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Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 11:19 a.m.

Just wanted to start a general thread about these cars, saw a couple threads on the older Auto-only V70r, but not much on the 04-07 cars with 300hp and the row your own 6-speed. I'm getting pretty serious about finding one of these for myself. I love driving my E36, but I'm really tired of borrowing my Mom's Mazda5 every time I need to make a run to Ikea or Home Depot. I also kind of made my E36 too stiff and aggressive for winter up here, it's great on a track or a smooth twisty road, but I've got the S2000 for that. An E36 touring would be pretty swell if it existed in the states, but unfortunately we were not blessed with its presence.

Lately I have been on the hunt for a stick-equipped, fast, fun, well-appointed mid-size or larger wagon, maybe 7-8 years old in the 8-12k range. E91 BMWs are great, but they're a few thou above this range, plus there's the fact that they basically don't exist in MT form. E46its are slightly easier to find, but people still want a premium for stick wagons, and they're starting to get a little long in the tooth (the subframe issues scare me a bit also). I'd consider Audis, but I've kind of disliked them since the mid-90s and reliability terrifies me. I know there are several well known potentially expensive failures in the V70R, but if the angle gear is leak-free, the clutch slave is good, and the electronic shocks work, they seem pretty robust otherwise. We've certainly got a thorough network of independent volvo shops up here in New England as well.

Anyone on here own or have owned one? I just keep coming back to it, I don't think there's anything else that hits all my targets. A Legacy GT stick is going to cost just as much and they're a substantially cheaper feeling car, especially inside (surprisingly, my friend with a stick LGT didn't try to talk me into one when I showed him a V70 I was looking at). The V70R interiors, particularly the seats, really appeal to me.

mw
mw HalfDork
3/20/12 2:10 p.m.

Saab combi?

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Reader
3/20/12 3:00 p.m.

Saab wagon should be on your list as well. They're a lot cheaper than a V70R. No AWD, but after driving with snow tires I don't see the need for it.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
3/20/12 3:04 p.m.

It is fairly easy to find a SAAB wagon with a stick and they will be cheaper than the V70R. With that being said that generation R Volvo is a very cool ride.

bluesideup
bluesideup Reader
3/20/12 3:16 p.m.

When I drove a V70R it felt a lot slower than I thought it should for 300hp. Maybe they are heavy? The seats were pretty awesome though.

Here in SoCal they can't give away a Saab wagon with a stick. There are some nice examples and seem ok as long as you don't mind wrong wheel drive.

Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 3:22 p.m.

I have never driven a Saab and actually liked it. It's possible that I haven't driven the right saabs. I probably wouldn't mind a turbo Saabaru, but I don't think it's worth a big premium over a WRX or the trouble of finding one. I really don't want a FWD car though. I know it would be perfectly fine in the snow with good tires, but an AWD car and a turbo car are both boxes I've never checked off in my vehicular history. A guy at my old office had a 6-speed V70R since new (he might still have it, I don't work there anymore), and I guess I've just always had a thing for them.

I'd take that Amazon in your avatar though :).

Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
3/20/12 3:29 p.m.

I tried really hard to even test drive a stick V70R when I was car shopping last winter, but they sell same-day up here in the NW. I still really like them. Definitely try one out and let us know!

(I did get to drive a Turbo V70 FWD/Auto, the T5 maybe? It felt pretty punchy, but a manual was a no-compromise decision for me, so I didn't get to far with it. I'd imagine the R with the stick would be pretty quick after driving this one).

dculberson
dculberson HalfDork
3/20/12 3:32 p.m.

I don't know anything about how the V70r drives since I've never driven one, but my 850 feels faster than its 222hp would imply, but it's front wheel drive which means easy loss of traction. Squealing tires = feels fast. ;-)

I know the V70r looks the business and I love the shifter. But I've never driven one. I don't think the Saab would feel like a worthy replacement.

Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 3:47 p.m.
bluesideup wrote: When I drove a V70R it felt a lot slower than I thought it should for 300hp. Maybe they are heavy? The seats were pretty awesome though.

Did you put it in "advanced" mode? My friend's S60r felt quite a bit different in advanced, the drive by wire throttle is kind of lazy in the lower modes. The 04-05 automatic models were also torque-limited by 60 lb-ft or so in the first two gears to preserve the transmission. Also, of course it's heavy. It's a large AWD station wagon with all sorts of electronic goodies, up around 3600lb. The official acceleration numbers are only a few tenths behind my S2000, though. Sure seemed like plenty of thrust in the S60.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
3/20/12 5:08 p.m.

