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REDEFINING FAMILY VALUES

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Oct 17, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

REDEFINING FAMILY VALUES

By JOHN GRAFMAN

Much to our dismay, it appears that our parents knew what they were doing. As much as we may rebuff the whole idea of a station wagon being our pick for ground transport (let alone consider it to be cool), they do serve a purpose. Our mothers and fathers had respect for the wagon. Well, Volvo is giving us reason to learn a little something from our parents. Like many others, I can remember long hours in the back of my mother's wagon. Seat belt, what's that? There wasn't even seats in the far back. It's sort of like a trunk with windows. In retrospect we realize just how unsafe our carefree behavior was.

That was then and this is now. Volvo is one of those leading the charge with the modern wagon. These new vehicles are about as removed from their predecessors as the horse is from the automobile. The Volvo V70 2.5T is not some ugly stepchild to the Volvo sedans. This car doesn't carry the soccer mom stigma either. Noticeable sophistication is apparent here. Retaining the family resemblance, this wagon is still recognizable as a Volvo. Unlike the awkward and ungainly American-made wagons many of us think about from years gone bye, this wagon is true to the reputation of European cars in its road manners. While Volvos are touted as promoting safety, I feel that in comparison to other family haulers (SUV's, minivans, and now trucks), the ultimate in safety is a vehicle that can handle and move with all the poise of a well-mannered sport sedan. I like knowing that in evasive maneuvers or in a panic stop situation, I have an edge on my side. Seeking the comfort of a controllable car rather than a brick on wheels gives the wagon owner a sense of security. Of course, the car is only as good as the driver.

As most people in this hemisphere know, the word safety and Volvo are nearly synonymous. In case the drivers' skills alone aren't enough, the V70 comes with a whole host of safety features. This dizzying list of safety features is all but overwhelming, and should put even the most hardcore of safety-conscious parents at ease. The standard safety items include anti-submarine seats, daytime running lights (Halogen semi-sealed with replaceable bulb), dual-stage front airbags for driver and front passenger, inflatable side curtain (IC) airbags, ISO-FIX baby/child seat attachment, overhead-mounted seatbelt reminder lights, rear door child safety locks, rear fog light with auto-off, Safe Approach and Home Safe Lighting. Seat belts: five, three-point inertia-reel belts, five have pretensioners, and front have height adjustment. Add to this: security system, side impact airbags (SIPSBAGS IIâ„¢), Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), stability and traction control (STC), top-tether child seat anchorage capability, and Whiplash Protection Seating System (WHIPS). The optional and packaged safety features include Blind Spot Information System (BLIS - late availability), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Rear Parking Assistance, Homelink remote garage door opener, laminated side windows, and a tire pressure monitoring system. It appears that Volvo is covering just about every contingency that may arise. While others might believe that bigger is safer, the Swedes might argue that safer is actually safer. Most of the systems are so well integrated into the car, if someone didn't mention it we might not even know they existed.

On the design side, dad can drive this and not feel ashamed or chided by friends for taking "the wife's car." Inside-and-out, the flavor is that of a premium vehicle. No big surprise, as this has the feel of many current Volvos. And while the exterior styling might not be entirely sports car rakish, it is refined enough to allow dad the driver's seat without being emasculated. As wagons go, the V70 is a trim, streamlined machine. In comparison, some other wagons look rather bloated. Inside is an upscale environment with leather and plastics that Mustang owners could only dream about. It is hard to imagine this is also a Ford product. Driving the V70 is a no-brainer with an organized layout and easy to use controls. Just get in and drive. Unfortunately, offering a full-fledged third row of seating is only nominally accomplished here; good for just kids with short legs, baggage or maybe pets.

On the performance side, don't let the size of the engine fool you. This car can move. The V70 won't take the checkered flag at the street races, but in the day-to-day race of getting up and back, this motor will win admiration. The Volvo is smooth and fairly quiet, and that's always a good combo. The small size on longer, steady drives can yield decent mileage. All things being equal, the wagon can offer sedan refinement and handling, which can inspire defectors from other models. Many years ago, the station wagon layout was a good idea that was limited by the capabilities of the time. Looking at the results Volvo created, my guess is more than a couple of grandparents will be telling their children who now own a Volvo wagon just how good they have it. And wouldn't you know it, mom and dad are right again!

For more information please go to www.volvocars.com

SPEIFICATIONS Price: Base $32,110 Engine type: Transversely - Mounted, 2.5 Liter, 5 - Cylinder, Double Overhead Cam, Turbo with Intercooler Horsepower: 208 @ 5,000 rpm Torque: 236 lb.-ft @ 1,500-5,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / front-wheel drive Transmission type: Five - Speed "Geartronic" Micro - processor Controlled Automatic with "Auto - stick" Function Suspension: Front: MacPherson Strut with Asymmetrically - Mounted Coil Springs, Hydraulic Shocks Rear: Multilink Independent Rear Suspension with Coil Springs, Hydraulic Shocks, Stabilizer Bar, and Cast Aluminum Subframe Wheels and tires: Front: 6.5" x 16" - "Mimas" Multi - Spoke Alloy Wheels w/ 205 / 55 / R16 Tires, 7.5" x 17" - "Thor" Multi - Spoke Alloy Wheels w/ 235 / 45 / R17 Tires, 7.5" x 17" - "Orestes" Multi - Spoke Alloy Wheels w/ 235 / 45 / VR17 run flat tires Rear: 6.5" x 16" - "Mimas" Multi - Spoke Alloy Wheels w/ 205 / 55 / R16 Tires, 7.5" x 17" - "Thor" Multi - Spoke Alloy Wheels w/ 235 / 45 / R17 Tires, 7.5" x 17" - "Orestes" Multi - Spoke Alloy Wheels w/ 235 / 45 / VR17 run flat tires Brakes: Front: Vented discs 12.0 inch diameter Rear: Discs 11.3 inch diameter Anti - Lock Braking System with Electronic Brake Distribution (ABS / EBD) Overall length: 185.4" Overall width: 71.0" Overall height: 57.7" Curb weight (lbs): 3,609 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 20/28

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