2008 Volvo V70 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 22, 2008

The 2008 Volvo V70 is the modern interpretation of the legendary Volvo wagons, with just as much utility but a lot more style and comfort.

As the automotive experts at TheCarConnection.com assembled this review covering the 2008 Volvo V70, they surveyed reviews from some of the best sources. Then to make the review especially useful, TheCarConnection.com’s editors included their own driving experience with the new V70.

The roomy V70 station wagon is now essentially a variant of Volvo’s largest sedan, the S80, and it’s been completely redesigned for 2008. The 2008 Volvo V70 has bolder styling on the outside, more fashionable appointments inside, and new safety features, including integrated child booster seats.

A 3.2-liter, 238-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine is now the only choice offered on the V70, replacing the five-cylinder engines used in last year’s model. A six-speed automatic with a manual-select mode is the single transmission, and the 2008 Volvo V70 comes only with front-wheel drive.

Inside, the 2008 Volvo V70 gets the same very fashionable instrument-panel design that’s used in the S80 sedan, with its simplified, horizontal layout complemented by a "floating" center stack that borrows its look from flat-screen monitors and high-end audio systems. Instead of using complex screen-driven controls, Volvo has laid out the climate controls in particular in a very intuitive way, and the available navigation system’s screen tucks neatly inside the dash when not in use.

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The V70’s somewhat boxy exterior affords an impressive amount of interior space, including an especially versatile arrangement for its rear seats, which have enough room for three adults and fold forward flat in a single motion. It’s also split into three sections to optimize the mix of cargo and passenger space. For the smallest passengers, the second row can be outfitted with integrated two-position booster seats—a world first, Volvo says—that eliminate the need for aftermarket strap-ins. The cargo space itself is very impressive, and under the flat cargo floor, there’s another hidden compartment good for smaller items. Up front, the seats in the 2008 Volvo V70 are among the best in any vehicle, for taller occupants especially; the standard units are firm yet comfortable, while the available perforated heated and cooled options are definitely worth the extra money.

The V70’s ride is quite soft and absorbent, making for good ride comfort even on rough roads, and its interior is hushed. The setup doesn’t feel very sporty, however, with steering that’s light and precise but without much feedback. The six-cylinder engine gives adequate but not particularly fast acceleration, though the transmission can balk when a downshift is needed for hills.

The 2008 Volvo V70 comes in a single, very well-equipped model. Standard features include heated mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, dual-zone climate control, and a power driver’s seat with memory settings. Major options—which can get pricey, as they’re arranged into larger packages—include a navigation system, active bi-xenon headlamps, a power moonroof, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking assist, fog lamps, a power tailgate, heated seats, heated wiper nozzles, headlamp washers, and a dual-screen rear DVD system.

As many have come to expect from Volvo, high-tech safety features are also in the offing for the 2008 Volvo V70. A Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) detects when a vehicle is beside and just behind the vehicle and warns the driver with a light at the base of the side-view mirror. Also included with adaptive cruise control in the Collision Avoidance Package is a collision warning system that will apply the brakes when a crash is anticipated. There’s also a keyless entry and ignition system called the Personal Car Communicator, which will actually detect the heartbeat of an intruder and warn the owner at a distance on the keyfob, and Driver Alert Control, a system that follows lane markings and warns the driver if it suspects concentration is waning and it’s time for a coffee break.

The 2008 Volvo V70 has not yet been crash tested in North America, but it’s loaded with other safety features such as front side airbags, side-curtain bags, active front head restraints, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.

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