Volvo XC70 - It's a Crossover
, Sun, 21 Feb 2010 01:37:19 PST
CHICAGO - Yet again, I've been proven wrong. When I first got a look at Volvo's XC70 crossover, I thought it was a mere station wagon. After a short week in the XC70, I quickly dumped that notion.
Don't get it twisted, the XC70 does look like a station wagon. But that's where the similarity ends. My test vehicle was the XC70 T6 AWD. It had a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that made 281 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque.
Mated to a six speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability, the maximum torque was on tap from just 1,500 rpm and remained available all the way up the rev range. I was able to accelerate quickly when needed from just about any speed.
On a really quick trip to Chicago, I found the XC70 T6 AWD very drivable. It's all wheel drive system gave the car superb handling characteristics. The powertrain was smooth and very quiet. And the powered pour onto the payment without a hitch. What's more, the car accelerated in an instant.
It had the feel of a luxury vehicle rather than a premium car as Volvo bills its vehicles. There was very little road or wind noise. And that belied the vehicle's speed (75 mph). I let down the window a few times and when I let it up, the difference in terms of silence was distinctive.
The XC70 had incorporated Volvo's new Scandinavian sense of luxury that I first encountered in Sweden in the S80 flagship sedan. Clean lines, beveled surfaces and what appeared to be natural wood. That means wood that that had a flat lacquer, it wasn't shiny and it really worked.
My XC70's interior had an ambience. It was comfortable and self contained. The interior was beige and the wood inlays were light brown. It matched nicely. The seats, another Volvo strong suit, were comfortable front and back. And when I opened the tail gate to store toss in my traveling gear, I was surprised at how much room there was with the second row seats deployed.
My only complaint was that the Bluetooth system would not connect and turn my compatible cell phone into a hands free car phone. The system indicated that it was connected (my phone flashed blue) but it was not. I was on a short week so I did not have the chance to see if I was following the connection sequence correctly.
Some Bluetooth systems connect intuitively. With others, you've got to plow through the owner's manual. It seems the XC70 is somewhere in the middle of those two scenarios.
I was peeved that the satellite radio was not connected either. My test vehicle had no navigation system but there was an in dash six disc CD player, an auxiliary jack for an iPod and adjustable bi-Xenon headlamps.
Driving around the Windy City, the XC70 was very maneuverable. It was nimble enough to deal with the quick lane changes needed on urban streets. But the XC70's size meant that I passed up a few parking spaces because they were too small, or the XC70 was too big.
Still, when it started raining, the all-wheel-drive system gave me sure treaded traction. The high seating position made me feel a bit more secure, too. And that seating position is what changed my opinion of the car from it's a station wagon to it really is a crossover vehicle.
The XC70 simply set higher. In fact, I kept adjusting how I got out of the car because it always felt that I was driven a car rather than a sport utility. To me, the XC70 would serve folks well who needed the sturdiness of a sport utility but the sophistication of a car.