even the boxy 740’s, not so keen on this new horse faced look. This V70 is not bad looking though and has a really nice profile.

    Maybe they aren’t offering the Euro-spec on here due to the worthless dollar to euro exchange. It might have put it way out of it’s price point. They should offer it as a package option though, not an R since it doesn’t appear sporty enough to take that badge.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Am I the only one surprised by the audacity of implying that a 7.8 second run to 60 is slow. In a Volvo station wagon? I would probably say 98% of the owners of this car will never want or need to get to 60 in 7.8 seconds. The current hp war going on is ridiculous, 5 years ago 7.8 to 60 was average or above-average for any family vehicle. There is absolutely no need for this car to do 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. Maybe if we were talking about a C70

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    I had a V70 as a loaner recently and have to disagree with much of the article; the interior appointment, while clean, actually made me think of a mid-90s McDonalds (albeit more sterile!). The tan colored leather seating was nice and supportive but instead of wood or aluminum (faux or not) trim the inserts where hideous “modern art” looking lines…. The 3.2L did feel anemic in this beast; it seemed much better behaved in the new Freelander/LR2 that shares it – perhaps a different preconception walking into a truck. The worst part of the experience was actually the handling – on par with NA luxo-barges, at least in my opinion.

    All that being said, if I was in the market for a wagon for road-tripping/hauling, I would consider this one – though not until it was a deeply discounted 2 year old model!

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    thetopdog to each his own. I like my wagons quick. Wagons are not excluded from the lead-foot fest.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    When I look at what Ford has done with the brands in it PAG group I am convinced that those Ford execs responsible for PAG honestly believe that the brand names would just sell themselves.
    “Americans will purchase in large numbers and pay a premium for brands like Jaguar and Volvo simply because they are European and naturally better than anything domestic or Japanese”.

    This “new” V70 is a prime example of this jaded view of the auto market. For well over 40grand you have a simple FWD car equiped with a “yesterday” engine, no AWD, a option price list that can challange Porsche, questionable reliabilty and quality, and a crappy dealer network, but I guess it is a Volvo right?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    TheTopDog has it about right; the 240 wagons (which I dearly loved; we had two) offered 29 lbs/hp and always seemed up the task, even fully loaded (6 people and luggage). The US V70 has about 19lbs/hp. I’d be perfectly happy with that.

    While a V70-R would be tempting… this car has good handling, good comfort, a pleasant interior and good performance. This is a WAGON. What’s your rush? Shove the family in and go on vacation; enjoy the scenery.

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    As a V70R owner, I would very much like to see a new “R” (or something like it). There is something immensely rewarding about driving a wagon that will blow the doors off 99% of the cars out there (all while hauling a couch). For demonic thrills, it’s not an E63 AMG wagon or Euro-spec RS6 wagon, which are the pinnacles of achievment in this category, but the R is a nice little beastwagon with the best seats ever put into a vehicle. Beastwagons let us family guys serve our fatherly duties faithfully, while saving room for hoonage when the wife stays home.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    grow old as you attempt to reach 60 from a standstill (7.8 seconds)

    That explains all the grey hairs I get from driving my TSX!

    Sorry, I just can’t understand this. 8 seconds to 60 isn’t fast, but it isn’t slow. It’s just about right for ordinary traffic, where the person in front of you in a G35 is sipping his latte instead of paying attention to the light and ends up taking a full minute to get up to 45.

    Perhaps the base V70 is slow when it comes to in-gear passing for the freeway, and that I’ll accept as a valid complaint. But 0-60 isn’t going to reveal that weakness.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Redbarchetta :

    You may like your wagons quick, but are you even interested in buying a V70? Would the European engine change your mind?

    You may be in that rare 2% of people that both want a car like this and want to go 0-60 in 6 seconds flat, but I highly suspect the overlap between those 2 groups is very tiny

  • avatar
    Pelle Schultz

    I’m in the same boat (admittedly a very speedy one) as Ashy Larry. The new Euro-spec V70 has very similar stats to the last-gen V70R, and as my ’04 R ages (gracefully) I’m starting to wonder about its replacement.

    But the last-gen V70R (and all of the V70 models, as opposed to the XC70) sold very poorly in the US. Volvo’s choices of US model specs may seem illogical, but they unfortunately reflect the reality of the market. The base V70 sold in the US is just the lower-cost alternative to the XC70.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    MK, I agree, the XC70 is not “nimble” but I have to chalk that up to the 8.6″ of ground clearance and the lack of the previously available active suspension to tame the wild beast. The new V70 achieved “almost nimble” (which is quite a feat mind you) by setting the steering effort to “high,” suspension to “Advanced” and it of course requires the Euro-only T6 AWD which quells the torque steer demon and makes the front feel less “heavy.”

