V70R Estate - Phase 3 model

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4WD 2.4L 20V Turbo 265 bhp. Super low mileage. Simply Perfect.


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Launched in May 1997 to replace the outgoing & much-revered 850R, the V70R is considered by those who know to be one of the best fast estates of the ’90s. These are capable of offering a long service life with high mileages and reliability if well maintained. A sign of good design is a shape that doesn't age over time but always looks fresh. This was the last Volvo designed by Volvo before Ford bought the company... There's a very interesting article, examined through its adverts, which charter Volvo's performance & safety branding and what happened after this model was released. Click here to read it: https://jalopnik.com/how-volvo-lost-the-plot-1796486519 For improved safety, a  WHIPS" (Whiplash protection) system and larger SIPS side-airbags were added to maximize head protection in the event of a side impact.


There were 3 phases of the 1st generation V70R, with the best - as usual, saved for last. Phase 3 was produced for just a short run from September 1999 till March 2000 (UK: V - W reg). A new 2.4L engine 2435cc / Engine Code B5244RT) was introduced and power increased from (250 bhp - phase 2) to 265 bhp by use of a larger (19T) turbo and all-new variable valve timing. Torque was now up to 400N.m (300 lb·ft) @2500 rpm. The engine was uprated with stronger internal components to cope with this added power and torque. A fly-by-wire ME7 engine management system was also introduced along with a 5-Speed Adaptive Automatic gearbox combined with an advanced system 4WD. Phase 3 V70R's were distinguishable by their twin exhaust silencers with a specially designed rear bumper - twin exhausts helping improve high rev gas-flow (The first time Volvo had fitted a twin-silencer system to any of their cars). Rear brakes were also upgraded to include vented discs. Featured 5-spoke alloy wheels are Volvo's 17” R design - again, unique to this model. Externally, Halogen headlights with wash/wipe and a new roof rail design completed the feature changes to previous phase 1 & 2 models. None of the usual Q-car manufacturers had expected Volvo to make a very fast 4WD estate (To replace the preceeding FWD 850R), but the perhaps entertaining truth found by those who challenged it was that this model was capable of embarrassing other seemingly fast cars, whether on a typically damp UK country roads or on Motorways. To this day the Volvo V70R AWD remains a superb & versatile performance car capable of handling anything from the weekly shop, to being used as a car for business, offering tough, reliable spacious and comfortable practicality with the ability to dispatch 0-60 in just 7.2 seconds and  go on to top out at (a restricted) 155mph. An impressive list of standard equipment showed that Volvo had thought of everything: ABS, SRS airbags for both front seat occupants and VIPS side airbags, WHIPS (Whiplash protection) system, red warning lights on all 4 side doors, factory fitted tinted glass, tilt / slide electric glass sunroof, roof rails, unmarked grey leather & Alcantara interior with (almost instant & very warm!) heating for front & rear seats, electric front seats with memory, veneer trim panels, split - foldable rear seats, dual climate control air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, Original 8-speaker sound system, "R" fitted floor mat set, remote controlled door mirrors with retract mode & heated door mirror glass with anti blind spot glass on driver's side, remote central locking, remote fuel & tailgate release, pre-tensioned seat belts, headlights with wash/wipe, deep front spoiler with integrated driving lights, high-level rear spoiler, rear wash-wipe, mud flaps for all 4 wheels.


This V70R Phase 3 finished in Silver metallic, is clearly an example in unique condition throughout. It has been owned & used since new only on Japan's salt-free & pristinely maintained roads. Paintwork is visibly stunning on this example. Highly reflective with a deep glossy shine, it's evident this V70R has always been kept under a carport or garaged by its previous mature owner and was cared for throughout its life in Japan. The Silver metallic paint suits this car very well looking discreet, yet rather purposeful for a modern classic Volvo. Note that it's completely rust free throughout inclusive of the underside. Underneath its like new (See pictures of the underside condition & original (yes, after 18 years!) - standard exhausts). Original alloys also still have ZERO corrosion on them (Near new Michelin sports tyres of 215/45R17 size are fitted). As pictures show this is a car that's got pin straight lines on its flanks. There are zero pin dents, which is a testimony to the care this car's had. It's so well preserved throughout, it still looks & drives like new 20 years after it rolled off the production line.


