Tuesday – It’s no dummy


Jeremy I have just driven our XC60 to London-based Rootstein, who are  the Rolls-Royce of mannequin makers in the fashion world that Jessica frequents. It’s a bright, sunny day and the doors of their Kensington fashion studios are highly polished and squeaky clean. Fortunately, the mirror image is sparkling enough to reflect the XC60, as it rolled driverless down the road behind me…

TheXC60’s  multi-function key has six options but not one of them can ‘apply handbrake’ remotely from where I watched gaping. The irony is that the XC60 is otherwise so incredibly safe it almost dispenses with the need for birth control. However, for some strange reason, is equipped with one of those push button handbrakes that screams ‘accident’ every time I don’t apply it.

W14 is fairly flat so I was able to out-sprint Usain Bolt before any damage was done. Then I used the front blind spot camera to squeeze into a parking space, with rear sensors on standby and the pedestrian airbag ready to bounce anybody who is unfortunate enough to get in my way.

For the drive home, I was able to relax in the knowledge that blind spot indicators would alert me if somebody overtook, lights at the foot of the windscreen would flash if the computer decided I was too close to the car in front. If XC60 doesn’t like my iPod playlist, I’m certain it would have probably switched to a more middle-of-the road David Grey too.

Monday – Aversion to family cars…

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Jessica  I have an aversion to family cars that can bring me out in a rash – so it’s no wonder I spent my youth dragging babies and child seats in and out of a coupe. Unlike the estate cars I avoided at all costs, the Volvo XC60 has evolved from a typical family car into a visually pleasing machine.

Twenty years ago I would have cringed at the prospect of owning a Volvo – now I can truly appreciate what it has to offer. Imagine retro-futuristic dials on the dashboard, safely uncluttered by extra lights or symbols, and a gentle lighting system that extends across the information display too. It doesn’t sound very Volvo but the XC60 is full of surprises…

The buttons and dials for all the usual heating, radio and sat-nav controls were clear, with a silver finish that compliments the futuristic aesthetic. As there are buttons to support a range of safety features, there are plenty of benefits to reading the manual.

I love the built-in booster seats for children – although I would choose a leather finish as is much easier to scrub down after a long journey of spilt drinks and inappropriate snacks. A DVD system in the back of the headrests would have made my life so much easier as a young mum.

It wasn’t all good news though, especially when I tried a hill start with the push button hand brake. How many ways are there to press a button – and how in the panic of rolling into the car behind you do you work out which type of button pushing you should be doing?

The fact that you can override the brake by accelerating, in my view, defeats the reasoning behind having a parking brake in the first place…