2010 Volvo XC60
Growing up in the UK, most of my early childhood memories of cars were of European models. Of course there were many famous automobiles on the scene back then; James Bond and his Aston Martin instantly leap to mind. Then there was the Batmobile, the Green Hornet’s sinister looking Black Beauty, Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls Royce, and who could forget Herbie the Love Bug. However, together with the aforementioned, one of the first automotive brands to plant itself into my young and impressionable mind was that of Volvo.
Why, you may ask? After all, most superheroes wouldn’t have looked twice at a vehicle from the ultra-safe Swedish manufacturer.
However, that’s precisely why the Volvo brand stood out for me. You see, when I was very young, my father’s twin brother was involved in a serious collision on the outskirts of London. He was T-boned at over 70mph whilst driving his Volvo 245 wagon. The car, although renowned for being immensely tough, ended up resembling a banana. In fact, the emergency services found my Uncle pinned inside the vehicle with his shoulders almost touching both the driver’s and passenger’s doors. He had to be extricated from the vehicle by the fire department and yet, amazingly, he escaped from the wreckage with just minor cuts and bruises.
Obviously, this story was told many times over the family dinner table and it always ended with the same wording... “If he hadn’t been driving a Volvo, he wouldn’t be with us today.” Stories like that can really affect a youngster, and that’s why I’ve always had a great deal of respect for the Volvo brand.
Of course, Volvo products of the 70s and 80s were a tad on the dull side and would hardly muster up much excitement, but if you wanted your loved ones to be safe and sound, there wasn’t a better vehicle in which to place them.
I’ve even owned a couple, including an ultra-reliable 245 wagon just like my Uncle Bert’s, and a rather luxurious 760GLE. In fact, I can recall a well known UK motoring journalist of the day comparing the ride quality of the 760 to that of a Rolls Royce. Now that’s what I’d call high praise coming from an Englishman!
That tends to be an ongoing trend with Volvo. One minute it’s sitting on the sidelines being overlooked by all but its hardcore Volvo fan club, and the next, it’s totally astounding everyone ... which brings us nicely back to the vehicle in hand.
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