THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Volvo V70 midsize luxury wagon.
DOWN THE ROAD: Say goodbye to the 5-cylinder V70 with 168 and 208 horsepower engines. Also out is the high-performance R model. Redesigned for 2008, the V70 gets an all-new 3.2-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine that leads to an athletic, entertaining and enjoyable ride. Handling is civilized and steering conveys a rock-solid feel in the front-wheel-drive vehicle.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Sitting on a unibody structure, the V70 puts out 235 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 236 pounds-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capabilities. Suspension is handled via a MacPherson strut with asymmetrically mounted coil springs in the front while a multilink independent suspension with coil springs takes up the rear. Lending a hand in steering the V70 is a power-assisted, rack-and-pinion system. We averaged about 20 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving, which is commendable in a 6-cylinder vehicle. Even more noteworthy is that the V70 can go 0 to 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds. If you do step on the gas in a rush, you have 12.4-inch front and 11.9-inch rear discs to fall back on.
LOOK & FEEL: The time-honored Volvo insignia is ensconced at the center of an egg-crate grille while door handles and exterior mirrors are graced by the vehicle's body color. Horseshoe-shaped tail lamps, similar to the ones in the C30, deck the rear, which also gets a slightly extended glass. Catching your eye instantly upon taking the driver's seat is wood strip above the dashboard, on the center console and doors. But this wagon is about space and there is plenty, starting with 38.8 inches of headroom, 34.6 inches of legroom and 56.5 inches of shoulder room for rear-seat passengers. Also, the seat folds 40/20/40. The cargo hold has aluminum rails with sliding and folding load hooks. Other standard amenities include an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone electronic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, digital trip computer and a 160-watt stereo system.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front-seat active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and Volvo's WHIPS protection system, which helps to reduce head and neck injuries for the driver and front passenger, are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $32,465, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P225/55 R16 alloy; wheelbase, 110.8 inches; length, 189.9 inches; weight, 3,527 pounds; fuel capacity, 18.5 gallons; highway, 24 mpg; city, 16 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: It's not just safety in this Volvo that should catch everyone's attention. The wagon would be a smart choice for prospective buyers looking to haul passengers and cargo, and simultaneously want a decent and pleasant ride.