All-New Volvo XC70: Driving Dynamics "As You Like It"
"The all-new XC70 has been further developed in every respect," says Thomas Ahlborg, XC70 Project Director. "The chassis technology offers high-class driving feel and superb control whatever the situation. With the intelligent all-wheel-drive system and raised ground clearance, we furthermore add in those characteristic XC properties of excellent get-you-there ability and formidable capability. What is more, we are launching Hill Descent Control, which makes it easier to master crawling in low gear on steep downhill gradients."
Not only the driveline but the entire vehicle has been developed and balanced to give a first-class driving experience, based largely on a pliant ride and secure road-holding allied to high stability. Stability is in fact particularly important when driving with a heavy load and/or on poor road surfaces.
The body features a highly-advanced structure that contributes to both good deformation properties in the event of a collision and high-torsional rigidity. Thanks to the design of the body structure and the optimized use of different grades of high-strength steel, the torsional rigidity has been increased by no less than 15 percent compared to the previous XC70 model.
Good torsional rigidity is the very basis of the vehicle's excellent ride and road-holding properties. The chassis technology has been further developed compared to the previous XC70 model, providing even more stable and more controlled road manners. A great deal of attention has been paid to features such as the suspension system and engine installation to ensure high-class comfort. In order to provide the necessary get-you-there ability on difficult surfaces, the XC70 has raised ground clearance, riding 8.27 inches.
The all-new Volvo XC70 is equipped with Volvo's all-wheel-drive system. Using an electronically controlled hydraulic clutch, the system distributes drive between the front and rear wheels to ensure the best possible road grip in all situations. The system features Instant Traction, which shifts drive at lightning speed from the front to the rear wheels when starting on a slippery or loose surface.
"Some off-road vehicles have an extra low gear for crawling, but we have chosen a more sophisticated solution that better suits our XC concept," says Ahlborg. "It's called Hill Descent Control (HDC) and makes it easier to crawl in bottom gear on steep downhill slopes." Using the vehicle's brakes and engine torque, HDC controls the XC70's speed and keeps it steady at approximately 6 mph. This function is activated via a button in the instrument panel. The driver can easily take command over HDC by pressing the accelerator or brake pedal. Changing gear automatically disengages HDC. All changes take place smoothly and gently.
Speed-dependent power steering is available as an option, delivering more servo assistance at low speeds. For instance, the system facilitates "crawling" slowly on difficult surfaces. Servo assistance is reduced as speed rises, disappearing entirely at higher cruising speeds. To provide the driver with the most optimum road feedback, the servo effect can be adjusted via the vehicle's information and set-up system. Three levels of servo assistance are available.
In order to assist the driver when starting on an uphill gradient, the all-new XC70 has a smart, electrically operated parking brake system known as Power Parking Brake. If the parking brake is engaged at traffic lights, for instance, it is automatically disengaged when the accelerator is pressed and the vehicle moves off. (The driver's seat belt must be secured for this function to operate.)
The parking brake is engaged by pushing a lever to the left of the steering wheel and disengaged by pulling the lever. To ensure that the parking brake is applied when the vehicle is parked, it is automatically engaged when the key is removed from the ignition switch or, if the all-new XC70 is equipped with keyless drive, when the door is opened. This function must be selected initially in the vehicle settings menu.
DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) is standard in the all-new XC70. This is a stability-enhancing system that when necessary reduces engine torque and applies carefully calculated braking power to reduce the risk of a skid.
"By combining systems such as AWD and DSTC we can offer a driving experience of extremely high caliber under virtually all operating conditions, even when the vehicle is loaded," says Ahlborg. "The fact that the driver can also influence the vehicle's character via the alternative chassis settings makes the experience and the feeling of control even more highly appreciated.
"By building on the modern S80 base when we designed the all-new XC70 model, we have been able to improve both comfort and the scope for utilizing the vehicle in an intelligent way," he added. "More interior space and more versatile functions make the all-new XC70 a truly capable companion for adventurers and everyday motorists alike."
All New XC70 approach, departure, ramp angle, and ground clearance data compared to previous model:
Previous XC70 All New XC70
Approach angle 18.0º 19.2º
Departure angle 20.0º 24.0º
Ramp angle 16.0º 19.8º
Ground clearance 8.23 in. 8.27 in.
NOTE: Ground clearance is similar, however with significant improvements to all other measurements and in combination with Hill Descent Control,....the All New XC70 represents quite an improvement in capability compared to the outgoing vehicle.
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