April Owens was our first test-drive winner. She reviewed the Volvo XC60 over a weekend. Here’s April’s verdict…
- What was your first impression of the car?
Very impressed with the XC60 when it arrived at the Cottage all shiny and new. I like the style and lines of it plus the higher
driving position is marvelous particularly for someone who drives a very low slung sports car (Jaguar XK8). The XC60 is big car without being overwhelming and looks absolutely superb sitting on my drive.
- Describe your time with the car? – how many miles did you cover, what type of journeys did you undertake
I had a shoot at the Great Fulford Estate near Dunsford in Devon which took approximately four hours to get to. Together with the trundling around I did in Devon and the return journey I covered a total of 607 miles, the majority of which was motorway but with some narrow lanes and some off-roading to contend with.
The journey down from Northamptonshire was mostly motorway and the XC60 cruised really well making the journey exceptionally comfortable ensuring I arrived feeling relatively fresh after such a long drive.
On the roads leading to the motorway I set the car to comfort mode as I was meandering down country lanes. On arriving at the motorway I reset to Economy mode and also set the cruise control which then activated the safe distance function which was a revelation to me. I set myself the challenge of raising the mpg as far as possible so Economy mode was the most used option helping me to increase the mpg from 33.8 on delivery to 38.5 on my return. Cruising down the motorway using cruise control was a joy with the distance from the vehicle in front being regulated by the car. I was given an indication when approaching a vehicle and changed lanes in advance in order not to be slowed down. This lead to another feature I haven’t encountered previously (it hadn’t been invented when my car was built as she is 19 years old); lane control. This was a revelation which I found confusing the first time it kicked in. I was trying to change lanes where the road widened to a dual carriage way but the car did not want to play that game; having realised what was happening, I indicated to change lanes at which point the car was happy to let me proceed.
On arriving in Devon, I found the high driving position to be very helpful as I could actually see over some of the high hedges which I wouldn’t have a hope of doing in my car. I found the reversing camera very useful particularly when discovering tractors coming the other way down the very tight single track roads; it was very strange reversing without looking over my shoulder out of the back window.
I went to a clay shoot the day before the game shoot at Great Fulford to meet up with some of the other girls to get my eye back in. The off-road function came in very handy as access to the shooting ground was a little “rough-rugged” to say the least. The XC60 coped exceptionally well with it all (picture sent separately) and sat happily looking very impressive amongst more agricultural 4×4 vehicles. The boot space of the car was marvelous and coped well with my gun, all my shooting gear plus bags, hanging clothes and, on the return journey, several brace of pheasants and partridges.
Following a very enjoyable day’s shooting and a good meal I was feeling rather tired but excited and went to find the XC60 to put away the braces of birds I was taking home and she stood out from the other 4x4s (Range Rover, Toyota, BMW) parked around the shooting lodge. I received many compliments on the vehicle from everyone attending the shoot. I set off for the motorway using the built-in satnav to get back to the motorway and promptly dropped back into Economy, set the cruise control and had a relaxing journey back home arriving around 9.30 pm.
- What do you think of as the car’s standout feature from an innovation and technology point of view?
I was very impressed with all the features of the vehicle. The ability to change the driving style from a choice of four options (Comfort, Economy, Performance, Off-road) was fabulous particularly as I used three options during my test drive. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to use the Performance function.
On the motorway particularly I got to use the cruise control and safe-distance function which helped to make the drive more relaxing and the lane control function was a revelation to me as I hadn’t experienced it before.
- What most surprised you about this car?
I found the handling of the vehicle to be very light and responsive particularly for a large 4×4. We have a narrow entrance to our drive way off a single track lane and the XC60 was a dream to get in and out.
- What was the highlight of your time with the car?
As I spent a lot of time driving on the motorway I would say that the functionality that made it safer and less taxing was the highlight. I have very rarely arrived at an event in as relaxed a state as I did on arriving at the clay shoot; I was ready to get my gun and cartridges to shoot the competition as soon as I arrived and didn’t shoot too badly at all, even threatening 2nd place for a while.
I have to say it was lovely arriving at a venue and getting compliments and admiring glances; I’d quite like to think it was me but it was very definitely the XC60.
- If someone asked you whether this car was worth owning, how would you reply?
From my brief time driving the XC60, I would very definitely say it was worth owning. It fulfilled my needs for the shooting weekend very well whereas my own car would have definitely had some issues with the “rugged” access to the shoots.