While some may say that Volvo’s formula with its S60 saloon, V70 station wagon and XC70 crossover SUV was a winning one, these models have nonetheless been subjected to a mid-life nip-and-tuck. While the changes have been kept largely cosmetic, power and peak torque are up on the racier T5 versions.

While some may say that Volvo’s formula with its S60 saloon, V70 station wagon and XC70 crossover SUV was a winning one, these models have nonetheless been subjected to a mid-life nip-and-tuck. While the changes have been kept largely cosmetic, power and peak torque are up on the racier T5 versions.

Launched Tuesday and Wednesday, the cars were put through their paces in the picturesque Magaliesberg region in Gauteng. With conditions ranging from well maintained tarred roads to dirt roads and even a relaxing off-road course littered with game, the vehicles on display more than lived up to the tests they were required to endure.

The changes were described as “more than a facelift” by platform chief designer Steve Harper, who was on hand to provide insight into Volvo’s design philosophy, explain what sets the Swedish marque apart from the competition, and field burning questions.

Focused on travel in an uncluttered and relaxed environment, all revised models of Volvo’s S60, V70 and XC70 have now been introduced with stronger sport cues. Also, because safety is so important, all models now come with the Four C active chassis. Combined with Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, the self-regulating chassis system uses a multitude of sensors to monitor the car’s behaviour on the road. Drivers are able to switch between two chassis settings (Sport and Comfort) at the flick of a switch.

Exhaust outlets for the 2,0T, 2,5T and T5 editions of the saloon and estates are chrome-plated, with a smoother bumper cutout than before.

The five-speed manual 2,0T and T5 with Geartronic were made available for the day. While the 2,0T, with its sweet engine note, could certainly not be accused of ambling along the route at pedestrian speeds, the T5, with its increased power output, was something to experience.

Power output of the 2,4-litre T5 with its high-pressure turbocharger has been increased from 183 kW to a hair-raising 191 kW, while the peak torque has been upped from 330 N.m to 350 N.m. Mated with the Geartronic transmission ‘ which offerrs the choice of either manual or automatic shifting by simply sliding the gearshift across, it provides real performance punch

The Blind Spot Information System (Blis) is offered as an option from the first quarter of the year for the S60 and the second quarter of 2005 for the V70. Pacos (Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch) is available too.

All models now have headlight clusters with transparent housings and new bumper designs. On the S60 saloon and V70 estate, the body-coloured protective strips on the bumpers are replaceable and can even be ordered with a chrome finish. To guard against nicks on the V70’s rear bumper while loading, a removable protection strip has been added.

New finishes on the dashboards and door inserts with lower reflectivity are particularly helpful in the cars with lighter interiors. Laminated side windows are offered on the saloon and estate, and the windows and door mirrors are water-repellent.

A new tunnel console has been included on all the revised models, and houses a clever modular multifunction storage space, while a shuttered blind covers the cupholders when not in use. There are also new seats with a larger list of options and an improved range of adjustment.

Park assist at the rear has been added to the standard list of features on the S60 2,5T, T5, D5 and R. Optional on the 2,0T, it can be requested at the front as an aftermarket accessory. Rear park assist is standard on the 2,5T and T6 versions of the V70, and can also be added at the front after purchase.

On the SUV-cum-estate XC70, the rear skid plates are now constructed from durable plastic rather than aluminium, after consumers raised concerns about how easy it was to scratch the original.

Roof-rails are of brushed aluminium and the larger, retractable mirrors have been carried over from the larger XC90. The XC70 comes with park assist at the front and rear, a godsend since the rounded nose with (fresh grille) can be quite hard to see.

All models come with Volvo’s five-year/100 000km maintenance plan as standard.

Prices:

S60 2.0T R258 000

S60 2.0T A/T R266 000

S60 2.5T R297 000

S60 2.5T A/T Geartronic R308 000

S60 T5 R319 000

S60 T5 A/T Geartronic R330 000

S60 D5 M R303 000

S60 D5 A/T Geartronic R313 000

S60 R (Manual 6 speed) R420 000

V70 2.0T R278 000

V70 2.0T A/T R288 000

V70 2.5T R326 000

V70 2.5T A/T Geartronic R336 000

V70 T5 R357 000

V70 T5 A/T Geartronic R368 000

XC70 R376 000

XC70 R388 000