    As far as a comparison with the Passat, it would only be fair to compare the 3.6L 4Motion with the T6. In that comparo they stack up very well to one another. Volvo has the edge in build quality, although I do like the style of the Passat as well. The V70 is larger, has a 4″ longer wheelbase which does improve ride quality. The Passat’s slightly older Haldex design is not quite as fast as the Volvo, but still very good. Ride quality is excellent in both, but I do have to say I find the VW’s transmission to be lazy and slow to respond, I think a DSG as standard with the V6 would tip this balance firmly in VW’s favor. The T6 engine has an incredible torque curve which really places the driving experience in Volvo’s corner, the 3.6L V6 is a great engine, but it just can’t compete with an engine that cranks out 295lb-ft from 1500-4800RPM. Price points are ugly all the way around with the Passat V6 4Motion starting at a hair form $40K which is likely where a V70 T6 would start if it made it to the USA. It’s a close call and I think I’d have to have them both back to back to have a firm opinion, but mostly due to the fact that the V70 T6 is “younger” I’d give it the nudge, if it was here in the USA. If I was going out today looking for a 280 something HP wagon at a decent price with a good interior and AWD, the VW would be the best pick as it’s the only show in town.

  • avatar
    ireallylovemangoes

    Ashy Larry said “Beastwagons let us family guys serve our fatherly duties faithfully, while saving room for hoonage when the wife stays home.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I really like this car. While car manufacturers, including Volvo, are goofing around making silly “crossovers” the V70 is refreshing. No plastic crossover-ey cladding, no nomenclature referencing the Australian wilderness, and no jacked-up suspension to forge grassy cul-de-sac knolls. In the afternoon, whenever you see a day-school lined with Hummers, Subarus, Land Cruisers, GMC Denalis, seeing a Volvo S60 or V70 pull up only emphasizes how posturing and ridiculous these other vehicles are. Only Volvo, Audi and BMW are making proper wagons that make no excuses for being wagons. It would be nice if Volvo offered an R version and shave a second or two off of the 0-60. But really, this thing is going to sell like hotcakes to those who want a premium family car. This V70 looks smart and Volvos always feel like money well spent.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    thetopdog Actually my wife and I both really like the V70, comfortable, great utility in a non-SUV package, stylish(especially now). But the driving dynamics and power to weight ratio have been issues for us. Especially now after owning our Subaru that will do 0-60 in the high 5’s. I could never afford one new but a slightly used one is definately on my list in the near future after out 2nd child is born. The Subaru is already tight on long trips and with a second it will be even tighter, if not impossible with all the junk you have to bring with a newborn. And no the Subbie isn’t mine it’s my wifes car, she likes the way it drives and being able to give a little throttle input to get around the people not paying attention.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Redbarchetta :

    A super fast wagon may make sense for you and your wife but I still maintain that it the difference between an 8 second 0-60 time and a 6 second 0-60 time is highly irrelevant for the majority of potential V70 customers.

    The first 6 years I had my license I drove my mom’s 4cyl, automatic Camry that did 0-60 in around 10 seconds. There were probably no more than 20 or so times in those 6 years where I either pulled away from a red light and saw somebody pulling away faster, or when I was on the highway and saw somebody getting up to highway speed faster than myself

    Not to say that I couldn’t have used more power, but I was still able to drive faster than 95% of the people on the road in a car that did 0-60 in 10 seconds. Sure I had to floor it occasionally, but the point is that very few people out there have ever done a 6 second flat 0-60, even those who drive cars that are capable of the feat.

    While there are people like myself that happily drive cars that do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and average 11mpg in the city, I would say most of the people in the market for a V70 would never even do a 6 second 0-60 even if the car was capable of it

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    thetopdog :

    Remember we are talking about wagons here. Let stop refering to the 0 to 60 times and change the line of thiinking to power to load.

    If this thing is only pulling a 7.8 to 60 with only a driver aboard I would hate to think about how this car would feel with a decent or heaven forbid a full load.

