Volvo Announces V70 R-Design
By Kevin Miller
Volvo has introduced the V70 as its fifth vehicle available with an R-Design styling package. Joining the C30, S40, V50, and XC90 in the R-Design family, the V70 R-Design adds visual appeal to the capable yet un-exciting V70. Unfortunately, Volvo has not confirmed whether they will import the V70 R-Design to North America.
From 2004-2007, the previous-generation V70R was available with 300 HP, all-wheel drive, six-speed manual transmission, and a host of styling and equipment upgrades. While the 2009 V70 R-Design does without a power bump (the sole powertrain in the US remains the 235 HP 3.2 liter inline 6 mated to a 6-speed Geartronic automatic), it does get a lowered suspension with upgraded anti-roll bars. Hopefully this suspension will be the antidote to numb ride and uncommunicative chassis feel of the V70 we drove earlier this year.
Visual upgrades to the exterior include special 18-inch wheels, “silk metal” finish on the grille, mirrors, and fog lamp surrounds, black anodized side-window molding (replacing silver molding), body-color tailgate spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, rear bumper spoiler, and deletion of the standard luggage rails on the roof. Some of the interior goodies are blue-faced instrument dials, bolstered sport seats with contrasting leather pattern in Off Black and Ceramic White, leather-trimmed sport steering wheel, and aluminum pedals. These changes add character to a functional wagon which is otherwise visually bland.
While the V70 R-Design doesn’t include any powertrain upgrades, the possibility of future powertrain enhancements does exist. Volvo offers a 268 HP turbocharged six and a 311 HP V8 in the S80, and that car is also available with all wheel drive. While the V70 is unlikely to be made available with AWD (because it would cannibalize sales from the XC70), there are rumors that the turbo six will be offered in the V70. This more powerful engine would be a welcome addition to the large wagon, and would help back up the R-Design’s sporty appearance with a bump in performance.
In a recent interview with Automotive News, Doug Speck, the new President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America conceded that sales of the V70 are well below target in the US. Part of the decline is because many traditional V70 customers are now buying the XC70, both because it has all-wheel drive and because it has more distinctive styling. With any luck, the more stylish V70 R-Design will be imported to North America; it would attract buyers with its subtle sport bodywork and lowered sport suspension, both of which are unavailable on the XC70. With even more luck, the wagon would also be available with the more powerful turbocharged six. Time will tell.
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