- Helping you drive happy


Automotive columnist: , Updated:

Considering the wild success of its S80 luxury sedan, it's odd that Volvo heartily declines to call the 2001 V70 the station wagon version of that car, but there you go.

The thinking at the Ford-controlled Swedish company seems to be that people will like the V70 better if it's not a derivative of something, even something as wonderful as the S80.

So Volvo says the V70 is "built on the same platform as the Volvo S80 saloon but has been developed separately. In other words, the Volvo V70 is not derived from a saloon, but is a new and unique estate."

Whatever the lineage of thr V70, Volvo makes a big deal of the fact that is was designed to be the same size or bigger than its competitors on the inside but 10 centimetres shorter on the outside.

As for the V70 being shorter than its competitors, the primary technical benefits to that include greater torsional stiffness and a redistribution of weight for better safety solutions.This shortening resulted in some creative solutions, including suspending the radiator in elastic elements. This means that, in a low-speed frontal collision, it can spring backwards without being damaged.

The new Volvo V70 contains several systems that have been designed along these lines -- some electrical, some purely mechanical.