RexSeven HalfDork
April 27, 2009 7:00 p.m.

1999 Volvo V70R on AutoTrader

I'm thinking of replacing my Subaru Impreza coupe with a hatch or wagon. I'm not saying I'm ditiching the GC as of right now, just exploring my options since I've found myself having to borrow my dad's Rendezvous more often lately (the suspension is so floaty, it's unnerving. Typical Buick). I'd like something with more cargo room, good winter traction, and four seats. Decent mileage, newish, and fun-to-drive are plusses. $7,000 is the upper limit I'm looking at right now.

I'm thinking a turbobrick- that's right, a Volvo. This one looks like it will fit the bill very nicely, at least on the surface and despite being an autotragic. Any tips? Knowledge? Anything horribly wrong with these? I'm already looking at Subaru Impreza and Legacy wagons as an alternative and I'm chock full-o-knowledge on those, but I know little about Volvos.

Toyman01 Reader
April 27, 2009 7:36 p.m.

Not sure of the year, but this is the one my daughter autocrosses. Wicked looking wagon and fast.

[URL=http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2039702930102935933zQfPPD][/URL]

pres589 New Reader
April 27, 2009 7:36 p.m.

There was an article in the magazine a couple years ago. The picture I got from it was, the auto trans isn't very long lived in these things and they can get a little rattly inside. Otherwise pretty good cars.

Osterkraut HalfDork
April 27, 2009 7:37 p.m.

Battleship's turning radii make them jealous. Just saying.

I looked at them when wagon shopping, along with the Impreza and Leggy wagons.

I really love my WRX wagon.

Lugnut Reader
April 27, 2009 7:44 p.m.

I really liked the V70R. Acceptably quick, moreso with a software upgrade, nice looking, comfy, feels quality... But I didn't like it $8,000 more than my 740 turbo wagon, which I love. A lot.

And I really loved my WRX wagon, too.

RexSeven HalfDork
April 27, 2009 8:15 p.m.

WRX wagon is out of the equation, for now. Insurance rates for WRXs in my area are stratospheric . Which leads to another question: About how reasonable is the insurance on the V70R compared to the WRX, Lugnut?

I'm also looking at GF Impreza/Outbacks and 2nd/3rd-gen Legacies since I'm already familiar with the mechanicals, though I would like something quicker. The 3.0L H-6 Legacies are hard-to-find for less than $7,000.

Thanks for the heads-up on the turning radius, Oster.

HiTempguy Reader
April 27, 2009 8:23 p.m.

The Volvo V70R wagon was the fastest production vehicle available in Canada at one point in the 90's. True story. That makes it pretty cool in my books, but for God's sake get a stick!

Schermerica
Schermerica New Reader
April 27, 2009 8:32 p.m.

I think its a Volvo station wagon. I hear they're fast, but an automatic stationwagon isn't really a sports car.

ReverendDexter HalfDork
April 27, 2009 9:10 p.m.
Schermerica wrote: I think its a Volvo station wagon. I hear they're fast, but an automatic stationwagon isn't really a sports car.

Unless it's got a big block in it.

Don't actually know if the above is a stick or automatic, but it's a RWD wagon with a 426 in it, so I don't think it matters, hahaha.

Regarding the OP, I've always loved the look of the R-type Volvos, know they run ~300hp from a turbo 5-cylinder, and that's about it. If you forget about Episodes 1-3, it's the car Darth Vader's mom would've driven.

RossD Reader
April 27, 2009 9:25 p.m.

check an audi allroad wagon or just the A6 wagon for the less plastic armor look. the allroad gets the 2.7 twin turbo normally with air ride suspension. I dont know if you could get the allroad with a standard transmission but you can get the twin turbo A6 with a six speed (again I'm not sure if the manual and wagon came together.) The six speed and twin turbos are fun, ask me how I know .(I'd rather drive my audi than my jeep cherokee when its snowing out, unless there's massive amounts of snow and the ground clearance of the jeep cannot be ignored.)

RexSeven HalfDork
April 27, 2009 10:58 p.m.
RossD wrote: check an audi allroad wagon or just the A6 wagon for the less plastic armor look. the allroad gets the 2.7 twin turbo normally with air ride suspension. I dont know if you could get the allroad with a standard transmission but you can get the twin turbo A6 with a six speed (again I'm not sure if the manual and wagon came together.) The six speed and twin turbos are fun, ask me how I know .(I'd rather drive my audi than my jeep cherokee when its snowing out, unless there's massive amounts of snow and the ground clearance of the jeep cannot be ignored.)

Audi allroads and twin-turbo A6s bottom out at $9,500- too high. N/A V-6 and 1.8T A4s and A6s fall under my price point, but they are few and far bewteen.

HiTempguy wrote: The Volvo V70R wagon was the fastest production vehicle available in Canada at one point in the 90's. True story. That makes it pretty cool in my books, but for God's sake get a stick!

