Day 1:
This week comes the special edition Volvo XC70 Ocean Race Edition, identifiable by badges, a unique Ocean Blue Metallic paint and interior and exterior trim features to continue the blue ocean theme. A dash-mounted plaque identifies the unique series number of the limited-run vehicles.

Volvo XC70 Race Edition
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The Ocean Race package includes some of the most popular features of the XC70 & XC90, such as all-wheel drive, Dolby Pro-Logic II surround sound audio system, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, bi-Xenon headlights, rear parking assistance and polished aluminum wheels.

The XC70 Ocean Race Editions are powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, delivering 208-horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with Geartronic sequential shifting. There will only be 100 of these special Edition XC70’s to recognize and celebrate one of the world’s most extreme yacht races.

Initial Impressions……

Striking Blue paint scheme
Acceleration feels strong
Very quiet on highway
Well appointed interior (photos to come)
Cargo cover in the rear
Excellent adjustments for seating position, infinite adjustment range including tilt / telescopic
Large glass sunroof.
Solid feel to all controls
Tons of cargo space
Feels like an SUV/Truck (If you like that)
Bi-Xenon HID Headlamps

Interior Blue trim not my cup of tea.
Lots of buttons in odd places on the dash
Lumbar control in very hard to reach
Ride seems a little stiff
Feels like an SUV/Truck (If you don’t like that)

Volvo XC70 Ocean Race Edition MSRP: $57,495

For more information on Volvo and their models please visit Volvo Canada

Updated April 4th 2006
Day 2:
Winter has returned, at least for a day. I used this opportunity to take a long drive on some winding snow covered roads to Mont-Tremblant Quebec, where the snow was fresh and the maple syrup was sweet. While the sugar shack served up buttered caramel, pancakes and fresh maple syrup, the XC70 served up a quiet, comfortable journey.

Volvo XC70 Race Edition
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The drive was shared by four adults who had various comments on the seating arrangements, such as the rear seats are comfortable yet for such a large vehicle the leg room was tight. The rear seats have a built in child booster seat, they also provide a 40/20/40 split for cargo carrying versatility. The driver and passenger seats are equals with 8 way power adjustability and manual lumbar, including dual stage heated seats, the driver’s seat also includes 3 preset memory positions. Side bolstering is adequate, but the bottom cushion is fairly flat requiring you to brace yourself while cornering. Although the seats are comfortable the lumbar adjust is cramped and difficult to reach, and there is a hump in the driver’s foot-well reducing flexibility for the left leg.

The XC70 Ocean Race Edition includes an 11 speaker Dolby Pro Logic II 5.1 Surround System perfect for blasting Alouette! Gentil, Alouette! on your way to dine on a French Canadian meal. Our meal, served at an authentic Sugar Shack, consisted of a buffet; including pea soup, French bread, deep fried bacon, a giant omelet, baked beans, crepes in buttered caramel sauce, sugar pie and as much maple syrup as you could use. The stereo pumps out enough volume for all but the most hard core or the hearing impaired. Bass is deep and powerful and the dash mounted centre channel and quad door speakers provide extraordinary imaging and crisp sound.

Volvo has a history of having some of the safest cars in the world and the XC70’s lighting system of bi-Xenon headlights provide excellent visibility on both high and low beams. Not only does Volvo provide the driver with a clear view of the road ahead, they also ensure that other drivers from the side and rear can see you. This is accomplished with features such as signal lights on the front fenders, large visible tail lights and rear fog lights.

Today was a long an interesting day, I learned that Buckwheat pancakes taste like burnt rubber, crepes with buttered caramel sauce are delicious, the weather is wacky in Canada, and driving back from Mont Tremblant in a snow storm is not the most enjoyable journey you can make.

Sugar Shack
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Maple Syrup....
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Updated April 5th 2006
Day 3:
Yesterday was such a long day, up 18 hours and then only a 5 hour snooze before I was off to work again this morning. Glad I had fun yesterday or I may have been a tad grumpy today. Not only did that trip yesterday leave me a little tired but my left leg is absolutely killing me, the dead pedal hump really was bothersome, one black mark on an other wise stellar vehicle.

Volvo XC70 Race Edition
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It is only my 3rd day in the vehicle but I have already driven over 500 km and spent close to 7 hours traveling in it so I now have a good feel for how the XC 70 is put together. The ride over bumps and potholes is firm and I, as well as other passengers; felt it is a little firm for this class of vehicle. I would have expected a little more of a supple ride, the back seats are especially rough, although I suppose there is always the tradeoff between handling and ride comfort as the XC 70 handles fairly well for its size.

The XC 70 is a cross between a small SUV and a wagon, although the it has features such as a skid plate the majority of buyers will not be off-roading. It is an urban assault vehicle with impressive safety features such as built in child booster seats, side curtain air-bags, abs, traction and stability control, WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) and Volvo engineering with an outstanding reputation for building a solid and safe vehicle. As a result of all this and its large size, it comes in at a hefty 3600lbs curb weight. Loaded up with 2 average sized adults and a little gear and you are close to 4000lbs of momentum traveling down the freeway. As a result gas mileage suffers a little and you are not going to accomplish economy car figures out of this car as much as you try. I averaged 11.5 L / 100km all highway traveling at an average speed of around 70km/h. These readings were taken from the onboard computer. According to Volvo the XC70 averages 8.4L/100km highway and 12.3 L / 100km city. According to the on board computer I’m not even close, while doing city driving prior to my trip the average was in the high 15’s, I’ll report back on this at weeks end.

