Barbara, the Volvo XC60 and Team Hord
??????????? I don?t tweet or post on Facebook, but I do occasionally Google, but not from my flip phone. ?To be honest, I even have trouble finding messages on my phone sometimes.? I have to confess, however, I now have a Facebook account since my grandson came to visit and signed me up.
My driving partner, Mary, is newbie to the smart phone world and her social media skills were more limited to texting a friend, about what we were doing, rather than blogging or posting.? So, we probably didn?t score too well on that section of the challenge that awarded points for social networking.
We did, however, have time to catch up on each other?s lives, argue about our contrasting beliefs and grumble about which satellite radio station we should be singing along to.
Sixteen teams participated in this Volvo Adventure and each was assigned a Swedish name at the start.? Mary and I became Team Hord, which was a name of questionable meaning.
? Our ?adventure? steed was the newest member of the Cross Country clan, the Volvo XC60.? Everyone knows that Volvo has been like the pied piper of automotive safety and the XC60 has been the leader of the brand with some amazing new technology, most recently, for lane departure warning, collision warning with auto braking, blind spot information and the latest, City Safety.? This latest technology is an industry first helping you stop in time when the car detects a stopped or slower-moving car ahead.
What?s newer, and less well known is the Volvo?s stylish design and performance attributes. ?The XC60 has a striking wedge-shaped exterior design that stands out in a crowd.? From the classic Volvo-style grille and broad shoulders sweeping up to the trademark Volvo taillight that start at the roofline and resembles a glowing lava flow.
The simple elegant interior lines have a strong resemblance to traditional Scandinavian furniture, especially on the center console, which flows out and away from the rest of the dash forming a bridge of real wood or aluminum tying the navigation screen, audio, and climate controls and transmission shifter into one elegant control unit. The seats and door panels are an elegant two-tone leather pattern that pushes the interior look more flashy than conservative.
But for a road trip, there are no other seats more comfortable than Volvo?s.? I can remember other long trips in a Volvo where we drove 6 or 700 miles in a single day and arrived almost rested.? The seats combine the comfort of an easy chair with firm structure and support.
Our XC60 was the T6 AWD version sporting a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.?? The car is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, with a top speed of 130 mph, although we made no attempt to check the figure.? Fuel economy is listed by the EPA at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, and we averaged just over 21 mpg for the trip.
Generally, press drives are structured with a specified drive route and itinerary.? This was the first time we have had a freestyle program, where we were allowed to drive from point a to point b however we wanted.? They did provide some challenges for us along the way, if we wanted participate.
In hindsight, I would have probably skipped the challenges and just enjoyed the trip, because the desert was magnificent.? Outside our windows, we saw everything from the busy freeways of Los Angeles to the glitz of Las Vegas with the brightly colored topography of Utah and Colorado thrown in for a never-ending finale.
Along the route, the XC60 proved to be a great traveling companion with its quiet, comfortable interior, good visibility and the snug, safe feeling you get when driving a Volvo.
I have become a major fan of the blind spot warning systems.? Volvo invented the blind spot warning system, which they call BLIS, and it first appeared on the 2008 Volvo S80 sedan.? Over the last few years, other manufacturers have added similar systems, and I have grown to love the aid as much as a rear view camera.? I am one of the last people to advocate more government mandates, but I think that blind spot warning devices should be required on all vehicles.? I know these warnings have saved me many times from pulling into, or in front of a vehicle in that unseen space to the rear.
The Volvo XC60 is a great utility vehicle that can carry passengers in comfort and cargo in quantity, up to 67.4 cubic feet, when the rear seat backs are folded flat.? It has several features that add to the appeal like the cargo cover, grocery bag holders, and under floor cargo compartment and even a power outlet in the luggage compartment.? It even has roof rails, just in case you needed to carry something on top.
XC60 pricing starts at $39,825, including the destination charge.? With navigation, technology and dynamic packages and a few other extras, my test car totaled $47,515.
At night, the Gateway Canyon Resort was only a few lights from windows and a sky full of stars.? The following morning the adobe-style buildings were a mere accent to the surrounding cliffs and pinnacles of colorful rock.
Developed by John Hendricks, the creator of the Discovery television network, the Resort is gathering of beautiful adobe-style buildings with the largest building on the property being an auto museum containing an outstanding collection of American automobiles from Hendricks? own collection.? The museum alone was worth the drive, and staying at this resort was pure frosting on the cake.
If you would like more information about the Gateway Canyons Resort, the Gateway Auto Museum or the Volvo Cross Countries, here are their Internet addresses:
Auto Museum – http://www.gatewayautomuseum.com/
Resort — http://www.gatewaycanyons.com/