    I could never pay $45,000 for anything that was just merely OK. For this amount of coin I expect to be handsomely compensated. This is a “luxury” price so who the hell wants a car that is going to pull like an 1980s Corolla when you have the wife, kids, and some luggage aboard.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    In reference to the 3.2L FWD: Fully loaded I don’t have any performance numbers, however with 2 kids, 2 adults and some junk in the trunk, acceleration was not as bad as I expected it would be. Is that a good thing? You decide. I think the variable cam and decent low end grunt combined with a relatively intelligent 6 speed transmission really help out the power shortage. Truth be told however, I have been in things much slower, and the engine never acted overworked, just lazy. The T6 however seemed unstoppable. I hate to draw a BMW comparison, but this truly does compare well to BMW’s 3.0L turbo six in terms of power delivery. If Volvo lightened the weight and bumped up the power to 310 HP or so, a V70 T6 AWD would compare well with a BMW 535xi.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    thetopdog you should go back and reread my first comment about hem being quick. You are probably right that most wagon owners could care less about how quick or fun to drive their cars are but to generalize and say that just because it’s a wagon you shouldn’t able able to have fun in it isn’t fair to those of us how like them just for that reason. Safe like a Volvo, fun like a sports sedan, utility like an SUV all rolled into one burrito. Sure they need the model for the masses but they could offer fun ride for the rest of us that want one, because I sure wont be buying one for that amount of money unless it has it.

  • avatar

    Volvo is known for safety. Volvo is known for wagons. Volvo is known for safe wagons. The brand identity is clear, focused and appealing.

    There is no reason why Volvo shouldn’t offer cheap stripper station wagons to station wagon rocket ships, and everything in between. In fact, offering JUST the in-between is the worst of all possible strategies.

    The problem here is NOT product. It’s marketing. Could Volvo sell an $83k station wagon? Yes. Is it more likely they’d sell a whole bunch of $25k strippers? Yes. Either way, where is the anti-SUV ad campaign (a la MINI)?

    It’s time to get on with it.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I think the dismal failure of cars like the VW Phaeton has shown that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. The idea of a high performance Volvo wagon sounds to me like the a luxury VW. It may well be a good car, but it probably won’t be a good business idea

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    thetopdog :

    Am I the only one surprised by the audacity of implying that a 7.8 second run to 60 is slow. In a Volvo station wagon?

    No, I’m with you as well. My 240 Estate barely eeks out 60 at around 11 seconds, but I have never considered it unsafe or had any problems on road trips hauling odd-shaped-things.

    As for the new V70, I am a bit confused as to what exactly Volvo is trying to accomplish with these very odd, disheartening trim packages. Doesn’t exactly make me want to hurry out and trade in my Volvo when I know Sven is getting all the stuff I can’t and want to have.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    where is the anti-SUV ad campaign (a la MINI)?

    Isn’t MINI getting ready to start making an SUV. Subaru had the anti SUV ads then jumped on the bandwagon and started selling one. Didn’t Volvo have ads warning about the rollover problems in SUV’s then they started selling one themselves. They should have stayed the wagon course and pushed the anti-SUV ad campaign you you suggested and they might be in a unique position right now. Ford probably had a hand in that not being an option though.

    I would be all over a stripped Volvo wagon with a torque deisel, if the price was right. I could live without all the electronic doodads, just give me the safety, utility, light weight driving dynamics at a good price. Roll-up windows, cloth seats, 5-speed, manual climate control and plenty of room in the back for a nice fishing/hunting/camping trip with the whole family or friends.

  • avatar
    kph

    Robert’s right, Volvo could have an opportunity here. I think it’s inevitable that wagons are going to make a comeback. Higher gas prices are turning people away from the SUV’s and larger CUV’s and more towards the passenger cars. And all the echo boomers driving Fits, Mazdaspeed3s, and WRX/STI wagons now are gonna get married and have kids in the next 5 years or so.

    On that note, if the C30 catches on with the younger crowd, Volvo could offer a V50R as a bridge to the rest of the brand.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    I commend Volvo for getting ranked so highly in CR’s perception studies, but I can’t help feeling they are not trying hard enough to scream ‘they are better. True everyone is getting 5 star crash ratings these days, so Volvo should be demonstrating that despite this they are safer in real world tests. Where’s the commercial on their incredible WHIPS whiplash prevention system? Why aren’t they stuffing more airbags in there than a mother-in-law convention? Not that they need more bags, but because everyone is boasting the most airbags in their class, that should be Volvo’s niche. I think that to stay king of safety, they need to talk the talk with some creative ads, and be agressive in adopting new safety technology like torax airbags for the rear (still missing, anyone at Volvo hear me?).

