Pinnacles Road Trip With The Volvo XC60
Volvo Blogger Drive
Travel and good design are two of my favourite things in life, so as you can imagine I was thrilled when the lovely team at Barbagallo Volvo generously offered me the latest Volvo XC60 to test drive for two weeks to review as part of the Volvo Blogger Drive campaign. I have always loved the Volvo brand and couldn’t wait to see if it would live up to my high expectations. You might have noticed from Instagram (@demelzabuckleyfashion) some of the adventures I got up to exploring WA in style? A car is a very important part of a person life for a variety of reasons, some like it to be an extension of who they are as a person, some for status, others for work purposes and some simply want to get from A to B. The Volvo XC60 ticks all of those boxes for me.
Volvo is designed in Sweden and is the epitome of Scandinavian automotive elegance. ‘In Sweden, great design is a way of life, not a luxury’ and as a designer I believe we could learn a lot from the Scandinavian way of thinking and creating. Unlike other car manufacturers, Volvo, in true Scandinavian style, designs around the person to create a truly unique user experience. The result is a revolutionary, user-friendly, stylish and dynamic Volvo XC60. Driver focused, this SUV is perfect for demanding drivers like me in search of adventure – both in town and beyond the city limits from coastal drives to desert explorations.
Unfortunately, the majority of my time with the Volvo XC60 was spent sitting in traffic travelling to and from my Monday to Friday corporate job in PR and communications. However, the Volvo’s user experience made my daily commute far more enjoyable than usual. If like me, your lifestyle says you need an SUV but your heart says you want a stylish, driver-focused road car, then this is the perfect option for you.
It was love at first sight with the XC60; it has a unique sporty shape and refined exterior. The all in one body colour gives the SUV a more urban twist and I adored the Saville Grey metallic paint colour, Volvo also offer an extensive range of different colour options. River water flowing over rocks inspired the design of the XC60 and you can see this realised in the sleek lines along the body, which gradually moves up towards the boot giving the SUV its signature dynamic shape.
The XC60 has a smart, sophisticated look that’s as much at home on a city street as a country lane. There is a gentle gradient of height to the back of the SUV complemented by futuristic rear lights so that it doesn’t look top-heavy. Volvo’s iconic badge on the front enhances the car’s self-confident look making this a dynamic, refined, and perfectly proportioned SUV.
The interior is just as exquisite as the exterior, Volvos are always evolving and becoming even more advanced, but the focus is always to make driving as easy and enjoyable as possible, which is funny, as for the most part, I don’t associate driving with being enjoyable.
Designed with the driver in mind, Volvo has created a beautiful interior space that has an adaptive and intuitive interface with elegant clean surfaces. I recently read that ‘good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible’, this perfectly describes Volvo’s design. So impeccably designed, it is hard to find any imperfections.
One of my favourite elements of the XC60 is the front heated seats; the material is incredibly luxurious and I really enjoyed sitting in them on my chilly morning commute. I found the clean dash board controls easy to use; in fact, everything is well thought out and carefully positioned in the correct location for ease of use while driving. Volvo refers to this intuitive approach to connecting you and your car with the world around you – Sensus.
I have to admit the Volvo did make my drive to work incredibly more enjoyable. I had never driven an automatic car before and it really makes life so much simpler when sitting in a 45 minute bumper to bumper commute on the freeway every morning. I found the SUV is so nimble and easy to manoeuvre through traffic.
The indicator dial is located on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, which makes perfect sense. You really have to drive an XC60 to appreciate its superb handling; it has a very organic feel. In the driving seat, the XC60 doesn’t feel like a towering, top-heavy SUV, as it’s every bit as nimble and agile as a ground-hugging road car. However, I found that its ride height gives you a nice commanding driving position.
Having past my working week test by navigating busy city traffic together with trouble free commuting it was time to see how the Volvo operates on the big open road with a trip North to visit the Pinnacles desert and Lancelin with my friend Courtney.
One Saturday, we packed up the generously sized boot with picnic baskets brimming with goodies and set off on our adventure north. As the city disappeared in my rear view mirror, we settled into our 2-hour car journey. Heading out of Perth, it’s easy to tell you are no longer in the city; as the vast expanse of the western Australian country unfolds into rolling hills and spectacular sights.
The Volvo handles like a dream on the journey, responsive, intuitive and above all enjoyable. As a diesel, I didn’t notice that distinct engine noise typical from this engine type. Soon we reached a point in our road trip where radio and phone signal disappeared so I was glad we had the built-in satellite navigation to guide us safely to our destination. The beautifully sculpted ergonomic seats proved outstanding for long distance comfort and provided excellent support.
On arrival at the Pinnacles, we decided to stop and eat before continuing to explore the desert. As no seating areas were provided, we turned the boot into a little dining area and nibbled on some cheese and crackers before setting off again.
Driving though the pinnacles, I found it really easy to negotiate the desert terrain due to the XC60’s high ground clearance and superb responsive handling. Apart from a few little hills, the drive was as smooth on sand as road.
We had a great time snapping pictures and getting out exploring the amazing limestone formations that punctuate the Pinnacles desert creating a unique landscape. Western Australia truly is a diverse and spectacular state. I would give anything to give up work and just travel around Australia exploring and discovering new places everyday. One day hopefully this will become a reality.
On the way home, we stopped off at the sand dunes in Lancelin; we had a joyous time running up and down the dunes, it really was like being a child again. As it was nearing 5 and the sun was starting to set, we headed back home. The car headlights are automatic, making it as easy to drive at night as during the day.
Not only did the XC60 possess terrific road presence and handling, but it is also extremely safe. Now, I won’t pretend to understand the complexity and sophistication of the smart technologies used to make the XC60 safer, you may not see them, but they are there to support your daily driving, protecting you in the event of an accident and often preventing them in the first place. Volvo calls their build in safety technology IntelliSafe. As we are exposed to other people’s mistakes daily, the Volvo has built in technology such as city safety, collision warning with full auto brake and pedestrian and cyclist detection. This essentially means if you are about to collide with another car, pedestrian or cyclist, the Volvo immediately applies the brakes. I think that is a good enough reason to buy a Volvo XC60. Oh, it also knows when someone is in your cheeky blind spot as well.
The only aspect I actually did miss from my Prado, is a sensor to open the car as I approach and the key does not need to be inserted into the car to drive. I find this feature incredibly convenient, particularly any time I have my hands full with shopping bags.
My highlights of the Volvo XC60
Park assist, reversing has never been so easy!
Heated front seats
Built in satellite navigation
Self-close and open boot
Excellent Audio quality
Overall, I was very impressed with the XC60 and Volvo’s attention to detail in their cars goes beyond surface quality and aesthetics, with built-in world-class safety technologies to make you feel safer to get on with your busy life. The spec of the SUV featured is a “D5 R-Design”, priced at $86,445 including Metallic Paint Colour, Heated Front Seats and Upgraded 20 inch Alloy Wheels. The lovely team at Barbagallo Volvo would be more than happy to help if you have any questions.