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Volvo C70 2006 Review

The new model is just the second generation of its kind. And with its stylish looks, impressive retracting roof and great sound system, it seems the negative stereotypes of the brand in the past have all but disappeared.

The new C70 should equally appeal to the young and the young at heart.

It is available in two engine sizes: a 2.4-litre, five-cylinder 125kW unit called the LE and for those after a little more fun there's also the 2.5-litre, five-cylinder, turbo-charged T5, delivering 162kW of power.

Both are available in a six-speed manual or a five-speed Geartronic transmission.

And the two are separated by $10,000 and some differing specs, the LE priced at $69,950 and the T5 carrying a $79,950 price point.

And just because you can take the roof off, that doesn't mean the safety-crazy Swedes have sacrificed protection. The C70 program development director, Olle Odsell, says a new roll-over protection system provides a high level of safety for occupants.

"The roll-over protection system comes up in a roll-over or high-speed, rear-end collision to protect from flying objects," he says.

The system is activated whether the roof is up or down, going through the back window when it is up. And while Odsell says the roof in the boot would "pretty much be a write-off" in a high-speed accident, it can take a collision of up to 15km per hour without any major damage. The roof takes 30 seconds to retract.

And in doing so, it diminishes the amount of boot space, as you would expect. But there is still enough room for some smaller bags, although it is quite limited.

The C70 also features other impressive Volvo technology such as door-mounted inflatable curtain airbags to compensate for the lack of a fixed roof, anti-lock braking system, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Side Impact Protection System, Intelligent Driver Information System and the Whiplash Protection System. The C70 hasn't undergone official crash testing, but Volvo is confident it will be a top performer.

"We are claiming it's the world's safest convertible. That's us knowing how we've tested it and how it will perform," Volvo spokesman Todd Hallenbeck says. "We're confident it will be a five-star rating."

The convertible has also experienced improved body torsional rigidity over the previous generation, by 50 to 100 per cent.

And on the road, the car feels very strong and confident, tackling the twisting country roads around Victoria on its launch this week.

While it's slightly heavier than its predecessor, the C70 is still quicker, with the manual T5 taking 7.6 seconds to reach 100km compared to the old figure of eight seconds.

Turbo lag on the more powerful T5 is not much concern and it has great low speed and high speed dynamics.

The lack of a real noticeable lag can be attributed to the high 320Nm of torque at low revs, coming through from 1500rpm to 4800rpm. Turning is also quite sharp and the T5 adjusted well on the winding roads to Mt Buller. It's not a convertible that will see you break any speed records on the road; the C70 is more of a classy, elegant performer.

And it is still enjoyable to drive.

When testing the manual T5, a rattle in the roof was evident when this was up. While the problem was annoying, it seemed to disappear after a while.

With two comfortable larger seats in the back, Volvo also claims this is the first modern, four-seater, hard-top convertible. Hallenbeck says while other models may have four seats, they're more 2+2-seaters.

With the roof up, tall passengers may be a bit pushed for room, but there is a decent amount of leg space considering it's a convertible.

The C70 also shares the same wheelbase with the S40, but has a wider track.

It was at first designed as a coupe and then engineered as a convertible.

It is quite a long car, especially for a convertible, but sits at a similar size in appearance to its competitors.

These include the BMW 3 Series, the Saab 9-3 and the Audi A4 convertibles.

Differing features between the two models include a better sound system in the T5, bigger 18-inch wheels compared to the LE's 17-inch and Bi-Xenon lights on the range topper. Rear parking assist is standard on both models.

The LE has a high performance sound system with eight speakers, whereas the

T5 features a premium sound 12 Dynaudio speaker system, with a six-disc CD player.

The interior is well suited to the style of the car, with Volvo's floating console, leather seats and efficient storage spaces.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

LE 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $7,500 – 11,660 2006 Volvo C70 2006 LE Pricing and Specs
T5 2.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $7,600 – 11,770 2006 Volvo C70 2006 T5 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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