The Volvo XC60 is a great example of how the company is re-inventing itself. Picture: MARK SMYTH
The Volvo XC60 is a great example of how the company is re-inventing itself. Picture: MARK SMYTH

There was much talk recently about the fact that no-one has been killed in a Volvo XC90 in the UK — ever.

That is a very impressive thing for the company to boast about and for those that understand the brand, it probably comes as no surprise.

Volvo has always been renowned for its safety, in fact for being a leader in vehicle safety setting a number of benchmarks and pioneering many safety technologies. While I am not sure what the stats are for the XC60, there is no doubt that it should be similar and probably one of the main reasons why it has been so popular, even being the top selling premium SUV in Europe for years.

Of course the days when Volvos were safe but not exactly inspiring when it comes to design and comfort are long gone. Today the XC60 is not only packed with safety tech like roll-over mitigation, City Safety, multiple airbags and all sorts of driver assistance systems, but it also looks fantastic both inside and out.

Technology has moved on a long way and our long-term XC60 also includes safety technology that takes us on the road to autonomous driving. How much we are willing to rely on the tech is a matter for debate, of course. The XC60 has lane keeping assistance but it requires clear road markings that its computers can not only read but understand. It’s the same for all cars fitted with the tech anywhere in the world.

It is easy to rely on it too, especially on early morning drives to the airport where the caffeine has not kicked in properly yet and it would be nice to trust the tech completely.

We are not quite there yet, as I have found on a few occasions when the XC60 veered across the side line of the highway unable to properly understand the road markings.

It’s difficult to know if that is the fault of the car or the poor road lines but it makes the point that no matter whether you are in a Volvo, a Mercedes or another car with lane keeping assistance, keeping your wits about you on the road is still one of the best safety features any driver can have. That aside, the XC60 has been performing admirably about town, providing excellent comfort for my family and another important aspect these days: connectivity.

The infotainment system is not perfect, often requiring you to tap the screen more than once to get it to respond, but it does a great job of keeping you connected on the move, particularly as the adaptive cruise control maintains your speed relative the traffic around you.

Overall our XC60 has shown us that Volvo has taken its bestseller and made a package that, like the company’s other new models, redefines what Volvo is about. It is no longer second fiddle to its German rivals and in some cases, including safety technology, it is showing them the way.

As Volvo continues to re-invent itself, the XC60 shows just what it can achieve.