A decent fourum: http://v70r.com/forums/forum/3-2004-2007-v70r/

parts are plentiful and reasonable: http://www.fcpgroton.com/

a good place to find v70r's for sale: http://forums.swedespeed.com/forumdisplay.php?34-FWD-AWD-Cars-For-Sale

here is one: http://knoxville.craigslist.org/cto/2896389472.html

Remaps by IPD or Speedtuning or whoever remove the torque limiting from the map on the toyota sourced 5 speed auto and no one blows up the boxes. The 6 speed getrag auto of the 2005-6 is not limited and is a better box.

the 6 speed maunal transmission cars will need a clutch as the slave cylinder quits and it is in the bell housing so it's major surgery. the new part is revised and fixes it.

the angle gear is the weak link and many of the cars have had them replaced. the new part is revised and is hopefully better. but the are not cheap and do crap out.

the 5 pot and auxiliarys are as reliable as dirt and will make pretty decent power with bolt on's and a remap. they are not really good hot climate cars as they are under intercooled (fixable) but like any turbo car the colder the better.

the seats are fab as is the entire interior.

the oem audio is good to very good depending on options

the brembo brakes look cool and work great.

the struts go away and are integral to the suspension puter so they need to stay oem which aint cheap.

there are lots of little motors and sensors that can create the need for mothership computer hook up to diagnose and most volvo deals suck.

there are a handful of 5 speed manual equipped p2 v70 cars that move pretty good once the are moving and do not have as much giznoptronics to go wrong. rare birds though.

I want one as the family SUV GT. Our 1995 855 t5 has been great.

Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 6:46 p.m.

Great post, even if I knew a lot of that stuff already .

I've been checking Swedespeed regularly and researching parts prices pretty thoroughly, and I think this can be a pretty reasonable car to own for someone who's handy and attentive to upkeep.

That one in TN looks decent, if a bit high on the price, but I have at least 3 MT V70Rs to check out in the New England area before I'd travel that far.

Good to know about the remaps to fix the factory detune on the AT cars, although I haven't bought a vehicle without a clutch in my lifetime, and I don't plan to change that now :).

At the age/mileage range I am looking at, the clutch slave will most likely be already replaced. Ditto for the angle gear, and if it is dry and quiet when I inspect the car it will most likely not cause me problems because I will be watching for leaks like a hawk. I may try to pick up a spare and re-collar/re-seal it to have ready if I run across a deal.

The struts are made by Monroe, and they have made them available on the secondary market so you don't have to pay volvo prices anymore. A full set is around $1200, which is still pricey, but I'd probably spend that much on decent quality coilovers for most other cars.

Shaun wrote: here is one: http://knoxville.craigslist.org/cto/2896389472.html Remaps by IPD or Speedtuning or whoever remove the torque limiting from the map on the toyota sourced 5 speed auto and no one blows up the boxes. The 6 speed getrag auto of the 2005-6 is not limited and is a better box. the 6 speed maunal transmission cars will need a clutch as the slave cylinder quits and it is in the bell housing so it's major surgery. the new part is revised and fixes it. the angle gear is the weak link and many of the cars have had them replaced. the new part is revised and is hopefully better. but the are not cheap and do crap out. the 5 pot and auxiliarys are as reliable as dirt and will make pretty decent power with bolt on's and a remap. they are not really good hot climate cars as they are under intercooled (fixable) but like any turbo car the colder the better. the struts go away and are integral to the suspension puter so they need to stay oem which aint cheap. there are lots of little motors and sensors that can create the need for mothership computer hook up to diagnose and most volvo deals suck. there are a handful of 5 speed manual equipped p2 v70 cars that move pretty good once the are moving and do not have as much giznoptronics to go wrong. rare birds though.

Are you referring to one like this?

http://www.concordmotorsport.com/detail-2001-volvo-v70_t5-premium_package-used-7358843.html

That one's on the list of cars I want to drive this weekend, along with 3 MT V70Rs, one AT V70R, and an E91 328xi.

11110000
11110000 Reader
3/20/12 6:59 p.m.

My brother has an '04 V70R w/manual trans. His came with an Evolve sport exhaust. It is quick, fun and practical. I have an '06 S80 AWD. Both our complex machines have been cheap to maintain for the last couple of years. YMMV.

