Premium midsize car; Built in Sweden, Belgium, Canada
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,900 – $5,300*


1998 Volvo S70 4-door


2000 Volvo V70


1998 Volvo V70


1998 Volvo Volvo V70


2000 Volvo S70

Pros:
  • Acceleration (turbo models)
  • Standard antilock brakes
  • Side airbags
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Ride (T5, R models)
  • Road noise

S70/V70 models have been competitively priced against other near-luxury sedans, such as the Cadillac Catera and Infiniti I30. They offer a wagon and AWD choices that the others ignore. GLT versions, with their strong turbo engine, are the best all-around values in this line of younger-feeling Volvos.

Overview

Volvo replaced its 850 sedan and wagon in spring of 1997 with a pair of early ’98 models: the S70 sedan and V70 station wagon. Both were built from the same platform as the 850, but featured new styling and revised suspensions. The S70 came with front-wheel drive, while the V70 could have either front- or all-wheel drive. Most noticeable of the exterior changes was a more rounded front end, with a reshaped hood and new headlamps. Inside, the sedan and wagon got new interiors with standard dual front and side airbags. Four models were available in each body style: Base, GL, GLT, and T5. A sporty R model came only as a wagon. So did the new Cross Country (V70 XC), which served as an alternative to sport-utility vehicles. Base models used a 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam 5-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower. GLT cars got a turbocharged version of that engine, producing 190 horsepower. A hotter 2.3-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder went into the T5 and R models. Base and T5 models were available with either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission; all others were automatic-only.Volvo’s all-wheel-drive system, as installed on wagons, normally powered the front wheels. When they began to slip, power automatically was transmitted to the rear to improve traction. The V70 XC wagon’s special suspension gave it 6.5 inches of ground clearance (about an inch more than other wagons). A TRACS traction control system was standard on AWD wagons and optional on front-drive models. The system would apply front brakes to limit wheel slippage at speeds under 25 mph. Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes were standard on all models. Rivals included the Acura TL, Audi A6, Infiniti I30, Lexus ES 300, and Saab 900.

Yearly Updates

1999 S70/V70
Volvo’s mainstay duo returned in base, GLT, and sporty T5 versions with front-drive, and in V70 R and XC (Cross Country) wagon form with all-wheel drive. An AWD GLT sedan joined the lineup this year. Output of the strongest engine rose from 236 to 247 horsepower, when installed in the R wagon. New electronic brake modulation helped optimize performance in normal stops. Volvo’s traction-control system now included throttle as well as brake intervention. A starter interlock was added to models with manual shift, automatic transmissions gained “adaptive” shift logic, and an engine immobilizer became standard. Dashboard airbags got new two-stage sensors that matched deployment force to road speed and belt use; they also automatically unlocked doors after the bags triggered.
2000 S70/V70
Volvo trimmed its V70 wagon lineup for 2000, dropping the base AWD version and the front-drive performance-oriented T5. Seat-mounted side airbags were modified to help protect the head as well as the chest. Newly standard was Volvo’s WHIPS system, designed to move the front seatbacks and headrests rearward in a rear-end collision, to minimize whiplash. The potent engine in the V70 R AWD now was rated 261 horsepower.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Three dual-overhead-cam inline 5-cylinder engines went into S70 and V70 models: a nonturbocharged 2.4-liter version for base cars; a turbocharged edition for the XC, GLT, and AWD wagons; and a high-performance turbo 2.3-liter in the T5 and R. Base and T5 models could have 5-speed manual shift or 4-speed automatic, but others were automatic only.

dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 162-168
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 162
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
20/29
20/28
Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 190-197
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 199-210
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/27

19.7

Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/141
Engine HP 236-261
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 243-258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
19/25
18/25
20.3

Road Test

Acceleration with the base engine is adequate. However, things pick up considerably in the turbocharged models. Their passing punch is outstanding, but “turbo lag” (a momentary delay in power delivery) is evident at low speeds. The turbo engines are well-suited to the automatic transmission, which shifts smoothly and downshifts promptly. Fuel economy has been better than expected. A T5 sedan returned 20.3 mpg, whereas an AWD wagon averaged 18.4 mpg. While those numbers aren’t outstanding, they are very good for the near-luxury class.

Wind noise is subdued, but the engines are vocal in hard acceleration and road noise can be prominent. All S/V70s handle well. Body lean is minimal, and the tires grip securely in turns. Ride quality varies greatly, depending on the model. Base and GLT models ride smoothly over broken pavement and skim over highway expansion joints. However, the T5 and R models have a stiffer suspension and tires, and thus ride harshly on rough pavement. The AWD provides terrific traction in all conditions, without requiring any special effort from the driver. Standard antilock brakes have good stopping power.

Climate and radio controls are easier to use than in the past. Also, the switches for power windows and door locks are conveniently located on the door armrests instead of the center console. However, some other controls are hidden behind the steering wheel. Front and rear passenger room changed only slightly, compared to the 850, with the biggest additions coming in rear leg room. That translates into ample space for front-seat occupants, and adequate room for two passengers in back.

At 15.1 cubic feet for the sedan, cargo space is more than adequate. The sedan also has a 60/40 split folding rear seat, which expands cargo capacity. Wagons have a generous cargo hold, made more versatile by standard folding rear seatbacks. Visibility is excellent to all directions, thanks to large side and rear windows.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Volvo S70

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 48

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.9 185.9 69.3 55.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.1 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 37.8 41.4 35.2
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.9-108.5 185.9 69.3-71.0 56.2-58.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
77.2 18.5-21.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 37.9 41.4 35.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 S70 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 111
Injury 78
Theft 80

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: If liquids leak into the center console it can short the mode switch which illuminates the check-engine light. (2000)
Door handles
Description: Water gets into the door handle and freezes in cold weather. (1998)
Oil consumption
Description: The screen in the oil filler can come loose inside the filler neck and often would have been replaced when the vehicle was in for other services. (2000)
Oil leak
Description: Replacement copper washers might fix oil pump leaks from mounting screws on 2.5-liter engine. (1998)
Trunk latch
Description: On some vehicles, the tailgate-latch mechanism that fails in cold weather. (2000)
Vehicle noise
Description: Whining noise below 60 mph requires a damper on the four-wheel-drive viscous coupling. (2000)
Headlights
Description: There were campaigns to replace the headlight-wiring assembly (with built-in resistor), headlight bulbs, and headlight-wiper stop lug. Turn-signal-bulb sockets are also covered because of poor contact with bulbs. (1998-2000)
Battery
Description: A magnetic field is created because the battery is located in the trunk and the positive battery cable is routed through the vehicle. Swedish owners who complained were offered a repair kit. (2000)
Fuel economy
Description: Due to contamination entering via the reference tub, oxygen sensors may fail prematurely. (1998)

Recall History

1998
Description: Operation of headlight switch over extended period of time can result in inconsistent operation.
1998
Description: Front-passenger airbag may be overly sensitive to certain electrostatic discharges; could possibly cause inadvertent deployment.
1998-00 S70
Description: Over extended time period, headlight switch may cease to operate.
1998-99 V70 w/third seat
Description: Users of third seat can contact tailpipe when exiting the vehicle.
1999 S70
Description: Fuel-filter bracket configuration margins on some cars are insufficient; in the event of a crash, fuel leakage could occur.
1999-00
Description: A dirty throttle housing and/or inefficient software calibration may force the vehicle into limp home mode. Dealers will install the current software upgrade onto the involved vehicles.
2000
Description: Front turn signal may not operate as desired because there is inadequate contact between the bulb and the socket.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.