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Volvo XC70 2004 Review

In one store, you can buy things that will grow plants, kill plants, shelter plants, enhance plants, illuminate plants and even help plant plants.

What more can a person wish for? Well, perhaps a vehicle that can accommodate all that is on offer at one store and then take home all the stuff that the Visa card could afford.

Which is where the Volvo XC70 fits precisely into the hardware store weekend because it also is one place you can do virtually everything.

Volvo specifically advertises the XC70 – the XC stands for cross-country and the 70 is the model series shared with the 2WD V70 wagon – as an all-wheel-drive.

It hints you can go to lots of places you haven't been before.

Like trundling through a trail between poplars and pines in the snow searching for a standling that will become the Christmas tree.

Packing the roof with windsurfers before taking to the Portugal coast and bringing home that humungous turkey in time for America's Thanksgiving Day.

Or, more relatively, going to the hardware shop on Sunday in Perth.

Volvo's XC70 actually does all these things with aplomb.

Though it doesn't have the panache of some other equivalently priced soft-roaders, the more conservatively styled wagon loses none of the versatility. Yes, it is shaped like a conventional wagon and, more than most rivals, equates more to the Holden Adventra in price and features.

Despite the long bonnet and stretched appearance of the Volvo, it is shorter than the Kluger/Lexus RX330 cousins yet is much lower, so it's easy to get in and out.

Surprisingly, the Volvo has better ground clearance and the 65-profile tyres give excellent potential for deflation to traverse soft sand.

Not that I was willing to do that. Yes, it probably would do reasonably well on the beaches, though the XC70 isn't light and the long wheelbase increases the chances of being caught.

It weighs a hefty 1729kg, though matched to the similarly priced Lexus, it is actually more than 100kg lighter.

The five-speed automatic gearbox comes with sequential change – so you can play with it, thinking it is a manual – which has got to be one of the best around.

But even better is the turbocharged 2.4-litre five-cylinder engine.

Though the five cylinders mean the exhaust beat is a bit off-pace, the motor is a free revver and is very quiet at cruising speeds.

Occupants revel in a ride that – on bitumen – is so comfortable that Peugeot would be as green as absinth and as euphoric.

On a long, winding, windy and wet country road, where safety is paramount, the Volvo treated it all as child's play – the mark of a good country tourer that can pretty much do everything.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Cross Country 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $4,200 – 6,820 2004 Volvo XC70 2004 Cross Country Pricing and Specs
Lifestyle Edition (LE) 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,000 – 7,700 2004 Volvo XC70 2004 Lifestyle Edition (LE) Pricing and Specs