Volvo V70

The world is getting more confusing now: a 323i not powered by 2.3 engine, CL600’s V12 does not displace 6 litres, Z8 not based on 8-series but 5-series, and now Volvo is telling us the new V70 is not the estate version of S70 ! not even after the sedan is replaced next year.  

Count down: 80 - the flagship executive sedan without estate version; 70 - estate that looks nearly identical to the 80 but without sedan version; 60 - the even smaller sedan to be unveiled next year. All of them are derived from the same platform. In terms of dimensions, V70 is 30 mm narrower and 35 mm shorter in wheelbase than the S80, therefore Volvo refused to call it V80 instead. Well, is it enough to distinguish them ? 35 mm isn’t quite enough to insert two fingers into. So, in my opinion, V70 is still an S80 estate, though with a bit more deviations than industrial norm. And you know, the S80 is the best Volvo ever made. 

V70 might be even better, thanks to tweaks to steering and the extra cargo space. Despite of the shorter wheelbase, it still offers a spacious cabin as well as the same ergonomic and nice-looking dashboard as the sedan it based. Switches and controls locate at the most logical positions and are easy to operate. The light trimming deliver a warm feeling that an estate desperately need. Comfortable seats, class-leading safety (with anti-whiplash, side inflatable curtain airbags etc.) are other strength of this car, as in S80. 

Volvo revised the bushings of front MacPherson struts to reduce friction, hence delivering more steering feel than any other Volvo. Range-topping model T5 provides handling overshadowing most rivals bar BMW 5-series Touring and Mercedes E-class. It’s not tuned to be a really hard-edge sports wagon, just inject more power and dynamic while retaining good ride comfort, an evidence is given by the relatively high profile tyres of 215/55ZR16. Despite of the lack of AWD, wheelspin and torque steer are not an issue. 

T5’s powerplant is the familiar 2319 c.c. straight 5, with 20 valves and high pressure turbocharger. Maximum power is 250 hp for both 5-speed manual and 5-speed Geartronic sem-auto gearbox (old V70 / S70 T5 had 240hp for auto). Maximum torque of 243 lbft occurs between 2,400 and 5,200 rpm. Turbo lag is not eliminated, but once the rev is above 2,000 rpm, it spins linearly towards 6,200 rpm cut-off. Performance is fast for an estate, but not in the league of Subaru Legacy GT-B or Mitsubishi Legnum VR4. Auto Bild magazine recorded around 7.5 sec for 0-60 (7.9 sec for 0-62) for manual transmission car. Automatic version is even slower - Autocar measured 9.0 sec. 

Instead of T5, my choice is the light pressure turbocharged 2.4. It has been upgraded with continuous variable valve timing at the inlet valves, and shorter pistons for lower friction and less reciprocating mass. Moreover, the light pressure turbo provides superior drivability at low speed - maximum torque of 210 lbft occurs from a lowly 1,800 rpm to 5,000 rpm. It also runs smoother than the T5 engine. 5-speed Geartronic is delight to be shifted in manual mode - it’s crisp and responsive. 

The above report was last updated on 28 Feb 2000. All Rights Reserved.


V70R receives the same treatment as S60R. They share the same 300hp engine, 4WD system and Four-C adaptive damping, among others. The biggest difference is of course their bodyshells. Just like other V70, its cabin is considerably bigger, no matter shoulder room, headroom and rear legroom. Most important, V70R is a practical estate car as well as a performance machine. 

While S60R lives under the shadow of M3 and S4, V70R faces less competition - the estate version of Audi S4 and Mercedes C32 AMG are still better driver’s car than the Volvo, but neither of them are as practical as a cargo mover. They simply can’t match the Volvo’s cargo volume and ease of loading. The latter also has a much bigger cabin. 

Predictably, V70R is 60kg heavier than its sedan sister while the bodyshell is not as rigid, therefore there is a little bit trade-off in performance and handling. Most buyers are likely to choose a 5-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox - with Tiptronic-style manual override - instead of the 6-speed manual gearbox. As the automatic has limited torque capacity, the engine management is remapped to deliver no more than 258 lbft of torque, compare with the manual’s 295 lbft. This hamper performance further. Now 0-60mph takes a claimed 7.4 second. Not quite worth the "R" badge. 

The above report was last updated on 29 Dec 2002. All Rights Reserved.


V70 2.4 LPT
V70 T5
Front-engined, Fwd
Front-engined, Fwd.
Front-engined, 4wd.
Size (L / W / H / WB) mm
4710 / 1800 / 1488 / 2755
Inline-5, dohc, 4v/cyl,
VVT, turbo
Inline-5, dohc, 4v/cyl,
Inline-5, dohc, 4v/cyl,
VVT, turbo
2435 c.c.
2319 c.c.
2521 c.c.
200 hp
250 hp
300 hp
210 lbft
243 lbft
258 lbft
5-speed semi-auto
5M / 5-speed semi-auto
5-speed semi-auto
F: strut / R: multi-link
205 / 55 R16
215 / 55 ZR16
235/40 ZR18
1600 kg
1600 kg (est)
Top speed
139 mph*
155 mph (limited)
0-60 mph
7.5 sec**  / 9.0 sec* 
7.4 sec (claimed)
0-100 mph
23.2 sec*
* Tested by Autocar on 5A car
** Tested by Auto Bild on 5M car

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