Volvo XC70 Review

Timing is everything. Eight or nine years ago, Volvo took their V70 station wagon, added all-wheel drive and called it the "Cross Country". Sales were modest.

So about five years ago, Volvo whipped up a bigger crossover SUV on the S80 sedan platform and called it the XC90. Sales were much stronger, thank you.

Now, though, fluctuating gas prices have a lot of drivers thinking bigger is not necessarily better. Just in time, Volvo brings us...the Cross Country...but now it's called the XC70.

Frankly, it's a great move...bolstering a strong product with an association to the popular XC90. The XC70 is everything a Volvo wagon should be...strong, safe, rugged...and stylish inside. They haven't caught Audi yet, but Volvo interiors are among the best in the business.

Lower to the ground and lighter in weight, the XC70 handles better than the XC90 and gets better gas mileage, too (the EPA says 15 city, 22 highway). $36,775 is the base price. Our tester added metallic paint, a premium 12-speaker, Dolby ProLogic II surround sound system with AM, FM, CD and Sirius satellite radio, a Premium Package with a moonroof, leather, real wood inlays, a cold climate pakcage and alloy wheels, driving the bottom line up to $44,065.

Cheap? Only in comparison to a similarly loaded XC90 or other vehicle in its class. But if you don't need the extra weight and bulk of the XC90...the XC70 seems just right.

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