- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

Whether your destination is across the country or simply across town, Volvo has an ideal means for transporting you and your family. It's the V70 XC Wagon.
At a time when the popularity of sport utility vehicles is seen everywhere, Volvo offers a station wagon that can do just about everything an SUV can do. With all-wheel drive, it can take on off-road hills without having to shift into four-wheel drive. The best part about AWD is that it is always engaged and available in case the road becomes unexpectedly slippery.
Volvos are built in a Scandinavian country where snow-covered roads are a way of life and AWD is a must-have feature. When the V70 XC senses that the front drive wheels have lost traction, it immediately delivers power to all four wheels, enabling the vehicle to remain on course. In addition, this model also offers as standard equipment Stability Traction Control avoiding loss of control if the AWD can't handle a quick zigzag situation.
What I liked most about the V70 XC is its carlike comfort. Although some SUVs offer a luxurious ride, there is nothing better than sitting in a vehicle with a lower center of gravity. From the driver seat forward, the comparison to a luxury sedan is apt. Even getting in and out of the V70 XC is the same as entering and exiting a car.
Another enjoyable feature is the V70 XC's acceleration. Under the hood is a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine that produces a modest 197 horsepower. But touch the accelerator and this car takes off because of a turbocharged engine that produces 210 foot-pounds of torque in an instant. Better yet, peak horsepower ranges anywhere from 800 to 5,000 rpm.
For even better performance, the five-speed automatic transmission switches to a manual Geartronic mode, allowing the driver to determine when to shift up or down. In the automatic mode, the transmission is very quiet and smooth.
This is an upscale vehicle that is loaded with safety equipment and luxurious treatments. It has an upscale price tag, too. My test Volvo cost $40,750; that figure includes about $4,000 in options. Some of the comfort and convenience features include an eight-way power driver's seat with three-position memory, along with a tilt and telescopic steering wheel. Anyone can find an ideal driving position in this vehicle.
The V70 XC also has dual electronic climate controls, power glass sunroof, heated outside mirrors, and a remote dust and pollen filter. It even has grab handles for the front-seat passenger, plus something unusual: a storage pouch at the base of the seat cushion of the front seats.
The storage is easy to access using a keyless remote to open the two-way rear window and tailgate. The tailgate, however, has a drawback; it requires lifting packages up and over the open tailgate.
As for safety features, Volvo is noted for making safe vehicles and the V70 XC is no exception. It includes dual-stage side and front air bags, side impact protection, plus five padded head restraints.


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