The interior as the pictures show, is in fantastic condition throughout showing virtually no wear and a great patina. The heated leather/Alcantara diamond stitched seats are in superb condition, there are no cigarette burns or stains either. The steering wheel is unworn, as is the shift lever - similarly near new. Ashtrays have had no use and no cigar lighter was included from the factory. As a one owner car since new, it's simply been a non-smoker's car since day 1. Floor mats are also in excellent condition, which indicates to us that this car was mainly used in the city and the carpet on the boot floor is still like new, indicating this car wasn't used for load carrying much - if ever.


These engines produce a unique & distinctive 5 cylinder thrum. More than ample power whenever summoned, coupled with a responsive 5-speed adaptive automatic gearbox shifting smoothly and precisely. The drive train conspires to produce a pleasurable and confidence-inspiring car to drive at speed, whilst also offering a pleasantly smooth and responsive engine note when just ambling along during regular use.


The V70R was equipped with self-levelling rear suspension, which aside from compensating for the load when carrying a car full of adults and their luggage or other heavy goods, also provides excellent ride quality regardless of load. These phase 3 models came with either 16” or 17” alloys from Volvo. Thankfully this example was equipped with the larger option. Brakes on the Phase 3 V70R are also larger diameter than previous versions. 


Whilst detailing this car, we noticed a few small blemishes, as to be expected of a car of this age: On the front bumper, there are some scratches to the bottom edge and corners. Also, there are some minor scratches on the rear bumper. Both are to be removed & repainted as part of our final preparation in the U.K. to provide a flawless finish but these minor faults are mentioned herewith to give a complete report That's all we found amiss. Incredible for a 20 year old car, but then look at the original mileage. Remember - this is the last tough Volvo of the ilk they stopped making after this model.


We have test driven this example at length and are pleased to report it is a delightfully good example. The charismatic 5-pot 20V engine is smooth and powerful and provides plenty of overtaking punch when summoned. The 5-speed adaptive automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and precisely and is a real pleasure to use. No clonks or rattles at all from the drive train, just smooth refined progress. Interior has factory integrity about it with nothing showing signs of abuse. An incredibly solid and sure-footed example; the best we’ve ever had – that’s saying a lot since we only select the very best. The whole feeling is of a car that is tight and like new and this is an example that'll far outlast most new cars on the road today, especially if it continues to be as well looked after as it has in its life so far.


This V70R comes with original manuals and full service history (Volvo Japan). It had its timing belt replaced at just 27,985 km - a testament to the care it's had. Changed regardless, well before it was worn out. It's clearly been very well cared for by its previous single mature owner since new. The overall condition of this example is fantastic and we are confident this car will go to someone who truly appreciates the Phase 3 V70R and wants only the very best. Corrosion resistance is generally excellent with these, but examples that have been on U.K. & European roads all of their lives will already have been subject to almost 2 decades of annual winter salt, mud & sand as a layer that tends to build up over the years attaching itself to the underside, arches, exhaust, engine bay, etc. This mixture often finds itself mixed with moisture resulting from use in typical weather in the UK. All combined this makes an effective electrolytic substance which is the cause of rust & other problems associated with corrosion. By contrast, in Japan cars don't corrode in the same way as in the U.K. & Europe. It shocks people when they see how corrosion free a well-chosen can from Japan can actually be... Such as this low mileage V70R phase 3, for example! In Japan salt isn't used on plains areas, only in the higher altitudes (mountains areas, etc). where people rarely go during winter due to difficult driving conditions and so even there, salt is rare. Japan's roads are well drained and protected from debris falling onto them since there are frequent earthquakes and typhoon rains can also occur. This means mud, etc. isn't to be found on roads, unlike the UK and for this reason, this example is completely rust free. For someone wanting the very best example available, it'll be hard to beat this one. As these V70R's were generally used as reliable workhorses (capable of very high mileages) on a daily basis, the vast majority in Europe & Scandinavia have suffered from rust & abuse. Despite this, they have a cult following, especially in Scandinavia. It's possible the Swedes & Norwegians know a thing or two about how tough these old Volvos are, the secret is out and these are nostalgic cars these days, rare ones at that!