I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

TMW - If this is the start of Autonomous driving, then we say, "Bring It On, Big Time"

The Volvo range is currently undergoing a massive shake up, the XC90 was the start of the new direction the brand is taking, and the S90 & V90 followed on, the recent launch of the 40 Series concepts show that they are serious about expansion and change, and one of the next models that will undergo this change is the XC60.

But in the meantime, we have the current model to test, and what a big surprise it was too, both in terms of the size of the car and what it has to offer.

The Volvo XC60 D4 Automatic SE Lux Nav, is a rather large mouthful, and thankfully all that does not appear on the back of the car, but it that all means the car is a special higher end model, and one that can cope with whatever you thrown at it.

The Volvo is really well made and solid, as you would expect from the brand that has built its reputation on reliability and safety, and this car has all those, and far more, the car looks great, and is very well proportioned, it underwent a small face lift a while back, to see it through to its replacement, and sits high up, so that you can "lord It" over all the other cars, the interior is a very special place to be, with extraordinarily supportive and cosseting seats, leather of course, once you get the seating position in the right place for you, everything else is very easy to find, and to hand, no reaching or stretching to find buttons or switches here.

The large leather steering wheel gives you a stable and solid feel, with a design to it that allows you to rest you hands comfortably, the steering is more tuned to a heavy weight, but that does not mean to say that it is difficult to steer, far from it, it means that you feel stable and in control at all times.
We then come on to its party piece, I will list the cars standard and options kit further down, but the car really does take control, it's called Queue Assist, and is available on the auto model only, once you set your cruise control, the car then takes over, if, as we found out, there is a large traffic jam, you drive up to the back of the queue, and the car will slow down, and eventually it will stop, and as the traffic moves forward, so does the car.

This will continue as long as you are in the queue, with the car pulling forward and stopping, as it "See's" the traffic speed change, and that's  weird feeling, well, for the beginning of it, at least, you feel as though you want to put your feet on the brake and accelerator, but you really do not need too, as the car just takes over, and away you go, even if you get some "Person" pull in front of you too close at high speed, the car will ease off to allow a gap to appear, and I loved it, adaptive cruise control is one thing, this is a totally different league, and this needs to be added to all cars, it is just such a safe system, it could help avoid so many shunts.

And that's just the start, the Volvo has so many options to protect the car and the passengers, it really is a car that will avoid as many incidents as possible, Volvo themselves have a policy that states they hope to have Zero lives lost in one of their cars by 2020, it was something that we all took with a pinch of salt, but after this test week, we can clearly see that this is definitely something that will happen, especially if they move along at the same pace they are now.

The XC60 comes very well equipped, the standard equipment includes, but not limited to:-
  • Sensus Connect (Allows access to the Internet, Service Booking and more)
  • Sensus Navigation (Full European mapping with Traffic Info and lifetime map updates)
  • Hard Disc Drive (downloading music)
  • Seven Inch Colour Display Screen
  • Voice Control System
  • City Safety (Includes fully Automatic Emergency Braking (up to 31mph))
  • Two Zone Climate Control with Cleanzone Air Quality System
  • Leather Faced Upholstery
  • Cruise Control With Speed Limiter, Hill Start Assist
  • 17 Inch Alloys
  • 40/20/40 Split Folding Rear Seats.
The car is running a 2.0 litre diesel power plant with 190hp, top speed is a storming 130mph, which both auto and manual can achieve, 124g/km of CO2 is emitted from the car, it's a tad high, but with the next gen model and tweaks, this will be reduced, this is the lowest XC60 Auto only beaten by the manual version at 117g/km, the Euro Vi Spec engine costs Zero in taxation for the first year, and £110 the year after, and despite this car being a rather large beast weighing in at 1,727kg (Min Kerb Weight) it still returns some decent fuel figures
  • Urban 51.4mpg
  • Extra Urban 65.7mpg
  • Combined 60.1mpg
So, despite this balk it sips fuel along with cars half the size, and that's another one of the reasons why this car should be considered when your in the market for a new car, which brings us nicely onto the costs, this model in standard trim costs £35,385, however this one was well specified with a large number of options amounting to over £8,000:-
  • Driver Support Pack at £1,900 includes :-
    • Collision Warning with full auto brake
    • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • distance alert
    • queue assist
    • lane departure warning
    • driver alert control
    • active high beam
    • road sign information display
    • blind spot information system with cross traffic alert
  • Winter Illumination Pack at £675 Includes :-
    • heated front seats
    • heated front windscreen
    • active bending xenon headlights
    • headlight cleaning system
    • heated washer nozzles
    • auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors
    • rear theatre lights, front door pocket, side step and front cupholder illumination
  • Volvo On Call With App £450
  • Front And Rear Park Assist £325
  • Rear Park Assist Camera £375
  • Panoramic Laminated Power Glass Tilt And Slide Sunroof £1,200
  • Dark Tinted Windows-Rear Side Doors And Cargo Area £350
  • Laminated Windows Including Cargo Area And Water Repellent Front Side Windows £500
  • Power Passenger Seat £400
  • Heated Rear Seats £200
  • 8-Speed Automatic Transmission (Not AWD) £1,550
  • Tempa Spare Wheel and Jack £150
  • Metallic Paint £625
The Volvo is, as already mentioned quite high up, so the centre of gravity is slightly higher than what you would find in a saloon car, but then this is no saloon car, this is better, driving the Volvo you get a very quiet drive, very little to no, intrusive road roar, you do get a little wind noise at higher speeds, but then you get that in every car at the national speed limit, it grips very well too, take the car into a corner at a speed other cars could not cope with and this just eats it up and spits it out, they have gotten this road holding down to a tee.

The passenger and driver both have oodles of space in the front of the car, and there are loads of cubby holes to put "STUFF", the rear seat passengers are equally treated well, with so much room they could have a party back there, then the boot space, well, being the car is high up, so is the boot, so if you suffer and can't lift, you might find this difficult, but if not, then there is, again, so much space back there, that you can have a everything you could ever need and still have space for more.


Well, the car is premium, that’s without any shadow of doubt, it has so much to offer, from the awesomely easy touchscreen system, to the driving position, the ease of driveability of the car to the space, which is more than ample everywhere, to the fact that this car can drive itself, which is weird, but amazing, we know that Autonomous cars are coming, with more tech, better safety and more, Volvo will be at the fore front of this, that’s no doubt, they have the heritage, the money and technology to put Volvo at the front of all this new tech, which is where it should be.

If you can afford to buy this, or any Volvo, you would be wise to really consider and try one, otherwise you will be missing out on a brand that’s reborn, with great new products and more in the pipeline, I loved our week with the XC60, it totally changed my perception of the brand, gave me a more overall knowledge of autonomous vehicles and left me with a smile, I truly look forward to our next Volvo, can that better this one?