You'll Like The 2008 Volvo XC70 If...
If your next vehicle needs such off-road attributes as all-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control, but a bulky SUV doesn't fit your image, the 2008 Volvo XC70 is the car for you.
You May Not Like The 2008 Volvo XC70 If...
If you need seating for six or a price tag starting in the $20,000 range, a vehicle like the Jeep Commander or Subaru Outback is a better choice.
Despite a trend toward large crossover SUVs, Volvo's third-generation XC70 reiterates the Swedish manufacturer's commitment to the station wagon set. With only a handful of premium brand wagons available to consumers, the XC70 is poised to capture both safety-conscious families and active-lifestyle individuals.
Despite its rugged exterior, the 2008 Volvo XC70's interior is one of the most elegant and comfortable cabins ever to grace a Volvo vehicle. The clean and simple dash design puts controls within easy reach of both driver and passenger, while Volvo's new signature open-back center console adds a touch of style not usually associated with the family wagon. A number of options, including the Blind Spot Information System and Adaptive Cruise Control, make driving easier. Families who have outgrown child safety seats will appreciate the optional two-stage child booster seats (rear outboard seating), which allow young children a higher perch, putting them within coverage of the side-curtain airbags.
The 2008 Volvo XC70 touts a stylish yet rugged exterior. Gone is the tacked-on side cladding, replaced by a more streamlined treatment covering the molded bumpers and lower door panels. Volvo has also lowered the rear glass beyond that of the side windows for better visibility and integrated the taillights into the tailgate to create a wider opening. An aggressive front fascia adds a sporty feel to the XC70's demeanor, while helpful features such as an optional power tailgate confirm the XC70's premium luxury-car status.
The XC70's S80-based platform delivers a stable, quiet and controlled ride that belies the vehicle's off-road abilities. The 3.2-liter in-line six is a capable powerplant, but feels like it could use a bit more oomph, perhaps from something along the line of Volvo's turbocharged models. The XC70 handles better than any truck-based SUV we've driven, but the added height and big wheels and tires don't return the same feel one might experience from a V70 or V50 wagon. Leave dry pavement, and the XC70's attitude changes. Gravel roads, deep mud and slushy snow prove little match for the XC70's all-wheel drive abilities. The Hill Descent Control feature is invaluable for both novice and experienced off-roaders. Once engaged, the system uses the vehicle's braking system to maintain a constant speed of around six-miles per hour, a useful tool when descending steep and slippery slopes.
The 2008 Volvo XC70's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts under $38,000. Add in the Climate Package and the 650-watt Dynaudio stereo and the price jumps to just over $40,000. With navigation, DVD entertainment and all the other bells and whistles, a fully-loaded XC70 tops out around $50,000. The less-expensive Subaru Outback is nearly as capable but not as luxurious. A truck-based SUV, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Land Rover LR2, can match the XC70's off-road abilities but lacks the car-like ride and handling, not to mention the XC70's stellar safety rating. Before you shop, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. It shows the typical transaction price others are paying for their XC70s in your area. As for resale, the XC70 is expected to retain a better-than-average resale value over a five year period; however, it trails behind the Subaru Outback, Audi A6 Avant and Land Rover LR2.
Every 2008 Volvo XC70 features a 3.2-liter engine, six-speed automatic transmission and Instant Traction all-wheel drive. Other notable standard features include Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Hill Descent Control (keeps the vehicle at approximately six miles per hour when descending steep grades), front and rear skid plates, heated side mirrors, dual-zone electronic climate control, eight-way power driver's seat with memory and lumbar support, 16-inch alloy wheels and a 160-watt AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and auxiliary input. Standard safety features include front, front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS).
Stowing groceries has never been easier thanks to the power tailgate, which opens and closes via a push-button key fob. Volvo's Adaptive Cruise Control uses radar to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Other options of note include heated leather seats, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), remote engine start, rear seat child boosters, rain-sensing wipers, eight-way power passenger's seat, Bi-Xenon headlights with washers, navigation, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth hands-free communication, dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system, power glass sunroof, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a Dynaudio Premium Sound system which includes a 650-watt amplifier, six-disc CD changer, Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound and 12 speakers.
Hill Descent Control
With the push of a button, the XC70's Hill Descent Control manages the steepest descents, holding the car to a near crawl without the need for driver intervention.}
Anyone caught in the rain with two arms full of groceries will appreciate this feature. The power tailgate can be activated via a button on the remote key fob.
Under the Hood
Volvo's 3.2-liter in-line six is a strong engine, but delivers only acceptable performance in the 4,000-plus pound XC70. Off-the-line acceleration is brisk, but passing power could be better. On the flip side, fuel economy is good for this class and engine noise and vibration are barely detectable from inside the car.
3.2-liter in-line six
235 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22
Volvo's XC70 wagon, formerly known as the Cross Country, occupies a big place in a very small field. Rugged wagons capable of off-road ventures are few and far between, and with the Audi A6 entrant long gone, Subaru's Outback becomes the closest rival. Good as it is, the Outback can't match the Volvo's luxurious premium-brand panache, nor can it equal the XC70's long list of standard and optional features. If a crossover SUV is more car than you care for, and you don't require three-row seating, the all-new XC70's artful blend of beauty and brawn (not to mention safety) make it ideal for the active family's lifestyle.