Best laid plans, and all that. By this stage of the year, late spring merging towards summer, I was expecting to be hungrily mile-munching in the XC60. Plans included trips to spend time with grandchildren in the west country, and on visits to far-flung car dealerships as a roving judge on some major national motor trade awards. Trouble is, something got in the way of all that. I’m sure you can guess what.
Life has been in recent lockdown, with travel curtailed and roaming on the internet rather than on the roads. It has all been very strange and quite frightening, with the daily statistics reminding us all of our mortality. But there have been some welcome high spots too, such as a friend’s 100-year-old mum who contracted covid-19 in her nursing home, and for whom we feared the worst, but who has now recovered. Colonel Tom Moore’s generation are certainly made of strong stuff.
So although I had expected to see a couple of thousand miles on the odometer by now, a mere 376 miles has amassed since the last report. Most of that has been clocked pre-lockdown and through essential local trips to the supermarket and deliveries to a housebound relative. Those apart, the XC60 has spent more time than usual parked up on the driveway. Covid-related absence of other test cars has meant that there’s more space on there than usual and makes it easier to ensure that nothing is parked under our big. mature silver birch tree.
That’s important because of the pigeons that love to sit in its branches and deposit their droppings on anything lurking beneath. If only we’d been canny enough to plant the tree deeper into the front shrubbery, where it wouldn’t have overhung the driveway. A few years back, regretting its location, we applied to the council to fell the tree and replace it with an identical one deeper into the border. Permission was necessary because we’re in a conservation zone. The tree officer’s response? A preservation order slapped on the birch because it’s “an amenity tree” in the road. Grrr. It’s also a hazard to car paintwork, but one we have to live with.
Local driving over recent weeks has scuppered my aim of nudging the Volvo’s fuel consumption upwards in the direction of 40mpg from the 37-or-thereabouts where it has been languishing. I guess it’s to be expected when stuck on urban trips. Both the car and I long to venture onto motorways, fast A-roads and further afield again. I never thought I’d miss the M25, but strangely, I do.
I love the Volvo’s solid capability over a long distance, its cosseting comfort in a coolly crafted Scandinavian environment. It’s a car you want to get into and keep driving, go somewhere worthwhile and enjoy the journey. We’ve all missed that wonderful freedom of motoring, just for the pure joy of it all, that has been forbidden in recent times. Liberation will be sweet indeed.
Date arrived 11th December 2019
Fuel economy 39.2-46.3mpg (WLTP combined) 37.3mpg (on test)
The seats and the steering wheel, cosily warmed by heaters when the weather is cool or damp and you want a bit of cosseting.
Far fewer miles on the clock recently, because of the constraints on driving due to the dreaded Covid-19.