V70, Volvo masters
The new wagon is aimed as a high-end alternative to large off-roaders, writes NEIL McDONALD
NOT so long ago Volvo had the prestige-wagon market sewn up. Before 2000, Volvo V70 wagon sales accounted for a sizeable slice of Volvo Cars Australia’s volume.
But as carmakers moved away from traditional wagons and into pseudo off-roaders, Volvo chased a new market.
It gave consumers the five-seat XC70 and seven-seat XC90, leaving the V70 trailing in the sales stakes.
In launching its new V70, Volvo Cars Australia managing director Alan Desselss says the company has tried to position the new V70 away from its traditional family wagon role and present it more as a highend alternative to large off-roaders.
The V70 has the same all-wheeldrive system as the XC70 but will be sold as one model only, the turbocharged 3.0-litre T6.
Positioning the V70 in the local line-up has been a challenge, Desselss says. Because of the success of the XC70 and XC90, the company had toyed with the notion the V70 may not be needed.
‘‘But customer feedback told us people wanted this car,’’ he says.
Desselss says the V70 is a relevant model, despite a conservative sales forecast of 120 a year.
‘‘It certainly is an important car,’’ he says. ‘‘We’ve positioned the V70 above the XC range for the family buyer who wants more performance and luxury.
‘‘The V70 has a bit more of a sporty edge as a halo car.’’
The V70 is based on the S80 sedan, the petrol 3.0-litre T6 mated to a six-speed sequential ‘‘Geartronic’’ automatic driving all four wheels.
The six-cylinder sits sideways in the engine bay and the location of the airconditioning compressor and power-steering pump behind the engine in the space above the gearbox provides a compact format.
The turbo is a twin-scroll device that allows quick response low down in the rev-range and excellent midrange overtaking ability.
Desselss says there are no plans for other petrol or even a turbodiesel engine for the V70.
‘‘I can’t imagine there would be a demand for a V70 diesel,’’ Desselss says. ‘‘The XC answers that.’’
Priced at $67,950, the V70 sits fractionally above the XC70 D5 LE, but the Volvo boss says it will attract a different type of buyer.
As expected of a Volvo, there is a raft of passive and active safety equipment and the expected luxury features such as leather, heated front seats, climate control, auto dimming rear-view mirror, 18-inch alloys, automatic tailgate, active bi-xenon headlights and six-stacker CD.
The T6 also has Volvo’s active chassis technology, called Four-C.
This is essentially an active suspension system with three-mode damper settings — comfort, sport or advanced.
The system resists the car’s tendency to squat, dip or roll under hard acceleration, hard braking or emergency steering manoeuvres.
Speed-dependent power steering is an option, and power steering effort has three levels of assistance — low, medium and high.
The luggage area is a work of art. There is 555 litres of space with the rear seats in place, 70 litres more than the previous generation V70, adjustable anchorage points on aluminium rails and a 40/20/40 split rear seatback.
The V70 and XC70 share much in styling terms but the V70 looses all the plastic cladding, high-riding attitude and looks more conventional.
Only the stylish 18-inch alloys and AWD badge on the back give a hint of the car’s performance.
The deep rear glass echoes the C30 hatch and allows excellent rear visibility when reversing.
A reversing camera, combined with parking sensors are available as an option.
Wagons ho: the new Volvo V70 is moving away from the family-wagon role.