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Coloring Outside the Lines: 2003 Crossover Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Volvo XC70 - Crossing Sweden
2003 Volvo XC70

Volvo's stellar new XC90 SUV has gotten a lot of attention lately, particularly from the motoring press that has filled the Volvo trophy case with award after award this year for excellence in SUV-ness. Yet, the XC90 isn't the Volvo's only offering worth considering for people who like what SUVs do. The XC70 (formerly known as the Cross Country, or the V70 XC) is based on Volvo's excellent V70 wagon, which has gotten a suspension lift and some all-season tires to give it some on-road attitude and off-road credibility.

Like Audi's significantly more expensive allroad, the Volvo XC70 retains all of the inherent goodness of its mid-sized wagon sibling, including the V70's gorgeous, ergonomically brilliant interior. Go ahead, treat your tush to these delectable seats. Slide your feet across the snazzy Berber carpets. Send your ears into aural bliss with the XC70's high-fidelity sound systems. Seriously, this is one nice place to spend time.

And that's a good thing, since we spend so much of our lives in cars…usually moving (sometimes slowly, but moving nonetheless). And to get us moving, Volvo equips the XC70 with a 208-hp inline-five-cylinder turbocharged engine-not an autobahn-stormer, but quick enough, and besides, how many of us will be driving our crossovers on the autobahn. All-wheel-drive is standard (as it usually is on anything with "X" in its name). To stop us from moving, or at least from moving in a direction we don't want to be going, Volvo offer stability control on the XC70 as an affordable ($695) option. World-class brakes with ABS, as well as front, side and curtain air bags are standard.

Prices start in the mid $30K range, and go up to the mid $40K range if you're heavy on options.