The AWD is a must have for me, since it does away with the torque steer that makes these cars feel cheap in lesser versions. The bad weather capability is just a bonus. If you're comfortable working on cars, you can still do a lot on these modern Volvos - there's just less space to do it.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
3/20/12 7:13 p.m.
Josh wrote: Are you referring to one like this? http://www.concordmotorsport.com/detail-2001-volvo-v70_t5-premium_package-used-7358843.html That one's on the list of cars I want to drive this weekend, along with 3 MT V70Rs, one AT V70R, and an E91 328xi.

That is one. I think it is MY 2005 up to the end of the p2 run (2007?) that the v70 t5's receive a engine very similar to the R motor. Smaller bore (down to 2.4 l) and a different map are the only differences IIRC. Same turbo, rods, exhaust- I think they are rated at 260hp out of the box. Real tire eaters. A manual one of those (if you can find one) would be entertaining. I have seen one for sale- It was remapped, exhaust, had sway bars and a quaife diff.

I predict the 328xi is going to feel tiny.

Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 7:58 p.m.
11110000 wrote: The AWD is a must have for me, since it does away with the torque steer that makes these cars feel cheap in lesser versions. The bad weather capability is just a bonus. If you're comfortable working on cars, you can still do a lot on these modern Volvos - there's just less space to do it.

That's why I want to drive that 5-speed FWD T5, I have driven my friend's '04 S60 MT and really liked it, and I drove an '04 V70 T5 AWD auto and it was sucktacular. I mean, it would have been fine for my mom or something, but both my Mom's 5 and my dad's CR-V are tighter handling and more engaging to drive, and this was a car with only 60k miles. I have a feeling that I'm just not going to be able to get interested in any Volvo but an R with a stick.

From what I see, the Rs aren't as unreliable as their reputation might suggest, they just do not suffer inattentive owners well. A lot of the first wave of owners were probably lawyers and orthodontists whose awareness of vehicle maintenance consisted of punching the volvo dealer's address into their GPS when a light in the dash told them to. Now that they're trickling into enthusiast hands I think they're going to get harder and harder to find as we'll all keep them maintained for another 10 years and 100k+.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UltraDork
3/20/12 8:04 p.m.

I think I mention this every time the V70R comes up, but it was really noticeable: an Airbus A380 has a tighter turning radius than a the Volvo. I don't know if this is Volvo specific, but daaaaaaymn.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
3/20/12 8:12 p.m.
Josh wrote: That's why I want to drive that 5-speed FWD T5, I have driven my friend's '04 S60 MT and really liked it, and I drove an '04 V70 T5 AWD auto and it was sucktacular. I mean, it would have been fine for my mom or something, but both my Mom's 5 and my dad's CR-V are tighter handling and more engaging to drive, and this was a car with only 60k miles. I have a feeling that I'm just not going to be able to get interested in any Volvo but an R with a stick. From what I see, the Rs aren't as unreliable as their reputation might suggest, they just do not suffer inattentive owners well. A lot of the first wave of owners were probably lawyers and orthodontists whose awareness of vehicle maintenance consisted of punching the volvo dealer's address into their GPS when a light in the dash told them to. Now that they're trickling into enthusiast hands I think they're going to get harder and harder to find as we'll all keep them maintained for another 10 years and 100k+.

A common comment on Volvo forums that is consistent with my experience is that they are reliable cars and they break nice and slowly so you can fix it and they don't leave you stranded. They have long product cycles- they are still using the the modular whiteblock 20 years in and it was one one of Wards 10 best engines last year. Stuff is worked out, and if it isn't they revise the replacement parts. Only Mercedes last longer. That said- stuff breaks, and as you go up the trim levels there is more stuff to break.

The turning radius on the R's (and any p2 awd) is atrocious.

Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 8:13 p.m.
Shaun wrote: I predict the 328xi is going to feel tiny.

Probably. I would love to keep in the BMW family but I don't think they have anything that works for me. I never really warmed up to the E46s, and similar year MT Tourings get similar money to V70Rs, but for an older design with less room, 100 less HP, and far less cool factor in the interior and feature list. E91s are nicer but still too much money to be a good value, and even harder to find with a stick. It surprises me how FEW sport-optioned MT BMW wagons there are out there. They don't even make them with the good engines. I would think a hot 3er Touring would be the preferred mount of the Anything-But-an-SUV enthusiast family man, but I guess that market doesn't exist. I know when I'm 45 and I can finally afford to order up a BMW for Euro delivery, mine's going to be the hot-roddiest 3 or 5 series wagon they'll build me.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
3/20/12 9:52 p.m.

