Swedish car maker Volvo is again punching with the heavyweights and their mantra of producing the safest cars on the planet is one that attracts customers all over the world. They also have a reputation of manufacturing the most complete estate cars and when you add all-wheel-drive to the mix that level of on-road safety is enhanced even further.
I have been driving the Volvo V90 Cross County and what you get is a composite all rounder that will go anywhere in all weathers. It also gives you a host of technologies that meet most modern motorist’s tick list, even if some are far and above what regular drivers will use on a daily basis.
This car is their biggest model that is pumped up to give higher ground clearance and will handle off-road conditions with relative ease in most cases. As such that makes it a luxurious alternative to an SUV but with a much bigger platform and a seriously impressive road presence.
Rather understated in its presentation, you still know that you are driving a big luxury car. While the driving experience is more cumbersome than the regular Volvo V90, this is still at home on tarmac as it is in the fields or on gravel tracks. Where it does come home is its ability to handle snow, icy conditions and where the underfoot conditions are less stable.
Inside is where Volvo has excelled in their recent collection of cars. Visibility may not be great but space is substantial, the leather seating is outstanding and the whole execution of the cabin interior is top quality.
However, one area that has been exercising me for a while now is the presentation of the array of electronic features in many new cars. All the acclaimed technology is fine but, for me, there can be safety implications on how you are required to activate the basics.
Volvo, like many others, has gone down the line of putting almost all controls within the touch screen system and while this works for secondary controls, I have issues with needing to change the simple, primary needs of the occupants through a system that requires you to take your eye off the road. To me there should be no need to make five or six screen taps to do simple things like changing the fan speed or the temperature of the air conditioning system. It is not safe and it is not necessary.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.