For 2006, the Volvo V70 receives a few changes. All-wheel-drive versions now include Instant Traction, which distributes torque faster to the rear wheels. The R receives an available new six-speed automatic transmission, replacing 2005’s five-speed, and a new 12-volt outlet in the luggage area. The Geartronic manual shifting feature that was optional on the 2.5T in 2005 is now standard. T5 models receive 17-inch wheels, instead of 16-inch. The optional Convenience Package now includes rear parking assist and a 12-volt outlet in the luggage area.

The V70 is available with three engine choices. The 2.4 uses a 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated inline five-cylinder that comes with a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a five-speed automatic. The 2.5T and 2.5T AWD use a 2.5-cylinder five-cylinder with turbocharger, hooked exclusively to a five-speed automatic with Geartronic manual shift. The T5 carries a 2.4-litre turbocharged five-cylinder with close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox that can be stepped up to the five-speed Geartronic. The R uses the turbocharged 2.5-litre, beefed up to 300 horsepower, with a six-speed gearbox that options up to the new six-speed Geartronic automatic. The R is exclusively all-wheel-drive.

Features on the 2.4 and 2.5T include four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake distribution, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors with puddle lights, rear fog light, headlight washers, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, fold-flat passenger seat, 60/40 folding rear seat, tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, cargo cover, cruise control, dual-zone electronic climate control, power windows with front auto up/down, rear washer/wiper, trip computer, and CD player with six speakers. The 2.5T AWD adds a power sunroof and power driver’s seat with memory.

The T5 adds 17-inch wheels, front fog lights, sport leather/T-Tec split upholstery, power passenger seat, leather handbrake lever, mesh aluminum inlays, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Homelink garage door opener, and high-performance six-CD system with nine speakers.

The R adds four-piston Brembo brake calipers, active chassis, speed-sensitive steering, bi-Xenon headlights, roof spoiler, projector-style front fog lights, heated leather sport seats, power passenger seat, R-specific wheel and blue instrument dials, cargo protection net, laminated water-repellant side glass, rain sensor, and six-CD Dolby Pro Logic II 5.1 sound system with thirteen speakers.

Many consider the V70 the archetypal Volvo: its wagon configuration is very practical, the sleek styling suits it perfectly, and of course it’s stuffed with all the safety features that made Volvo famous. Interior space is such that this might be considered a viable alternative to a smaller SUV, while the R variation should satisfy those who like their wagons to be fiery as well as family-friendly.

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