Having the rare opportunity to cart around 4 passengers a little bit of cargo, on snow covered roads, I am happy to report even with 4300 or so pounds of mass to move the 2.5L Turbo 5 cylinder engine has enough power to never be strained. This was even up in the mountains for all the nay-sayers out there. The engine is rated at 208 hp and 236lb/ft of torque, the turbo certainly helps deliver low end grunt for acceleration, although it seems a little strained as redline approaches, driven normally the tachometer will never creep above 3000 rpm and acceleration feels smooth.

Updated April 6th 2006
Day 4:
I finally got a chance to get a closer look at the interior of the XC70, you can look all you want while you drive but generally you are watching the road instead, at least I am. I wanted to get some pictures to give you an idea of the blue trim and multitude of buttons on the dash and while doing so figured out how the rear seats fold and that the doors and interior in general are really nicely trimmed with leather and soft materials.

Volvo XC70 Race Edition
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Volvo XC70 Race Edition
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At first I thought the blue trim was a little tacky but it certainly has grown on me, it is not bad actually and complements the blue stitching on the seats and the blue exterior. As you can see from the picture on the left there are quite a bit of buttons on the dash of the XC70. It is a little hard to see, but the climate control consists of buttons for the vent settings rather than using a typical dial. The radio has a multitude of buttons including 3 buttons for 3-ch, off and Dolby Pro-logic II Surround Sound. The seat heater buttons are on the far right and on the left are 3 rare and unusual buttons. Button 1 turns on and off the Dynamic Traction and Stability Control, the second button folds the side mirrors in, that was a little odd on first push and the third button turns off and on the rear parking sensors. I have actually grown to enjoy the rear parking sensor. I back into my driveway and when the sensor beeps at me I stop, allowing me to park exactly 5 feet from my garage door every time.

I could probably talk about the interior all day, there is almost every gizmo and button known to man in this vehicle and the cup holders for the rear flip and fold out of the centre console along with a little tray. One thing I wanted to note is the side mirror controller, it really is tiny and hard to use especially if you were to have any type of glove on, it seems like an afterthought. I also noticed today the car has both auto up and auto down windows, interesting…… be careful not to get your fingers caught on the way up though it could pinch, although there is a safety sensor it pushes pretty hard before releasing.

A few other notables, the doors are trimmed extremely well, leather or leather feeling material goes all the way down to the inside of the map pockets on the side of the doors. The rear seats fold perfectly flat for a HUGE cargo area; the rear seat bottoms also flip forward leaving you an area under the rear seats for more cargo. I also parked beside a minivan today, wasn’t paying much attention but I believe it was a Dodge Caravan, the XC70 is longer, quite the cargo hauling machine.

Volvo XC70
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Volvo XC70
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Volvo XC70
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Volvo XC70
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Updated April 7th 2006
Day 5:
Well another week has passed and another review is done, I started off the week not really liking the XC70 all the much. I mean it is a nice car and it certainly better be for $57,495 that is a lot of coin, but it seemed so generic and plain and certainly not exciting. The dash materials and multitudes of buttons threw me off right off the bat. But I have grown to like the XC70 Ocean Race Edition for other reasons. The XC70 is fully equipped for safety, it is quiet, it can carry tons of cargo, it has some get up and go and it is comfortable.

Volvo XC70 Race Edition
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Before ending the review of the XC70 I have one more thing I noticed that has bothered me. The auto-sensing wipers are great, but when you turn off the key it turns the function off….. why? Small issue but really it is annoying on a rainy day, and if it stopped raining they wipers simply wouldn’t go anyways, so why not just leave it on when I push the button in?

Gas mileage in the XC70 was not all that bad over the week; the on-board computer calculated that I was using 11.7L/100km over 513Km. According to my calculations I actually achieved 10.8L/100km. To calculate this I filled up my tank at the same pump and stopped both times on the click. Now there are variations in temperature etc etc etc, so who knows which is correct, but I rather the 10.8.

I have a new feature for my reviews performance numbers! I acquired a GTech Accelerometer and with this did a few 0-100km/h runs as well as 100-0km/h runs. The Volvo was able to run from 0 – 100km/h in an average of 7.8 seconds, and could stop in approximately 135 feet. That’s not bad for a vehicle of this size, not bad at all. Now the GTech is not perfect so these numbers will be used in the future more for comparison sake than hard data.

So, I liked the Volvo, I have a few minor issues with it and as others have commented it really needs a refreshing it looks “old”. Do I think it is a value leader at $57,495? Certainly not, I would be looking at a standard XC70 if I was in the market for me the extra price of the special edition really would not a good place for my dollars.

Rating out of 5:

Volvo XC70 Ocean Race Edition
Acceleration wheelwheelwheelhalfwheel
Handling wheelwheelwheel
Comfort wheelwheelwheelwheel
Interior wheelwheelwheelwheelhalf
Audio System wheelwheelwheelwheelhalfwheel
Gas Mileage wheelwheelwheel
0 – 100km/h 7.8 seconds
100-0km/h 135 feet

Volvo XC70 Ocean Race Edition MSRP: $57,495

For more information on Volvo and their models please visit Volvo Canada

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