Boo and double boo. The time has come to say goodbye to a car that has been a well-liked and highly respected long-term resident with Diesel Car. We’ll be sad to see it depart for so many reasons, not least the chic elegance of its Swedish design and the capability of the 2.0-litre B4 diesel engine that is combined with mild hybrid technology, a Geartronic eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
Although based with us inside the M25, and so spending much of its time in urban traffic in and around London, we have also stretched its legs on fairly frequent longer trips. It almost knows its own way past Stonehenge on the A303, heading west to spend time with family in Somerset. It has also warmed its wheels a few times up the M6 to the Midlands and on the A14 up through East Anglia to visit friends in Norfolk.
A more recent outing, before the latest Covid tiers restrictions, found it flexing its 194bhp muscle on a trip to the Scottish borders with a very precious cargo on board – the family, including two little grandsons. That was a particularly memorable drive for exploring the XC60’s roomy practicality, with all seats occupied and a boot full of luggage and child paraphernalia. We enjoyed the gallop there and back over a long distance and many hours of motorway and country road negotiation. Stig made light work of it.
In its time with us, the trusty Volvo hasn’t missed a beat and has been utterly reliable. Well, apart from a couple of minor glitches. One was when the bonnet catch inexplicably jammed and resisted all of our attempts to open up the engine bay. Weirdly, just as we were arranging a trip to the local Volvo dealer to address the problem, we did a final check to see if it would oblige, and it did, opening as if nothing had happened.
Stig has also had an occasional software glitch that renders the navigation system briefly inoperable, and requiring a screen switch-off and restart to get it functioning correctly again. Volvo’s system isn’t our favourite of its ilk either, and sometimes seems to navigate a less savvy route than one we’ve compared it with on a mobile phone app. Perhaps we’re being ultra picky, because there is so little else for which to criticise the car for.
Had it not been for a certain pesky pandemic, the XC60’s mileage would be somewhat higher by now. There are so many more trips we would have done, places we would have explored with it, roads we would have introduced it to, had this been a more normal year. Instead, Stig’s handsome hunk of a body has spent more time parked than we would otherwise have chosen. But even that has given us time to appreciate an asset that comes with driving a Volvo. And that’s the Volvo On Call app. There on your smartphone is your interactive connection to the car and lots of readily accessible information about it. There’s also the means of controlling some of its features from afar. There is so much handy information, all at your fingertips.
If you forgot to lock the car when you parked it, the app lets you do that remotely. About to drive at this chilly time of year? The app lets you set a timer to warm the car’s interior to a comfortable level ahead of your trip, so no need to sit shivering at the wheel while the climate control ramps up. It’s all of those very civilised niceties that have combined to make the Volvo such a practical and enjoyable car to live with over the past ten months, as well as an immensely savvy, safety-focused and tactile car to drive. You’ve calmed the way through a particularly tough year, Stig. We wish you a very fond farewell.
Date arrived 11th December 2019
Fuel economy 39.2-46.3mpg (WLTP combined) 33.6mpg (on test)
With its slick manners and svelte Swedishness, our ‘Stig’ has been a well-liked member of the fleet.
The navigation system doesn’t always seem to choose the best route, compared to a smartphone.