IIRC, no turbo Volvos of this vintage got sticks, and N/A FWD Volvo manuals won't swap into AWD versions like this V70R. Not that I could do any swaps anyways; my driveway is too cramped.

I'm looking exclusively at sticks for the N/A Volvos and the Subarus, but for the turbo Volvos, I can live with the slushbox (I know- sacrelidge, you're not a real car guy, etc.). A 0-60 time in the low 7's make up for that, and I'll still have the FC for my stick-shift/twisty road driving fix. If I get a wagon, it will be a highway commuter and winter car with some stuff- and people-hauling thrown in.

skruffy
skruffy Dork
April 27, 2009 11:19 p.m.

Dexter, while that big block wagon is certainly fast and very neat, it's anything but a sports car....

HappyAndy Reader
April 27, 2009 11:21 p.m.

I am not to keen on AWD Volvos. My BIL just unloaded a V70XC ('98 i think) that was a complete nightmare: trans failure, front suspension failure, awd gear failure, rear axel bearing failure, turbo problems and a head gasket failure. this list is not compete, thats just what I remember. All this before it even hit 200k miles, pretty shabby compared to other older volvos that I have known. This car was completly stock and driven as a grocery getter only. To be fair, the maitanance history of this car before the BIL had it was unknown and it was probably abused. just my .02 YMMV

ReverendDexter HalfDork
April 27, 2009 11:58 p.m.
skruffy wrote: Dexter, while that big block wagon is certainly fast and very neat, it's anything but a sports car....

I know....

Doesn't stop me from wanting to autocross it, hahaha

Osterkraut HalfDork
April 28, 2009 1:13 a.m.
RexSeven wrote: it will be a highway commuter and winter car with some stuff- and people-hauling thrown in.

The V70R is suck for gas mileage, keep in mind.

foxtrapper SuperDork
April 28, 2009 5:09 a.m.

Is the AMM original? That's an important and expensive question for that year.

The V70R has a larger turbo than the GLT model, meaning it has longer legs, but also has more lag and less low end or streetable performance. A GLT will beat an R model in corner to corner drag races for example.

Problems with that car are air mass meter (total failure), abs module (pretty cheap fix), interesting PCV issues, and probably a few other I didn't think of. Expect random false OBD code trips. Volvo is interesting to work on, it's pretty clear they don't aprove of non factory servicing. But the V70 is not particularly hard to work on.

car39 Reader
April 28, 2009 8:00 a.m.

The last generation "R" was available in a 6 speed manual. Great highway car, not to good at autocross because of the poor turning circle. A good stealthmobile because it's a Volvo wagon: How fast could it go?

CrackMonkey HalfDork
April 28, 2009 8:33 a.m.

I have a the newer generation V70T5. Basically, a FWD, slightly lower-power version of the same drivetrain. We're approaching 100k miles trouble-free. It makes a great road-trip car, family hauler, etc.

Goods:

  • Comfy, especially with the sport seats (stock in T5s and Rs, optional in other trims)
  • Fast enough
  • Lots of room for stuff
  • Not as uncool as a minivan or SUV
  • Good brakes
  • Easily upgraded w/ chip and exhaust from IPD (swaybars and stuff available as well)
  • Most parts are reasonably priced from online vendors

Bads:

  • Mediocre fuel economy (we average 20mpg suburban commute, just shy of 30mpg 100% highway)
  • Eats tires, especially the OEM Pirellis.
  • Dealer service is $$$$

Check the forums at swedespeed.com for common problems, fixes, TSBs, and a list of different engine options and power outputs. For many of the years, the main difference between R and T5 was the AWD layout and ECU - most of the T5s are easily chipped up to R power levels. Also, for the era you are considering, the T5 was available with a 5spd, while the R was auto only. For the P2 chassis (00+?), the T5 could be had with a 5spd and the R with a 6spd (I think, check swedespeed or turbobric).

Lugnut Reader
April 28, 2009 8:50 a.m.
RexSeven wrote: About how reasonable is the insurance on the V70R compared to the WRX, Lugnut?

I really couldn't tell you. I have about ten thousand cars on any one policy and I couldn't tell you what the premium for any one of them is.

CrackMonkey HalfDork
April 28, 2009 10:02 a.m.
RexSeven wrote: About how reasonable is the insurance on the V70R compared to the WRX, Lugnut?

Not sure about the R, but my T5 is reasonable to insure.

2002maniac New Reader
April 28, 2009 11:54 a.m.

I was really close to picking up a V70XC for my wife last fall until I read the user reviews on edmunds and cars.com. Almost every single review mentioned transmission problems!

I ended up getting her a 2003 Impreza OBS 5-speed. We absolutely love it!

amg_rx7 Reader
April 28, 2009 12:13 p.m.

Audi A4s might also be an option. The drive pretty nicely and rock in slippery conditions. I'll be selling my A4 wagon with 5 speed manual soon once we move. No longer have space for 3 cars.

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