by J.T. Hills -
SGN Contributing Writer
- XC70 T6 with the 3.0 Turbocharged six-cylinder engine is a much-needed new trim level for 2009
- Excellent all-wheel-drive capabilities
- Functional and elegant interior
- Love it or hate it exterior body cladding
The Volvo XC70 was completely redesigned for the 2008 model year. For 2009, Volvo added a new 3.0-liter Turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that increases the horsepower to 281. Based on the Volvo V70 station wagon platform, the Cross Country (XC) was added in 1997 as a version of the V70 wagon. In 2002 the V70 Cross Country became its own separate model line for the 2003 model year, reborn as the XC70. The XC70 has more of a SUV appearance, with higher ground clearance, and all-wheel-drive offroad capabilities. After a week with the 2008 Volvo XC70, I’ve compiled a brass-tacks list of highly technical scientific data based upon observations, experimentation, tabulations, inspections and so forth. Here we go:
It’s big, it’s beautiful, I love it
What’s great about the Volvo XC70 is that it’s so refined. There’s a lot that went into the details, from the fine stitching in the leather upholstery, the well-thought-out ergonomics of the dash, the flawless fit and finish, and the fantastic sound of the Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound audio system. I also like the functionality of the XC70; you can easily load up the back with boxes, groceries or holiday presents with enough room left over to carry five adults.
Being a Volvo, safety is always the first priority in the design process. In addition to the all-wheel-drive system with instant traction, the Volvo comes with a long list of standard safety features that include eight different airbags, dynamic stability traction control system, a whiplash protection system, and four-wheel, power-assisted disc brakes with an antilock breaking system. Sure, safety isn’t really all that sexy, but I find that the older you get and the more money you make, the more you tend to want to stick around.
Last spring, when I first tested the current generation XC70, it was equipped with the 235-hp, 3.2-liter inline-six, which I found a bit anemic to power a car this big. For 2009, Volvo added the 3.0-liter, 24-valve Turbocharged inline-six cylinder with 281 hp of power and 295 lb-ft. of torque. What a huge performance improvement. Not saying that the 3.2-liter sucked – um, okay, it sucked; it was a bit of a brick. The 3.0 T6 really is preferable with only an insignificant drop in gas mileage, 22 mpg highway versus 23.
Fortunately – or unfortunately – I got to test the XC70 in the snow; the wilds of West Seattle where three or four inches fell while I was having dinner. So I wasn’t crossing some mountain pass, but going up and down these hills around here isn’t much fun, even with just a couple of inches on the ground. The Volvo just stuck to the road and got me right back up to Queen Anne. I don’t even think it slid, it just kind of charged along. You know what, though? In the cocoon-like cabin of the XC70 with its heated seats, all-wheel-drive, and heavy, stuck-to-the-road feel, I felt safe, like I could plow through traffic at 70-ish miles per hour – better to get through those icy patches quicker than slower – and get home in one piece. That, in essence, is what is great about these cars. The all-wheel-drive system handles immaculately, as does the seamless six-speed automatic transmission.
OK, for a before-tax price of $46,985, what do you get?
The base price for a Volvo XC70 T6 AWD is $39,500, which means popular upgrades are expensive – worth it, but expensive. A quick look at the favorites includes:
- 3.0-liter Turbocharged inline six
- ULEV II (Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle)
- Six-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift logic
- Permanent all-wheel-drive with instant traction
- Six-airbag supplemental restraint system
- Side-door impact beams
- ABS brakes
- Traction control
- Stability control
Comfort and Convenience
- Dual zone climate control
- Eight-way power driver’s seat
- Steering-wheel-mounted controls
- Trip computer
- Power windows, door locks
- Metallic paint ($525)
- Premium Package: Power glass moonroof, leather seating surfaces, power passenger seat, inside rear view mirror with compass, Homelink integrated garage door opener, modern wood interior décor inlays ($2,995)
- Climate Package: Heated front seats, rain sensor windshield wipers, high-pressure headlight cleaning, heated windshield washer nozzles, dual integrated child booster seats
- Technology Package: Dual Xenon headlights with active bending light, Dynaudio Premium sound system with Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound, rear seat headphone jacks and audio controls, SIRIUS Satellite Radio ($3,170)
- Destination and delivery ($795)