A turbocharged wagon with a manual? What's not to love?
A brand new Volvo V90 or V90 Cross Country will set you back $52,000 and $55,000, respectively. Not everyone has that kind of bank available, but this doesn't mean they should miss out. Wagons, especially performance wagons, are a dying breed and Volvo isn't giving up on them. Nor should it.
The history of the Volvo wagon goes back decades but only in more recent times has it turned them into performance vehicles with enthusiast street cred. One such example is the V70R. Launched in 1997 as the successor to the 850 T-5R and 850R, the V70R ditched the 850's blocky styling for a more rounded and softer look. It shared a platform with the 850 but received almost 2,000 changes ranging from improved safety systems, standard power windows, and a redesigned interior. All-wheel drive was optional.
The V70R was the hands-down choice for the enthusiast with kids whose spouse demanded something safe. Instead of the base model's naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-five, the R was equipped with a turbocharged and intercooled version initially rated at 237 horsepower.
The formula worked well enough to justify a second-gen V70R, which arrived for 2003. Riding on a new platform, the wagon featured fresh styling inside and out and a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five with 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It was only offered with a torque-vectoring Haldex all-wheel drive system and a choice of two gearboxes: a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Volvo claimed a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds and an electronically controlled top speed of 155 mph.
Other performance features included Brembo brakes and a multimode suspension with three unique settings. It was certainly an enticing package but was never a strong seller. Minivans and early crossovers remained the dominant family haulers.
If you're looking for a potential bargain, you can place a bid for this 2005 V70R up for auction this week on Cars And Bids. This six-speed manual example has zero accidents and comes with the 17-inch Pegasus alloy wheels, rear spoiler, an electronically-controlled active chassis, and a leather interior. Its owner did perform a few modifications like a cold-air intake system, aftermarket exhaust, front and rear wheel spacers, and audio system. Total mileage is 203,200 but the highest bid is only $4,100, as of this writing. The auction will end on April 19.