In the spring of 1997, Volvo replaced its 850 sedan and wagon with two of its early 1998 models, the S70 sedan and V70 station wagon. Though both were built from the same platform as the 850, they received new styling and revised suspensions. While the S70 came with front-wheel drive, the V70 could have either front- or all-wheel drive.

The remaining survivor of Volvo's lineup of traditional box types, the Volvo S70 is from the go-fast T5 version. The quickest and fastest car that Volvo has been able to produce for the automotive mark, the S stands for Sedan, while the number 70 is a midsize front-wheel-drive platform used in Volvo S70's crafting and manufacturing. The T5 stands for the turbocharged engine with five cylinders.

Descending from the very popular and very safe Volvo 850 the Volvo V70 was introduced in 1998 as the updated 850. The 850 designation was dropped across the line. For 1999, the Volvo's mainstay returned in base, GLT, and sporty T5 versions with front-drive. All-wheel drive was featured on the V70R and XC (Cross Country) wagon. The R wagon engine output rose to 247 horsepower from 236.

Introduced in 1998, from then until 2000 the Volvo S70 was simply an updated 850. Debuting over a decade ago in the Volvo 850, the V70 and S70 used the same 5-cylinder Porsche-designed engine. Featuring updated external and interior treatment, the S70 now offered an available manual transmission model for US markets and suspension improvements. Other than these updates, the likable sedan remained largely unchanged.

The Volvo S70 has the capacity to take in a maximum of five passengers in an extremely comfortable cabin. Direct competition to the Volvo S70 is the Audi A6, the Chrysler Concorde, the BMW 5 series, the Infiniti I 30, the Lexus ES 300, the Mercedes Benz C Class, the Mitsubishi Diamante and the Mazda Millenia. Priced well, though the engine has been considered sluggish without the turbocharger engine, the S70 has nice lines and a great reputation for quality and safety. Offering more room than any of its competition, the standard equipment for this vehicle includes a four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock braking system disc brakes, a front-wheel drive system, child safety locks, a power glass sunroof, a remote keyless entry system, a security system, a rack and pinion power steering, front and side airbags, a 9-way power driver's seat and much more.

Standard on AWD wagons and optional on front-drive models was a TRACS traction control system. This system would apply front brakes to limit wheel slippage at speeds under 25 mph. Standard on all models was antilock 4-wheel disc brakes.

Exterior updates on the S70 included a more rounded front end with a reshaped hood and new headlamps. In each body style, four models were available, Base, GL, GLT, and T5. With 168 horsepower, base models used a 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam 5-cylinder engine. GLT models received a turbocharged version of that same engine and produced 190 horsepower. T5 and R models received a 2.3-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder.

An AWD GLT sedan entered the lineup in 1999.

To optimize performance in normal stops, new electronic brake modulation was added. Throttle, as well as brake intervention, were featured with Volvo's traction-control system. Added to models with manual shift was a starter interlock while automatic transmissions gained 'adaptive' shift logic. Meanwhile, an engine immobilizer became standard on models. To match deployment force to road speed and belt use; (they automatically unlocked doors after the bags triggered), dashboard airbags received new two-stage sensors.

New in 2000, seat-mounted airbags were updated to aid in protecting the head along with the chest. Volvo's WHIPS system was newly standard, and was designed to move the front seatbacks and headrests rearward in a rear-end collision, to minimize whiplash. The engine in V70 R AWD was now rated at 261 horsepower. The V70 wagon lineup was trimmed for 2000 with the base AWD version and the front-drive performance-oriented T5 being dropped.

In 2001 the V70 received a brand new chassis along with interior and styling, the S70 was discontinued.

By Jessica Donaldson