CAPE TOWN - I’ve never been a car person. The only requirement is that it gets me from A to B without stalling. But the first time I got behind the wheel of the 2019 model of the Volvo XC60 D5 Inscription, my jaw literally dropped.
Sinking into the black, plush leather seat was like sinking into a cloud of comfy marshmallows. No, actually that’s an understatement. I’d rather compare it to checking into a five-star hotel with the ultimate in luxury features. And that’s exactly what this car is - understated luxury.
From afar, its unassuming exterior is nothing as bashful as other luxury SUVs in its class are. But take a closer look and it has all the makings of what you’d expect from Volvo.
The D5 Inscription is a cut above its contemporaries. Yes, it has a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine and an 8-speed automatic gearbox. These things mean nothing to me. What mattered were the features that were going to make the 3-hour trip to Swellendam with my family the most comfortable ride. The dirt road into AfriCamps at Kam'Bati in our trusted little Suzuki Swift just wouldn’t cut it.
Heated front seats, a killer Bowers & Wilkins sound system and a panoramic sunroof had the kids “woop wooping” all the way to our destination. The drive itself was as smooth as gliding through hot butter. In fact, driving the car gives you a certain sense of entitlement - commanding the fast lane with all the other cars giving way was like Moses parting the Red Sea.
We even put it through its paces by driving in the off-road mode when taking a detour on a deserted 2km-long dirt road; and while driving in the city we made use of the eco mode which saves on fuel.
The most remarkable quality of the XC60 is most arguably the ability to make parking less of a frustration. It’s not exactly a small car, and when I first started driving it, the thought of parking led to unnecessary anxiety. With the help of park assist and 360˚ cameras, anyone can park this baby - even people who struggle to parallel park, like me.
After a week of test-driving the car, I felt like I had been robbed. Going back to driving my Suzuki took lots of getting used to. Suddenly, my car felt too low, too old, too slow and too dirty.
The hubby and myself started conversations with “imagine if we could afford it” or “let’s make a plan”. This particular model retails for R809 400, and comes with a 5-year warranty and maintenance plan. Yep, it’s nice to dream. But at least I got a taste of the dream. Now to start saving. That Volvo’s got my name written on it.
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