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Big upgrade for Volvos

2005-02-17 15:05

John Oxley

Volvo has upgraded three cars in its 2005 model range both inside and out, and has boosted the power of the T5 version of the S60 and V70, as well as adding new features to the XC70 all-wheel-drive station wagon. But prices stay the same.

It was warm in Pretoria, but inside the S60 2.0T the temperature was a steady 17 deg. C, thanks to the climate-controlled aircon.

We were belting down a country road, chatting animatedly with Steve Harper, Volvo's international platform chief designer - Harper was out in SA to explain the 2005 improvements - and I was quite amazed at how unstressed the big car seemed despite its relatively small engine and the fact that we were at high altitude, with its associated power loss.

The secret, of course, is that this one has what Volvo calls a "low pressure turbo", which means a turbo-charger geared to compensate for the shortness of breath some engines feel at high altitude.

In the case of the Volvo, its 132 kW is delivered in full whether you're in Cape Town or Johannesburg, so high level performance is the same as that of a non-turbo car which pushes out 154 kW at sea level.

Power boost

A further enhancement in the S60 model range is the T5 five-cylinder turbo-charged engine which has received a steroidal boost to pump out 191 kW instead of the previous 184 kW.

"We have made comprehensive changes - outside to enhance the car's sporty profile, and inside to boost the sensation of quality and comfort. This is more than just a facelift," Harper said.

The Volvo S60 has become sportier at the rear, too. The tail lamps have a more technically inspired design with transparent glass and visible bulbs. The light pattern has also been changed.

The exhaust tailpipe has been modified, with a high-gloss finish and proportions that better reflect the engine?s power. The 2.0T, 2.5T and T5 models feature chrome-plated tailpipes. In parallel, the cutout in the bumper skirt has been integrated more smoothly than before.

Volvo?s designers have focused hard on making the interior comfortable and inviting. 

For example, the centre console has a slimmer design with a decorative surrounding frame in materials such as genuine walnut or (real) aluminium. Even the panel?s dark-grey shade has been altered to provide better contrast with the controls and make them easier to use.

Fewer emissions

The high-pressure turbo-charged engine for the sporty T5 models (Volvo S60 T5 and V70 T5) were developed to meet tougher new emissions requirements (Euro4 and LEV2/EVAP2) and a bi-product was the increased engine output.

The new engine is now also mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, or a five-speed automatic Geartronic transmission.

The remainder of the S60 range comprises:

  • S60 2.0T with its 132 kW five-cylinder 2 litre light-pressure turbo-charged engine;
  • S60 2.5T with a 154 kW five-cylinder 2.5 litre light-pressure turbo-charged engine;
  • S60 D5 with a 120 kW 2.4 litre turbo-diesel engine; and
  • The powerful and sporty S60 R with its 2.5-litre high-pressure turbo-charged petrol engine that delivers an outstanding 220 kW and 400 Nm of torque.

The Volvo S60 is now also available with the sophisticated FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) active chassis as an option.

The active chassis was first launched in the four-wheel drive Volvo S60 R. It was then modified to suit the front-wheel driven Volvo S80 T6, which puts the emphasis more on comfort.

Now the range is being broadened still further, with the system becoming available as an option on the rest of the S60, V70 and XC70 models.

The chassis setting adapts automatically to suit the current driving situation, which considerably improves both handling and ride comfort ? all in one car.

If the driver is more active when steering, accelerating or braking, the system responds to increase damping force and thus control the car body?s movements.

In more sedate progress, damping action is much less frequent in order to better isolate the car?s occupants from irregularities in the road surface. This approach combines the best of two worlds ? maximum control and thus safety, and at the same time the best possible comfort.