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Speaking of air bags or safety

    Having a GPS on the dashboard is an invitation to get rob in a growing THEFT crimes for the GPS or navigation systems. (don’t leave them inside your car or hide them inside your car)

    Connected to the dash?
    Don’t worry it will just take 15 secs for them to take it out.

    I know because my girlfriend’s GPS got stolen in her new Scion and it was built in.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Alex Dykes But Ford has the “Safest car in America”, the Taurus. And Ford owns Volvo. Funny how Volvo hasn’t been pushing how safe their cars are in their ads in a while just the stupid nanny-tech. Hmm wonder if there is anything going on there. I really wish they would just sell Volvo.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Robert Farago :
    January 11th, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Volvo is known for safety. Volvo is known for wagons. Volvo is known for safe wagons. The brand identity is clear, focused and appealing.

    There is no reason why Volvo shouldn’t offer cheap stripper station wagons to station wagon rocket ships, and everything in between. In fact, offering JUST the in-between is the worst of all possible strategies.

    The problem here is NOT product. It’s marketing. Could Volvo sell an $83k station wagon? Yes. Is it more likely they’d sell a whole bunch of $25k strippers? Yes. Either way, where is the anti-SUV ad campaign (a la MINI)?

    It’s time to get on with it.

    IF and a big IF Volvo was still an independent company maybe this approach could work. But in reality Volvos biggest problem is that it is still sandwiched in the middle of Ford’s big brand fuck-up!

    Everything postive you can suggest that Volvo do will only have a negative effect on the rest of the Ford auto Empire. Remember in Fords mind Volvo is an upmarket brand that is meant to have a full portfolio of car AND SUVs to compete with BMW and Audi.

    Volvo can’t make less expensive producte because they might hurts sales of the other Ford brands like Mazda, and Ford. I guess Ford is reluctant to have Volvo move up market because that might hurt Range Rover sales (i’m sorry but does Ford still own RR?).

    No matter what move they try to do to imprive Volvos standings it is still only a niche player that is very vulnerable to any countermoves by the big successful players. So even if Volvo was successful make the wagon mainstream in America it is a given that Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinti, and Honda/ Acura will eat their lunch on short order. All have excellent products that they can convert into wagons in a jiffy.

    An Anti-SUV campaign in the USA would only hurt Volvo’s one successful product here, the XC90 as well as the many other SUVS and crossovers that the Ford Empire need to unload.

    When all is said and done PAG will considered one of the biggest mistakes ever made by any company in any line of business.

  • avatar

    I second redbarchetta on the styling. I especially liked the old 940 and 740, which were the cleanest of the boxy Volvos. The style was very distinctive, and absolutely fit the cars’ character. These were in my opinion very nice looking, and I suspect they will be classics 15-20 years from now.

    I loved the S80 when it first came out, but the look very quickly wore out for me. The new Volvos are OK, but not great, as if styling just isn’t a priority anymore. (They’re not as bad as your average Japanese or American car though.) The 940/740 is great, and the old Volvos, from the ’50s and ’60s, were great.

  • avatar
    mfisher

    I’m a little interested in wagons but I’m pretty disappointed in the loss of transmission choices from 2007 to 2008 in the V70. No more manual transmission, just an automatic, and the only engine offered gets a meager, OPEC-endorsed 16/24 mpg (down 20% from last year’s base model’s 22/29mpg).

  • avatar
    Nue

    Come to think of it, does Ford even have an actual upmarket brand with two of it’s PAG members on the verge of being sold? And with Volvo’s current trajectory, safety AND luxury, it seems that the past couple of years of investment in brand perception will have more or less go down the drain should they start moving down market, however weak the luxury aspect is now. Perhaps it’s better to cut their losses now hah.

    The case of MINI’s success lies in both the product and marketing of the make, as both were rather strong. With Volvo, I highly doubt ANY kind of marketing would convince us Americans that wagons are chic and cool to ride around in. MINI had that part laid before it, offering numerous amounts of customization and marketing to the young and fashion conscious, which I believe Volvo is attempting to emulate with it’s own C30 line. These cars are 3 door hatchbacks. Sexy and attractive ones imo. The two words that people will be hard-pressed to say about wagons, excluding gearheads as we’ll love anything. Even with proper marketing. Maybe this’ll work out for one of their newest additions to their lineup but then theres the question of how to market the rest of it’s lineup, bar the C70.

