DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (IN A FAB VOLVO V60)

I think you’ll agree, there’s something quite charming about the image of family cars, stuffed to the sunroof with shopping, kids and food over the festive period. We’ve certainly been in that position since becoming parents (you can add two dogs to our car load too). If it’s not Christmas shopping, then it’s the ridiculous number of items that kids require just to stay one night during a family visit – teddies, pillows, kitchen sinks, you name it, it somehow gets crammed into the car before the husky tones of Chris Rea kick in, sound-tracking car journeys everywhere in December.

But this year, thanks to Volvo UK, we didn’t have to worry about space or if the sunroof would buckle under the pressure of gifts and kitchen sinks, as they very kindly gave me their latest V60 model to use over Christmas. It was like Santa came early. But in an estate car rather than a sleigh. And the guy delivering the car was called Terry, not St. Nic.

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I was lucky enough to test drive the car earlier in the year in Spain so I knew I was receiving a great car. Its slick design makes a huge leap away from the bulkier designs Volvo have been renown for in the past, but it’s inside where the car really impresses.

There are endless safety features, and I mean endless. As I said, as I’ve previously driven the V60 I had an idea of most of them, but if time wasn’t of the essence (those presents aren’t going to wrap themselves), you could lose an afternoon working your way through all the gizmos.

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I’m no petrol head, so forgive my ignorance if some of the features I mention are pretty standard these days, but I found countless elements of the car repeatedly impressing me. I’m sure other manufacturers have their versions of the features, but as a family man with kids in the back, and thus with safety at the forefront of my driving, here are some that stood out:

·         The speedometer, speed limits and sat nav appear very discreetly on the bottom of the windscreen, directly in front of the driver, thus meaning, there’s no real need to look down when driving.

·         Steering is corrected if you’re drifting over a lane (traction control)

·         Cameras are seemingly everywhere (it’s like a modern-day 1984) making parking and reversing a doddle.

These are just three of the more tangible safety features, there are obviously lots more that go unnoticed within the body, the engine and the computers, but after a quick Google search, I’ve read the V60 is one of the safest cars every built, so there’s clearly a lot going on that’s hidden away, and ensuring such a safe ride.

Aside from the safety, there were many other features that made the car one of my favourite Christmas treats, such as:

·         The heated steering wheel and seats (I couldn’t remember how to get the seat to provide a massage as I did when I was in Spain, but that’s definitely a feature that’s available)

·         10 speaker audio system and brilliant touchscreen media system

·         And finally, the boot… it was the perfect size. Obviously not as big as the boot you’d find on the XC90 but it was still a decent size. Perfect for the Christmas period and all those gifts and kitchen sinks!

Thanks so much to Volvo for the experience.

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