Saw an E39 touring today. May be another option to the V70r. I don't see many manuals around- that optional third row seat, though... sweet.

Josh
Josh Dork
3/20/12 10:00 p.m.

In reply to Teh E36 M3:

Dumb thing about E39 Tourings: you can't get a V8 with a stick. If I want a stick, I'm stuck with a ~190hp six in a 4000lb car. Yuck. If I wanted a project a manual swap into a 540t would be pretty cool, but I am looking for less vehicular projects in my life right now, not more.

11110000
11110000 Reader
3/21/12 5:44 a.m.
Josh wrote: That's why I want to drive that 5-speed FWD T5, I have driven my friend's '04 S60 MT and really liked it, and I drove an '04 V70 T5 AWD auto and it was sucktacular. I mean, it would have been fine for my mom or something, but both my Mom's 5 and my dad's CR-V are tighter handling and more engaging to drive, and this was a car with only 60k miles. I have a feeling that I'm just not going to be able to get interested in any Volvo but an R with a stick. From what I see, the Rs aren't as unreliable as their reputation might suggest, they just do not suffer inattentive owners well. A lot of the first wave of owners were probably lawyers and orthodontists whose awareness of vehicle maintenance consisted of punching the volvo dealer's address into their GPS when a light in the dash told them to. Now that they're trickling into enthusiast hands I think they're going to get harder and harder to find as we'll all keep them maintained for another 10 years and 100k+.

You must have driven a 2.5T AWD. Stock, it's not that exciting; but it's really the same as the R motor with an extra half point of compression and a tiny turbo. You can make those motors scream as well with a bigger turbo + exhaust + tune - but that's another story. The suspension tuning will be stiffer in a T5 model. Certain 2.5T and T5 models were also available with the 4C electronic suspension as well, but with only 2 modes as opposed to 3 in the R.

You've got the right impression about these Volvos. The cars are not unreliable, especially in the hands of a knowledgeable owner. Often they will telegraph their needs for maintenance weeks or months in advance, giving you the chance to fix something before it becomes a serious problem. The typical advice applies; buy the best maintained, newest model you can afford, and it should treat you well.

car39
car39 HalfDork
3/21/12 7:49 a.m.

I tried to autox an S60R a few times. We called it the Dancing Bear because of the turning radius. Great highway cruiser, though.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
3/21/12 11:22 a.m.

If you can find a 9-5 Aero stick cloes take it for a drive before you write off SAAB.

JFX001
JFX001 SuperDork
3/21/12 11:28 a.m.

Maybe an '04-'05 Forester XT?

xflowgolf
xflowgolf New Reader
3/21/12 11:47 a.m.
Josh wrote: It surprises me how FEW sport-optioned MT BMW wagons there are out there. They don't even make them with the good engines. ... I know when I'm 45 and I can finally afford to order up a BMW for Euro delivery, mine's going to be the hot-roddiest 3 or 5 series wagon they'll build me.

I've often dreamed of building my own. Buy clean E39 Touring sans drivetrain. Add LSx + T56. Toss in M5 goodies for styling/suspension upgrades and you would have a kick ass wagon.

On a budget one could be built for quite reasonable if you had the time/space to wrench.

...back to the V70R, that's my favorite current turn key wagon option in your price range. Agreed the Legacy GT is less plush for the money. My wife has a smaller '08 V50 with the T5 and it's been a great car!

Josh
Josh Dork
3/21/12 1:02 p.m.
11110000 wrote: You must have driven a 2.5T AWD. Stock, it's not that exciting; but it's really the same as the R motor with an extra half point of compression and a tiny turbo. You can make those motors scream as well with a bigger turbo + exhaust + tune - but that's another story. The suspension tuning will be stiffer in a T5 model. Certain 2.5T and T5 models were also available with the 4C electronic suspension as well, but with only 2 modes as opposed to 3 in the R.

You're right: http://www.autonorth.net/2004-Volvo-V70-25T-PortlandME/vd/9075465

These things have too many alphanumeric combinations to keep straight. I think I could have lived with it if it were a stick and had the 4C suspension. I don't even know if that combination exists, and I'd probably find a good R before I find that anyway. The laziness of this one was probably more the auto+soft suspension than the engine, it seemed like it moved pretty well once you waited for the engine room to respond to your command.

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