    Toyota, in an attempt to lower it’s target market age, attempted to employ a two pronged tactic, Project Genesis, with the introduction of the then new Celica, MR-S and Echo to garner a younger fan base which would then move on to other Toyota products and then onwards to Lexus. They failed of course, leading to the birth of Scion. Granted, the cars were marketed rather heavily during the time period as I recall and the products themselves weren’t terrible by any means, just… rather unattractive except for maybe the Celica. Mind you I’d have taken any of those cars quite simply cuz at heart, I’m most likely a Toyota enthusiast. Now that I think about it, I’m almost ashamed to think that the people of my generation are so easily sold on things that we deem cool and shiny and glittery. Yes the Xb was bought by a relative large number of baby boomers but the vast majority of them were purchased by the younger crowd all about “tricking” out their rides, evident by the fact that Scion has the youngest buyer age out of the entire industry. Somewhere, go has replaced been replaced by show. Frugality? hahahaha

    So now back to the V70. With the cute butt C30 leading the charge of supposedly affordable and flashy Volvos, the brand portfolio is still as messy as it originally was when they were picked up by Ford. Either they continue to chisel at a luxury perception or they go for broke with the C30 game plan. Volvo simply doesn’t have the time nor money to play it out.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    ” … grow old as you attempt to reach 60 from a standstill (7.8 seconds)”

    And this is part what is wrong with the majority of modern automotive journalism. There are basically zero real world responsible driving situations where sub 10 second 0-60 times are in any way insufficient.

    V70s are going to be used in the real world by real people, most of them decent responsible folks. Few of them will ever actually make a full throttle run from 0-60.

    “OPEC-endorsed 16/24 mpg (down 20% from last year’s base model’s 22/29mpg).”

    Now that is a big problem. Going significantly backwards on fuel economy with a new car introduced in 2008 is beyond stupid. Volvo had a good thing going with it’s unique 5 cylinder engine in both normal and turbocharged form. Switching to the straight 6 was a bad move.

  • avatar
    Paul Milenkovic

    About the going backwards on fuel economy. Maybe it has to do with the revision of the EPA mileage for 2008? You know have to do a mental calculation from person years back to dog years on the gas mileage numbers for comparison.

    I had an editorial about the new EPA numbers, and I guess I didn’t get my point across. A “hyper-miler” driver can always achieve or maybe even exceed the EPA while the ol’ lead foot rest of us will never get the EPA numbers, no matter how many times they adjust the length of the first-down chains.

    If it were up to me, I would keep the EPA numbers where they are at. The EPA numbers are for an arbitrary condition, but they are a highly standardized condition, and that the standards changed between 2007 and 2008 means no one knows whether car gas mileage is up or down.

  • avatar
    mfisher

    @Paul Milenkovic:

    About the going backwards on fuel economy. Maybe it has to do with the revision of the EPA mileage for 2008?

    That’s a good point, and one that I didn’t consider when I wrote. However, when you consider that the size of the engine on the base model went from 2.4 to 3.2L, the HP was increased from 168 to 235 hp, and the torque from 166 to 236 ft/lb, it becomes somewhat clear that the decision was made to optimize for speed/power performance rather than efficiency. Reading the comments of others, it is clear that there is demand for that, but my opinion is that it is a poor decision to not offer a more fuel-economical engine as an alternative.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    BEAT,

    In regards to the Nav system, Volvo’s navs are not connected to the dash. Volvo is (I think) the original Jack-In-The-Box nav system, the screen rises out of the top of the dash, and descends into the dash when the car is off. The controls are on the steering wheel, the electronics are in the trunk and there’s a wireless remote control so the rest of the car can have some fun with it as well. If someone broke into the car they might (after considerable fiddling) get the screen out, but it would really do no good at all without the rest of the stuff. Cars with double-din Nav systems that are one integrated unit are the most susceptible to this sort of theft.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I want my premium cow and I want it NOW! I hope Volvo gets their lineup in order by 2010 when my XC90 lease expires. I would love one of these.

    Nice review, Alex.

  • avatar
    petergottlieb

    I just bought a U.S. Spec 2008 V70. At low RPMs, it can feel sluggish, but step on the gas like you mean it and it accelerates like it means it.

    My attraction to the car was that it could fulfill several missions very well:

    1. Haul kids
    2. Haul outdoor activity stuff (canoe, etc.)
    3. Provide comfort on long highway trips
    4. Not be a minivan or SUV.

    So far, so good.


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