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Sleeker, But Safe as Ever: 2008 Volvo V70

The more time you spend on the road, the higher your collision risk, so the 2208 Volvo V70, backed with the legendary safety that Volvo is famous for, makes good sense, writes Sally Miller Wyatt.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2008 Volvo V70.

It’s a given with a Volvo: In these vehicles, safety and security features are at the cutting edge. So it’s always interesting to see what Volvo brings to the table with each new model year.

For 2008, the Volvo V70 is totally new. This station wagon has a sleeker design both on the outside and inside, a new automatic transmission and a rear seat that folds in a unique 40/20/40 configuration.

(Above): Interior view of the 2008 Volvo V70.

As for those infamous Volvo safety features, the 2008 models add even more to the list, including a new, stronger side structure and enhancements to their Side Impact Protection System and the Whiplash Protection System.

They’ve also added a Collision Avoidance package for some 2008 models. This package is filled with “preventive safety technology” and it was designed to help cut down on the type of driver distractions that cause so many accidents in the first place.

The package is an $1,695 extra, and includes several features. Adaptive Cruise Control helps the driver — when using cruise control — to maintain a safe distance between cars in front when speeds are uneven. A radar sensor continuously measures the distance between the V70 and cars in front of it, and adjusts the car’s speed accordingly. Collision Warning with Auto Brake, according to Volvo’s press materials, includes automatic braking when a rear-end collision is imminent. Here’s how this works: If the car approaches another vehicle from behind and the driver doesn’t react, a loud signal sounds and a red warning light is reflected on the heads-up display on the windshield. If this doesn’t get the driver’s attention, then brake support is activated and brakes are applied. Auto brake also lowers the car’s speed. Since I didn’t test out this special feature, I’m only guessing what that must be like to live through — sounds, lights, automatic brakes and lowered speed — and how technologically advanced the sensors must be to react that quickly.

(Above): Interior view of the 2008 Volvo V70.

Another safety feature in the package is Distance Alert, which is activated by a button on the dashboard. This helps the driver keep a proper distance between other cars, even without cruise control. Driver Alert Control, another feature, is best used when you’re on long, straight roads, or feel you may run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. A camera continuously measures the distance between the car and road lane markings, and sounds an alarm if there is a variance. Lane Departure Warning alerts the driver with a gentle sound if the car crosses road markings without an obvious reason, such as a turn signal. It activates at 41 miles per hour.

If all this weren’t enough, you can also opt for the Blind Spot Information System, which keeps you on your toes if you’re going to venture into someone else’s lane space.

Behind the wheel, you’ll find the 2008 Volvo V70 is a comfortable fit for the driver and front seat passenger. The driver’s wheel has a tilt and telescoping feature, and the seat adjusts eight ways, with a memory function. Front seat passengers also have the luxury of a dual-zone climate control, so you can ride in maximum comfort.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2008 Volvo V70.

The rear seat is good sized and accommodating. Visibility for all passengers is great and the rear cargo area is adequate for a family station wagon.

On the road, you’ll find that the V70 handles very well. It is responsive and maneuverable, and acceleration is swift thanks to its 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine.

The more time you spend on the road — as parents and commuters are known to do — and the more distractions you have to endure — from screaming kids, barking dogs and groceries on the loose — the higher your collision risk. It makes sense to protect yourself and your children as best as you can

Sally Miller Wyatt is a freelance writer who writes family-oriented auto reviews for newspapers, magazines and the Web.


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