V70 AWD XC - A CLEAR ALTERNATIVE FOR SUV BUYERS

Rockleigh, NJ -- The highly successful Volvo V70 AWD XC, the vehicle that bridged the gap between daily driving enjoyment and the outdoor lifestyle promised by sport utility vehicles, takes over as the standard-bearer for Volvo’s All-Wheel-Drive wagons for model year 2000.

The V70 AWD XC (for Cross Country) has been called the intelligent alternative to thirsty and cumbersome SUV's, with its nimble handling, versatile wagon configuration, exceptional comfort and Volvo’s legendary safety engineering combined with seamless all-wheel-drive traction. For model year 2000, Volvo further refines the V70 AWD XC with new alloy wheels, the addition of Volvo’s Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) seating, and second generation side impact air bag: SIPS II.

The Cross Country was an immediate market success when it was first introduced in 1997 as a 1998 model. Buyers quickly recognized the no-compromise appeal of the wagon’s AWD traction without the truck-like ride and handling of conventional SUV’s. Suddenly, city and suburban drivers in pursuit of an active, outdoor lifestyle had a sensible option that succeeded in both worlds.

Wagons have always been a Volvo strong point. Volvo wagons are legendary. Through the years the wagon sales accounted for about 30% of total volume. Within four months of introduction the Cross Country pushed wagon sales mix to an all time high of 50%. Today this one model accounts for about 25% of all sales in North America. Clearly, the Cross Country is a viable alternative for SUV buyers.

Visually distinctive from other Volvo V70 sportswagons, the Cross Country has a taller stance on the road, thanks to additional ground clearance. At 6.5 in. it has one-inch additional ground clearance vs the standard V70, while the body is 2 inches higher than the standard V70. Matte black bumper tops and side moldings, aggressive front and rear treatment and robust roof racks mark the XC version for life in the adventure lane. The new leather interior trim combines with elegant interior appointments and clever cargo nets in the rear area to reinforce the utility-without-compromise design of V70 AWD XC.

Interior cargo volume is superior to many truck-based SUV models: 37.2 cu. ft. with all five seats in place and 70.0 cu. ft. with the rear seat folded down. Fuel economy, too, is superior. The Cross Country gets 18 city and 25 highway, with a combined mileage of 21 miles per gallon.

But it is the active safety contribution and user-friendly design of the AWD system that marries the performance and practical virtues of the Volvo V70 AWD XC. Simply stated, the system seamlessly diverts engine power to the rear wheels, apportioning power to the wheels with the most traction -- all without driver intervention.

During normal driving on dry roads, the Cross Country behaves much like the standard V70: 95 per cent of the drive is directed to the front wheels. It is only when the car encounters rough surfaces, poor traction or demanding driving situations that the AWD system comes into play.

The system employs an automatic locking differential at the rear, Volvo’s TRACS traction control system at the front and a viscous coupling between the two, which allocates power to the wheels with the best traction. The operation is automatic: driver input is not required.

The system is deceptively simple. Power for the rear wheels is taken from a modified Volvo gearbox via an angle gear, which drives a propeller shaft to the rear, differential. The propeller shaft has constant-velocity joints front and rear, and a hooks joint in the middle beside an idler bearing. The shaft is housed in the floor pan’s tunnel, modified to accept the entire transmission system.

Just ahead of the rear axle, a Viscodrive viscous coupling is housed inside a torque tube. Using a viscous clutch, the system introduces driving power to the rear wheels when there is a differential in speed between the rotation of the input shaft from the transmission and the rotation of the output to the rear differential. When the input shaft begins to rotate more quickly (indicating the front wheels have reduced traction and are spinning), power is instantly transferred to the rear differential. When the speed of the rear wheels (as indicated by the speed of the output from the viscous drive) approaches the speed of the input, traction is equalized and power transmission to the rear is reduced. The effect is a seamless transfer of power to and from the rear wheels, as required. Several other factors contribute to the sophisticated operation of the system.

The viscous coupling has a ‘freewheel’ feature, which disengages the rear wheels under braking, enhancing braking stability. The rear differential utilizes an automatic differential lock, which shifts power to the wheel with the best grip. The rear differential locks and un-locks automatically, but only functions below 25 mph.

Traction at the front wheels is enhanced by Volvo’s TRACS traction control system, which uses the wheel sensors and ABS braking systems to intervene with the wheels, which are spinning. The system is most effective at initial start and in low-speed applications.

Together, the components make up an “intelligent” system, which works seamlessly, and automatically to apportion power where it is required without decision or action from the driver. On smooth, dry surfaces, the AWD behaves like other 70 Series Volvos, with a neutral stance and predictable behavior. Under hard acceleration, in curves and driving on slippery surfaces, the system monitors conditions and continuously varies the allocation of power, instantly and optimally. Crisp handling and neutral, predictable road behavior make the Volvo AWD system a feature any driver can appreciate.

Power for the XC is from Volvo’s proven 2.4-litre in-line five-cylinder engine with 20-valve Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) cylinder head, Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) and light-pressure turbocharging. The engine’s output (190 hp @5100 rpm, 199 ft. lbs. of torque from 1800 rpm) is served through Volvo’s four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with adaptive programming and selectable “Winter” mode.

Because safety is such an integral part of the appeal of all Volvo models, and a particular consideration when compared to SUV alternatives, a full complement of Volvo-developed safety equipment is standard in the Cross Country, including:

A host of standard luxury features grace the V70 AWD XC: heated outside mirrors and front seats, dual zone climate control, interior pollen/dust filter, sunroof, remote keyless entry and security system, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with three-position memory, premium sound system and an array of other features all wrapped in distinctive Scandinavian style. Functional interior accessories and accents, along with a selection of available sports accessories (like bicycle carriers, ski boxes, etc.) are available as options from Volvo retailers.

August 1999