V70, Volvo masters

The new wagon is aimed as a high-end al­ter­na­tive to large off-road­ers, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News -

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.

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