Summary of new features on S60

  • New, more rounded front with sportier grille
  • Headlamps with transparent lenses and fog lights
  • Headlamp washers with high-pressure, pop-up nozzles (Bi-Xenon =optional)
  • Windscreen wipers with integrated, flat blades and easier-to-operate rain sensor
  • Protective trim on bumper corners (with chrome décor option)
  • Colour-matched side trim (all)
  • A cleaner rear-end design with new bumpers and transparent lenses in lamps
  • New alloy wheels and new exterior finishes (T5 17 inch std)
  • New finish on dashboard and door panels
  • More attractive centre stack and new panel décor
  • New tunnel console with shutter blind and multifunctional armrest
  • New generation of Volvo seats with improved adjustments and new upholstery options
  • BLIS - Blind Spot Information System (optional in first quarter of 2005)
  • Side windows and door mirrors with water-repellent glass (standard with laminated glass)
  • PACOS (Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch)
  • T5 model with more engine power and six-speed gearbox
  • Fabric-lined rear wheel housing for improving sound comfort
  • FOUR-C active chassis (optional)
  • Park assist rear (optional on 2.0T, standard on 2.5T, T5, D5 & R)
  • Park assist front (optional aftermarket)
  • Laminated side windows (standard on 2.5T, T5, D5, R)
  • Wood inlays (standard on 2.5T, T5 & D5)
  • Different radio display

Volvo V70

The Volvo V70 is, in effect, a station wagon version of the S60 - although there are significant differences.

It too has come in for revision, as summarised below:

  • New, more rounded front with sportier grille
  • Headlamps with transparent lenses and fog lights
  • Headlamp washers with high-pressure, pop-up nozzles (Bi-Xenon = optional)
  • Windscreen wipers with integrated, flat blades and easier-to-operate rain sensor
  • Protective trim on bumper corners (with chrome décor as option)
  • Colour-matched side trim (all models)
  • Cleaner rear-end design with new bumpers and transparent lenses in lamps
  • Practical load protection on rear bumper
  • New alloy wheels and new exterior finishes (17 inch wheels standard on V70 T5)
  • New finish on dashboard and door panels
  • More attractive centre stack and new panel décor
  • Spaceball gear lever as option
  • New tunnel console with shutter blind and multifunctional armrest
  • New generation of Volvo seats with improved adjustments and new upholstery options
  • BLIS - Blind Spot Information System (optional in second quarter of 2005)
  • Side windows and door mirrors with water-repellent glass (standard with laminated glass)
  • PACOS (Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch)
  • T5 model with more engine power and six-speed gearbox
  • Fabric-lined rear wheel housing for improved sound comfort
  • FOUR-C active chassis (optional)
  • Park assist rear (standard in 2.5T & T5)
  • Park assist front (optional aftermarket)
  • Laminated side windows (standard in 2.5T & T5)
  • Different radio display
  • Wood inlays (standard in 2.5T & T5)

Naturally, there's a spillover from all this into the XC70, the rugged all-wheel-drive station wagon which comes standard with increased ride height and a more-macho look.

We drove this one on a variety of roads - some of them moderately rough - but I had to fight hard to resist the temptation to throw the car around in rally fashion when the going got loose and smooth.

Soon after, though, Steve and I started chatting about people we knew back in the days when I was rallying and he was called in to design the Escort Cosworth, and fast driving fell by the wayside...

It's actually been quite some time since I've driven an XC70, and I must say I was very impressed by the changes that have been made.

The car is certainly a lot more comfortable than the original versions, with suspension more supple without losing out on handling ability.

At the same time the cosmetic changes - including new skid plates front and rear - do a lot to enhance the car's off-road image.

Summary of new features on the Volvo XC70

  • New "egg-crate" grille with more powerful character
  • Headlamps with transparent lenses
  • Headlamp washers with high-pressure, pop-up nozzles
  • Windscreen wipers with integrated, flat blades and easier-to-operate rain sensor
  • New rear lamps with transparent lenses
  • More robust skid plates at front and rear as standard equipment
  • Larger, retractable door mirrors
  • Roof rails of brushed aluminium
  • New bumper, wheel housing and lower side trim colours
  • New alloy wheels and new exterior finishes
  • New finish on dashboard and door panels
  • More attractive centre stack and new panel décor
  • New tunnel console with open storage compartment and real aluminium handle
  • Multifunctional armrest
  • New generation of Volvo seats with improved adjustments
  • BLIS (Blind Spot Information System)
  • Side windows and door mirrors with water-repellent glass
  • Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch (PACOS)
  • Fabric-lined rear wheel housing for improved sound comfort
  • FOUR-C active chassis
  • Park assist at front and rear
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