What a weird year. Here we are, already past the middle of it, and much of it thus far has been one long, repetitive, Groundhog Day. At last, though, life is progressing into a new normal, activity is beginning to crank up again, and cars are spending less of their time parked up than they have irksomely done over recent months.
Our hunky Volvo long-termer is starting to clock up some miles again after its long-enforced hibernation, and that’s a relief. It’s still doing mostly shorter trips, in and around the south-east near home, but even that feels like a glorious liberation. Cars are designed to move and are out of their natural element sitting still.
The recent enforced inactivity has been hard on neighbours with older cars and tired batteries, some of whom have had to resort to jump-leads to get them going again after a long sleep on the driveway. Happily, the Volvo, as you would expect of a sprightly youngster, was ready for a gallop from the first turn of the starter switch after its prolonged rest. So was its custodian.
Like so many others, we have used the confinement of lockdown to blitz our house’s storage spaces and dejunk accumulated clutter, with an inevitable tsunami of ‘stuff’ to be repurposed somewhere else. So the commodious XC60 has played a key role in that, dispersing unwanted small furniture items and big bags of general junk to new locations. Life without charity shops and council tips at the ready to swallow unwanted detritus has made that difficult for quite a while, and it’s a relief that they’re now coming back into action, so we can rid ourselves of the unwanted clutter that has built up.
We have quite a tight driveway opening and live in a road where walkers like to leave their cars to access a nearby park, which can make reversing out a bit of a chore. So we are particularly appreciating the rear camera cross traffic warning system that checks for clear access when backing out of the drive. The automatic braking can be a bit sharp, but to good effect in ensuring that the XC60’s chunky tail is not endangered by some boy racer rapidly approaching what seems to be a clear exit.
Something I particularly appreciate about the car is its generously adjustable driving seat. Both my daughter and I are somewhat vertically challenged. Alright, we’re on the short side. In some cars, especially some SUVs, that can be an annoyance of low point-of-view and an irksomely neck-chafing seatbelt. Hooray that the XC60’s driving seat accommodates not-much-more-than-five-footers like us, just as comfortably as it does lucky and lofty six-feet-and-quite-a-bit blokes.
I’m less keen on a small botheration that has occurred a few times recently on the navigation infotainment screen. It occasionally and quite suddenly goes blank and has to be restarted to activate it again. It seems to be some kind of software glitch. Maybe it can be cured by an update? I’ll be investigating that now that lockdown has at last been loosened.
Date arrived 11th December 2019
Fuel economy 39.2-46.3mpg (WLTP combined) 33.2mpg (on test)
The rear view cross-traffic alert system that gives early warning of something looming when you back out of a parking space or driveway.
A software glitch occasionally and annoyingly causes the navigation and infotainment screen to go blank and need restarting.