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  • 2006 Volvo V70 R

    Posted on September 2nd, 2006 ninarussin

    By Jim Woodman

    2006 Volvo V70 R

    2006 Volvo V70 R

    If you’re a parent, especially of young children, there inevitably comes that epiphany in which you realize it doesn’t matter how uncool you may look, it’s time to score a mini van. Sure, you could accomplish much the same with an SUV, but mini vans dial you into a whole lot of convenience and fuel efficiencies you don’t get with the large gas-guzzling behemoths.

    As a current minivan owner myself, I’m not suggesting minivan ownership dooms you to a life of car seats, spilled milk bottles and enough cookies and crumbs beneath the seats to open your own bakery. What I am saying is that there’s another option and it’s not what you may think.

    A station wagon? Yes, station wagons are not the boxy clunkers you remember from childhood, they can be rather cool and outrageously fast.

    The Volvo V70R “wagon” is one such vehicle. If you’re into speed, the V70R cranks out 0-60 mph in an eye-popping 5.6 seconds (6.5 for automatics) and its 2.5-liter, turbocharged and intercooled engine produces a heady 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

    I recently test drove the 2006 V70R and was pleasantly surprised at how much room we had in the rear cargo section. I must admit, traveling is now an ordeal – three children with as many car seats and booster, plus all their assorted paraphernalia, makes me wonder how I call this kind of traveling a “vacation.”

    Not only were we able to get all our suitcases and stroller into the rear cargo area, but we had plenty of room to put two car seats – and a booster seat between the two – in the second passenger row. That said, this configuration is not advisable because it’s squeezing every inch out of the rear seat for car seats and too difficult to buckle each child each time. Our solution was to raise our oldest child on a pillow (since he’s seven and a half and nearly 60-pounds) and leave the younger ones in their car seats at each window.

    Driving Dynamics

    Let’s get back to driving dynamics, because that’s the main reason you’ll purchase this Volvo, besides the fact you may want to sit lower and not be just like another mini van drone cruising your kid’s elementary school parking lot.

    A dynamic chassis allows you to switch to “Sport” and, when you give it some gas, the V70R comes to life. You’ll get a sports-car-like feel, especially if you’re inclined to dive into corners. Okay, admittedly, I did a little of this faster cornering when the kids weren’t in the car — all in the interest of testing this little rocket. Besides, my wife doesn’t read anything I write anyway.

    This Volvo is much faster than anything its size and shape has any right to be. I started to harbor illusions of racing young hot rods off the line who mistakenly took me for a conservative family man in a wagon.

    The standard transmission is a six-speed manual. Though my 2006 test model featured the new six-speed Geartronic automatic option with a manual mode that works by by slotting the lever into a separate channel. I never used the manual mode much as I’ve never been a fan of this kind of artificial manual transmission. Call me old school, but I still like to use a clutch if I’m going to shift manually. That said, you can have a lot of fun with the manual mode and it requires very little effort to engage.

    iPod Adapter

    One aspect I found very interesting about the R series is the iPod adapter in the center console. Volvo provided its own iPod, though you could easily slide in your own, that had a terrific variety of music that could be operated from the radio control panel. Slipping through separate albums was as easy as moving through separate CDs on a multiple CD changer, except faster. In fact, until I realized the V70R “CD” music was actually being powered from the iPod, I thought there was a multiple CD changer in the dash. To control the iPod from the Volvo radio, all I had to do was move between “CDs” since it treated each album stored on the iPod as a separate “CD.”

    If I’ve confused you enough there, just know being able to play all your iPod music through the Volvo’s premium 6-speaker in-dash sound system is very cool.

    Creature Comforts

    As with all Volvos, our V70R came equipped with all the creature comforts and bells and whistles you’d expect from the Swedish manufacturer: Driver and front-passenger 8-way power seats, lumbar support, dual zone electronic climate control and tilt and telescopic leather steering wheel. Our vehicle also came outfitted with the “convenience package” that boasted a grocery bag holder, power child locks, cargo area 12-volt outlet, rear parking assist alarm and sunglass holder. We also had a power moonroof option that gave you all the feel and style of a luxury sedan.

    In fact, if I didn’t look back and know there was more car than just the rear seat row, I’d never know, from highway driving, that I was driving a boxy wagon. Believe me, this car doesn’t even come close to looking like it’s as fast as it is.

    I was also able to borrow a friend’s 56 cm bicycle and easily place it in the rear cargo area, while the rear seats were in place, only have to remove its quick release front wheel.

    It also goes without saying that, safety-wise, you’ll get all Volvo’s famed safety heritage: unibody construction with integrated high strength steel, air bags all over the place and dynamic stability traction control to name a few of the more obvious.

    All in all, I walked away with a new found appreciation for a wagon, specifically Volvo. My only beef, and it’s a rather large beef, is the V70s horrific turning radius. I found it extremely agitating when, no matter what kind of single lane road or neighborhood I found myself in, making a simple U-turn was out of the question. The V70R ranks as one of the worst turning radius vehicles I’ve ever driven and is the biggest reason I’d steer (no pun intended) clear of purchasing this vehicle.

    But if you like speed, versatility and creature comforts, it’s hard to overlook a vehicle that prices in pretty loaded in the mid-40s. There are many vehicles you’d pay $60k to get the same kind of features and performance.

    Quick facts:

    Base price: $39,545
    Price as tested: $44,885
    Horsepower: 300 @ 5,500 rpm
    Torque: 295 lbs. ft. @ 1,950-5,250 rpm
    0 to 60: 5.6 seconds (6.5 secs automatic)
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: No
    Towing: No
    Off-road: No
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Fuel economy: 18 city / 25 highway


    One response to “2006 Volvo V70 R”

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