Thursday, 23 April 2009

Volvo V70 Driv'e

Volvo is introducing the new DRIVe range of Volvos. The company began production of the fuel efficient, low emissions vehicles late last year following a successful introduction at the 2008 Paris Auto Show. The C30 DRIVe even managed to slip into the European Union's cleanest band of vehicles by producing less than 105g CO2 per km; and the Volvo V70 DRIVe aims to follow in the C30's footsteps.

The Volvo V70's fuel economy averages a very credible 43mpg, and if driven sensibly you'll get around 670miles out of a full tank. It's good news for business users too, as the D5 emits 172g/km (25% Tax liability) which makes it cheaper to run as a company car than a Mercedes E-Class estate and on a par with the BMW 525d Touring.

The Volvo V70 DRIVe also gets better fuel consumption through the use of tyres designed for low rolling resistance. They get an electric power steering pump providing the exact amount of assistance the driver needs, instead of too much power which needlessly draws energy off the powertrain. The V70 also gets a covered grille and lowered chassis to decrease drag.

No car epitomises this philosophy better than the Volvo V70 estate. Its predecessors were so ugly and dull to drive that they were nicknamed Swedish penalty boxes, whereas the Volvo V70 DRIVe is all swoops, curves and studied elegance. The overall sense of intelligence wrapped up in the beautiful bodies that Volvo now wraps their cars in is exceedingly appealing.

The Volvo V70 and S80 DRIVe versions are also equipped with an electric power steering pump that delivers exactly the servo assistance the driver requires, in a precise and energy-efficient way. All DRIVe models feature this power steering system.

The size of the Volvo V70 DRIVe makes the car very versatile for a range of families and a range of needs. This V70 is one of the most voluminous big estate cars on sale today, able to swallow a washing machine whole, without folding the rear seat down. So if you like the idea of a big Volvo estate for cargo-carrying, then you will not be disappointed.

Used values are excellent on all versions because the V70 is one of the best-selling premium estate cars. Aided by six-speed automatic transmission, the Volvo V70 makes an exemplary tow car. On the test track it showed it would remain stable at speeds well above the limit on British roads, which is reassuring.

In addition, the car has been given a higher level of luxury, to reinforce its premium qualities. The "soft nose" front, including an egg-crate grille with chromed vertical bars, creates a sporty yet luxurious appearance.

But driving even the more powerful versions isn't intimidating, thanks to traction control, predictable handling, excellent grip (especially on the all-wheel drive cars) and precise steering. As you'd expect, V70 has massive in-built strength; V70 gained five NCAP stars. Any more power would really need AWD. Need to pass someone, effortless. Peak torque of 295lb ft is delivered at just 1500rpm, peak power at 5600rpm. The transverse engine is mated to a six-speed auto (there's no manual option) and, with Four-C, the Haldex-type four-wheel drive uses an electronically controlled clutch pack to distribute torque between the axles.

The engine now has lower compression, more efficient combustion and the latest generation of engine management software. What is more, the turbocharger has been optimised to deliver high torque from low revs. Owners of the old V70 will be impressed by the latest model's stiffer chassis and improved handling. What's more, while the Volvo performed well in our brake tests, stopping from 60mph in 36.4 metres - the pedal is the softest underfoot.

The car is second to none in safety, and the company has managed to add on a few new safety innovations as well. Safety features include including a multitude of airbags, traction control, electronic stability programme, whiplash prevention system and Volvo's Side Impact Protection System. That's complimented with an extensive standard equipment list too, which includes CD player, MP3 socket, air conditioning and cruise control. The side-curtain airbags now extend 2.4 inches lower down the door to better protect kids. But wait, there's more: new dual-chamber front-seat-mounted side airbags, second-generation whiplash-protection system, blind-spot detection, and available adaptive cruise control with collision-warning that primes the brake system (the brakes don't apply like those on Mercedes PreSafe when a collision is deemed inevitable). The Volvo V70 is a supremely safe family car, but should the worst happen there's anti whiplash head restraints, side impact protection systems and multiple airbags included as standard across the range.

"Our aim is to offer cars that have the lowest CO2 emissions... DRIVe is the symbol for this process and the cars bearing this badge are those with which we have made most progress." Says Magnus Jonsson

The Volvo V70 DRIVe is stunning to look, it carries the green DRIVe badge of fuel-efficiency and being a Volvo, it is one of the safest cars on the road today.

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