At last. Roads are busy again, lockdown has partially receded in the rear-view mirror and there are places to go to again. A weekend trip out into the country for a family pub lunch still feels slightly naughty, but now eminently do-able again and utterly smile-inducing. Well, if you can see anyone’s smiles behind all the masks, that is, especially when still socially distanced from other people.
Even so, it’s really nice to get some rural miles under the Volvo’s wheels again and take it to new places that have been largely impossible for much of the year thus far. There was so much missing in our lives when cars were parked up for so long. The sound of an active engine, the feel of the accelerator pedal, the bite of the brakes at work, the G forces as you negotiate the twists and turns of a country road. Everything that makes a car such an enjoyable part of our lives.
We’ve all adjusted to living a new normal, and for my daughter that has meant digging out a bike she originally bought to do a London to Southend charity run, and which she has recently taken to using on a more regular basis. One good additional outcome of lockdown, as well as curbing the spread of some pesky little global virus, was to reawaken in so many people the urge to exercise more. It’s been good to use the car to go further afield for bike expeditions.
Not all SUVs accommodate a full-size adult bicycle as easily as the XC60 does. It’s quite a high heave to lift the bike up into the back of the car, but not at all difficult to fit it into the space available once the back seats are folded floorwards. You can even squeeze a second bike in there, while still leaving room up front for the driver and a passenger.
A good longish run out into the country was what the XC60 craved after spending too long parked, and then doing mostly local runs, and the mileage has started to gently rack up again. Hooray. Unleashing more of the engine’s 188bhp has been like rediscovering the car anew and reminding us of all the things we particularly like about it. Not least of which is the crisp elegance of the cabin design and the ease with which the boot swallows large objects. SUV practicality is at its cool, stylish Swedish best in this usefully mid-size SUV model of its ilk.
It’s a boon, on these longer trips we’re now able to do again, to have the navigation’s map information in a repeat display directly ahead of the driver. That’s a feature that once you have in a car, you greatly miss in any vehicle that isn’t thus well equipped. Another much-liked feature of our Volvo is its auto hold brake, that saves the chore of having to sit with your foot on the brake when stationary at the lights, or in a traffic jam. Ah yes, those are back again. A lack of them has certainly been one of the pleasanter aspects of this year’s very unusual spring and early summer.
Date arrived 11th December 2019
Fuel economy 39.2-46.3mpg (WLTP combined) 32.4mpg (on test)
Space in the back, with the rear seats folded, to easily accommodate a full-size adult bicycle inside the car.
The autonomous emergency braking is a bit over-sensitive and sometimes activates with nothing to worry about in the way.