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V70 R Good in Snow

V70 R in snow
My 2004 Volvo V70 R automatic in snow. Photo circa 2011, right after I put new Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires on her… DWS = “dry/wet/snow”.

V70 R Good in Snow

Is my V70 R Good in Snow? Pretty damn good. With the new Continental ExtremeContact tires I have on her, she’s unstoppable. These Continentals’ tread bites into the hardpack snow pretty well, while the tires’ compound seems to be just soft enough to “grip” snow… and the Haldex AWD system seems to be putting the power down at the right wheel at the right time. It’s remarkable. Much better than my wife’s prior car, a 2004 Ford Escape 4WD (a small SUV). Plus the V70 R provides much more feedback about the road surface and available grip.

DSTC & Wheelspin

Acceleration and cornering on hardpack snow is perhaps half of dry, which is really something. I have to put my foot down to get the DSTC to cut in and slow one or two wheels, and breaking the back wheels out on slow corners takes 1/2 throttle or greater. DSTC brakes the wheel(s) on the side of the car that is sliding out to kick the car back into a straight line. I tried it several times tonight on empty streets and it’s quite predictable and effective. Turn the wheel and give her gas, the rear comes out, DSTC noticibly applies brake to the front and sometimes also rear wheels of the side that’s coming out, and she’s pointing straight again. I keep the 4C suspension setting on Comfort.

Red S60 R Winter Driving
S60 R Winter Driving, stock photo

But… Low Ground Clearance

The only catch is that the chin spoiler acts as a… well… catch for snow. It will plow deep snow, and it will nick large chunky ice in the center of the lane. So deep backcountry road snow would be something you’d want to avoid in an R, even with studded tires or snow chains. I’d feel far more comfortable driving an XC in deep, unplowed snow.

Volvo Wagon Ground Clearance

V70 XC70 Cross Country V70 R
1st Generation 5.5 inches / 14 cm 6.5 inches / 16.5 cm ?
2nd Generation 5.3 inches / 13.5 cm 8.2 inches / 20.8 cm ?
3rd Generation 5.6 inches / 14.2 cm 8.3 inches / 21.1 cm n/a

At press time, my 2004 V70 R is not at home, otherwise I could take the ground clearance measurement. I can’t find it online like I can the others. Please contact me if you know any of these.

Volvo Wagon Generations (FWD era) Explained

Generation Model Years & Notes
1st 1993-2000, includes 850/S70/V70/V70-XC models
2nd 2001-2006, “P2” platform cars
3rd 2007 to Present

MVS Forums Members and Their Volvo AWD Experiences

Evan’s new-to-him 2007 V70 R gets him home in brutal snow/ice/temperature conditions. [Nov 2018]

Your Comments and Questions

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3 Comments

My ’99 is awesome in the snow as far as traction and controlability. The problem is the lowered front valance on the v70r acts like a plow. But the car has enough power and traction to actually propel the car through snow higher than the foglights. Surprisingly without breaking anything. I can’t say the same about going in reverse. The rear mudflaps are not ridged enough. They will pull through their mounting screws, and get pushed into the moving tire.

Cool blog man, I would really like an AWD, hate spinning from the lights all the time in my FWD S40.

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