Once you step into a new car, the first thing you do after buckling yourself in, is to put the car in drive and depress the accelerator, anticipating an exciting take-off into suburbia.
But for the Volvo XC90, I was content to sit in the parking lot and soak in the comfort. I made he mistake by trying out the massaging seat first. Yes, it’s true. While navigating a busy I-235, you’re receiving a relaxing 10-point heated massage up and down your aching back. It doesn’t seem right feeling refreshed while other drivers appear so uptight.
This was just one of the numerous features of the Volvo Hybrid SUV, which qualifies for a federal tax credit.
One highlight is the Bowers and Wilkins stereo system. With settings such as Concert Hall or Studio Stage, the acoustics are replicated as if seated in the front row of a symphony concert. Just choose your music wisely. I’m not sure an AC/DC riff produces the same effect, but fiddle with the bass or download a live concert version.
Other touches include real driftwood inlay, where no two cars are alike. A crystal shifter knob looks like a lid of a high-end whiskey decanter. When putting the car into gear, you don’t shift. You simply depress the shifter backwards twice to put it in drive, then twice to the front to go in reverse.
The Napa leather seats are soft and supple, especially with all the massaging going on. Luxury is top notch for the Swedish import, but what about safety?
Volvo is on the leading edge of safety. How do I know? Because they have the patent to prove it. In 1959, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin created and patented the three-point harness seatbelt. Then they did what few companies do, they gave away the patent for free to any carmaker that wanted to use the seatbelt. Because of this spectacular invention, many lives have been saved and injuries have lessened over the past 60 years around the world.
Besides seatbelts, 360-degree surround view cameras take inventory of possible road dangers. A run-off road mitigation system steers the car back into safety. A pilot assist lends almost a hands-free driving experience. The steering wheel simply feels the weight of your hands and drives the car, keeping it centered. Auto brakes offer imminent collision protection. If safety is what you want, you got it.
If you’re a parallel-parking avoider, like myself, activate the parking assist feature. I attempted this; however, after pushing various buttons, I realized the park assist only works if you have curbs and other cars, not just an open concrete lot.
Download the OnCall app to start your car on your phone, control the temp or send the address of your next destination directly to the touchscreen display.
The hybrid model offers up to 55 mpg when using both the electric and gas; just check the display to show how many miles remain with either method.
But, really, who cares about miles per gallon when you can experience a relaxing massage any time you want. ♦