THE PRACTICALITY OF a Sports Utility Vehicle for the kind of lifestyle we South Africans like to lead, proved itself once again when our family joined friends for a weekend of fishing, waterskiing and relaxation at Langebaan on the West Coast.
Our love of the outdoors and getting out of town is the reason why Wayne’s Volvo XC60 is in such high demand over weekends in our office. Last month Angus Boswell borrowed it for a breakaway to the Southern Cape. Angus Thompson used it to transport his mountain bikes. By the time I started to mention my weekend plans Wayne was resigned to the fact that he would spend another weekend without the Volvo.
Not only will a car like the XC60 swallow your family and all their gear comfortably, but the punchy 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel will get you there quickly, economically and comfortably. Since it’s a Volvo, you can add safely to that list as well. Even though it’s not a rock-hopper meant for serious off-roading, the all-wheel drive system and higher ground clearance means you can tackle the sand and dirt with more confidence than you would in a family sedan.
So what do we think of the XC60 after a weekend together? The family loves it, especially the women. Put that down to exterior and interior styling, and the quality of the interior materials. The XC60 has to be one of most handsome SUVs on the road. I was still muttering away about the diesel clatter of the five-cylinder engine at low revs and the fact that I don’t understand the rationale of sports suspension on an SUV, but my wife didn’t want to hear a word. She had declared the car comfortable, stylish and desirable and that, as it tends to be in these cases, was that. It had everything she wanted in a car.
Personally, for roughly half a million, I’d want something extra. More space (I was expecting a bigger load area and more legroom in the back) on theone hand and better off-road capability on the other. A hundred grand more could buy me a more powerful Land Rover Discovery TDV6 S and the ability to go places and tow things that you’d never consider doing in the pretty Volvo. But that’s just me.
In the meantime I’ve got a challenge at hand convincing the family that the XC60 has to go back to Wayne.