Volvo S70 / V70

For decades Volvo cars used to be big and bulky, until the arrival of 850. 850 is a very dynamical car indeed. It injected a youthful image to the company, helped it to overcome the sales crisis in the early 90's. Especially is the 850T5 / 850T5R / 850R, whose strong turbo engine and brilliant handling represents the death of the old Volvo age. 

In spite of edgy, 850 by no means looks boring. The overall shape was evoluted from 740 series, but different finish make it a lot more stylish, simultaneously preserve the feeling of solidity. In terms of safety, 850 won't let you down. It incorporates a so-called "SIPS" (Side Impact Protection System) which is a structure around the A, B, C pillars and floor pan to absorb side impact.  

All 850s are powered by 5 cylinders engines of various combinations - 10 valves 2.0 litres, 20 valves 2.0 litres, 20 valves 2.0 litres turbo, 10 valves 2.5 litres, 20 valves 2.5 litres, 20 valves 2.3 litres turbo and a low-pressure 2.5 litres turbo. These responsive units cooperate perfectly with the unique "Delta-link" rear suspensions, provide dynamics that people never imagine a Volvo could has.  

Inside, 850 has sufficient space, especially is head room. Estate version is particularly famous of loading space. Overall quality is quite good, but of course not in the same league as Mercedes and Audi.  

Now, according to the new naming policy, 850 was renamed to S70, while 850 T5 now calls S70 T5. Apart from slightly restyled body panels, they remain unchanged in bone and muscle. Of course, after 5 years, You won't expect it to lead the latest generation of executive sedans such as Audi A6 and BMW 5 series. However, the safety image and distinctive Volvo appearance still distinguish itself from others. 

The above report was last updated in 1998. All Rights Reserved.

S70 T5

It is quite annoying to hear another new name. The original hottest version 850 called 850 T5, with 225hp 20 valves turbocharged inline-5. Meanwhile, Volvo tuned it up to 240hp and called it 850 T5R, then became 250hp 850R. When the whole range was renamed to S70, it became S70R, but also called S70 T5 in some markets. No matter which name, the specification was basically unchanged.  

S70 T5 is a satisfying sports sedan. The 240hp turbo engine (250hp for manual transmission) feels very strong starting from 2,000rpm. Handling and grip are also impressive, although slightly let down by mild torque steering. All-wheel-drive version might cure this problem. 

If its dynamic is not class-leading, then its cabin must be. Very roomy, very classy, very comfortable, with big boot to match. Estate version, V70 T5, even offers incredible loading space. 

The above report was last updated in 1998. All Rights Reserved.

V70 XC - Volvo's response to the SUV fashion

Estate is the strongest area of Volvo, take the V70 and you will know why - the loading area is not only huge but also has a flat floor without obstructed by the wheel arches. I can hardly imagine which estate could be better.  

However, estate is not popular in North America. It is SUV that dominating that market. Therefore Volvo created a pseudo SUV called V70 XC ( Cross Country ) from the V70. Modification is simple but the result is eye-catching. Engineers raised the ride height to 166mm by using taller structs and higher profile tyres, then install a SUV-style front and rear bumpers. Power train and transmission come from the V70 AWD which appeared a year earlier, that means a 190hp low pressure turbocharged 2.5 litres straight 5 mated with a part-time 4WD. Normally it runs like any FWD car because 95% of the torque is transferred to the front wheels. When front wheels lose traction, the rear wheels will obtain up to 95% torque, depending on the situation.  

As you can see, this is the fastest and cheapest way for Volvo to enter the SUV market, next year, Audi will follow this trend by launching a A6 Avant-based SUV called "Allroad". BMW will also unveil a 4x4 based on the 5 series. 

The above report was last updated in 1998. All Rights Reserved.


Front-engined, Fwd
L / W / H / WB: 4720 / 1760 / 1400 / 2660 mm
Inline-5, dohc, 4v/cyl.
2435 c.c.
170 hp
162 lbft
F: strut / R: multi-link
195 / 60 R15
1440 kg
Top speed
127 mph*
0-60 mph
9.7 sec*
0-100 mph
26.2 sec*
* Tested by Autocar

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