Volvo XC70 AT Concept (2005)

Volvo XC70 AT Concept

Volvo Cars of North America, LLC (VCNA), in conjunction with Volvo aftermarket specialists, ipd, unveiled the ultimate cross-over utility vehicle, the Volvo XC70 All Terrain (AT) concept at the 2005 SEMA trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Built to handle almost any on- and off-road situation, the XC70 AT is inspired by the grueling Baja 1000 desert race held annually in Baja, Mexico.

"What we've done with this vehicle is to take the already rugged XC70, a cross-over known for its all-weather capability, and transformed it into the ultimate all-wheel-drive vehicle," said Anne Belec, President and CEO of VCNA. Built as a pure concept vehicle, there are no plans currently to produce the Volvo XC70 AT, but the vehicle does follow on the heels of other Volvo surprises that have been unveiled at the SEMA show since 2003.


Since then Volvo has continued to push the envelope of OEM support for the SEMA show. In 2003, Volvo, along with Evolve, unveiled two outrageous S60 R concepts that left many scratching their heads. With 400 horsepower, lowered, race-tuned suspensions, and aggressive wheels and tires, these two concept cars left a huge impression.

In 2004, Volvo entered SEMA with no fewer than three concepts: an Evolve-built 550-horsepower S40, and Aria-built XC90 V8 and a Volvo-built 300-horsepower all-wheel-drive V50 SV sport wagon. This vehicle was the first factory-built SEMA concept from Volvo and it let the world know that Volvo, through its in-house skunk works Special Vehicles department, could compete with the best aftermarket tuners.

2005 marks the third anniversary of VCNA's participation at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association tradeshow in Las Vegas. But instead of focusing on all-out street performance, the 2005 Volvo concept is built to handle almost any off-road situation. The rugged beauty and brutality of the Mexican desert and the legendary Baja 1000 off-road race are the inspirations behind the stunning 2005 Volvo XC70 AT Concept.


The idea for the Volvo XC70 AT Concept was hatched during the launch of the 2005 XC70. In an effort to demonstrate how truly capable the Volvo XC70 was in off-road conditions, Volvo Car Corporation invited media from around the world to the Mexican desert of Baja California, a vast, scorched finger of sand, rocks and cactus that juts out into the Pacific Ocean.

The three day drive route crisscrossed the racecourse of the renowned Baja 1000 desert race and put the stock Volvo XC70s to the ultimate test. The cars passed with flying colors, but the event itself caused a few Volvo executives to wonder just how far we could push the envelope. "It's one thing to carefully pick your way over a ravine," commented Soren Johansson, Manager, Public Affairs, VCNA. "It's something else completely when you have the ability to fly over it. And that's what the XC70 AT is meant to do."

Perhaps what is most inspiring is the XC70 AT's custom paint. It's actually a color that Volvo has used before. In 1997 Volvo unveiled a car that set the automotive styling world on its collective ears. Titled Saffron, the metallic paint was originally seen in 1997 when Volvo unveiled its beautifully styled C70 coupe. The deep orange tint, flecked with yellows and reds and glimmering silvers hints at the beautiful Baja sunsets that seem to last for hours in the crystal clear skies over Mexico.


Based off the factory Volvo XC70, the Volvo XC70 AT Concept has been heavily modified to meet the demands of an unforgiving, unrelenting environment. But for all of its brute force, the Volvo XC70 AT is, at its core, as safe and solid as the factory specified XC70. As required by Volvo, all safety systems and features must be in perfect working condition and react as designed in the event of a collision or other type of mishap.

With this knowledge, Volvo and aftermarket tuner ipd teamed up to build the Volvo XC70 AT Concept. "It wouldn't be a Volvo, and we wouldn't want the ipd name associated with the end product, if the vehicle's safety systems weren't in working order," noted Scott Hart, ipd Volvo Division Leader.

Working with a car supplied by VCNA, ipd began work on the project approximately four months prior to the opening of the 2005 SEMA show. With its long history of providing performance, appearance and suspension upgrades for Volvo vehicles, ipd was well aware that the XC70 AT could push the boundaries but still, at its core, remain a Volvo. Concept drawings were submitted by ipd and VCNA management ultimately chose the car unveiled at the 2005 SEMA.