back to article Chunky Swedish ice maiden: Volvo XC60 D4 Manual EE Lux Nav

Why did the nice man from Volvo find me peering at the dashboard with a torch when he came to collect the XC60 I was testing? It was because I was looking very hard at the lights, which show when the left and right turn indicators are flashing. The dashboard is a collection of LCD screens, and I was trying to decide if …

  1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    The green's won't like it...

    ...if the de-froster leaves the place "deforested" ;-)

  2. Christopher Lane

    Wrong kind of snow...

    My MD was recounting a story a couple of days ago from when he drove an S70. There was some particularly heavy snow (for the UK) and he decided to make his way home early as he lives out in the sticks a bit. Not far from the office the snow got heavier and he thought "no problem, I have the Winter Pack...ahhh they all laughed at me when I stumped up the extra fro the Winter Pack" and smiled smugly to himself. It was at this point he realised the arc of his windscreen wipers was getting slowly smaller...and the wall of snow obscuring his vision was slowly crawling up the windscreen! Eventually he pulled over at a tube station, parked up and went back in to London to get an overground train back out and home.

    Overall not a stunning demonstration of how a car from Sweden copes with snow.

    1. Les Matthew

      Re: Wrong kind of snow...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_Cars#Production_locations_around_the_world

      I don't think Volvo have been cars from Sweden for quite some time now.

      Chinese owned too, but what isn't these days.

      1. Marcus Aurelius
        Joke

        Re: Foriegn ownership of Swedish companies

        Its a Saab, Saab situation

        1. dogged

          Re: Foriegn ownership of Swedish companies

          > Its a Saab, Saab situation

          Argh! Earwormed by Elton John!

          Damn you, sir.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Re: Wrong kind of snow...

        Two factories in Europe (Gent/Gothenburg) and the XC60 definitely comes out of the latter. There's a Chinese factory but that produces stuff like long S60s for the domestic and U.S. market. If anything the cars are more Swedish now than when in Ford's hands...

        ...and the problem with the S70? Because FWD... and I can bet a pound to a penny back in those days there were no winter tyres on them either! As an aside, I thought the Winter Pack was just heated seats (old V70 owner checking in)...

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Wrong kind of snow...

      If snow on the windscreen was the only problem, then why didn't he just pull over somewhere safe and clear the snow off the bonnet?

      1. N2 Silver badge

        Re: Wrong kind of snow...

        If snow on the windscreen was the only problem, then why didn't he just pull over somewhere safe and clear the snow off the bonnet?

        Because he is a Volvo driver

  3. Simon 26

    So I'm not the only one who has watched Crazy People :-)

    Who wants to be an advertising executive ?

    Me, Me, Me.

    Who wants to be a fire engine ?

    Meeee.

  4. bozoid

    So, just how big is this car?

    I enjoy El Reg's auto reviews, even though we get different vehicle models here in the States, But this review of an allegedly large auto frustrated me more than usual. I mean, this *might* be a large car, or it might be a small car. Who can tell? All cars look the same size on my screen; they're just sleek, shiny jellybeans of various colo(u)rs and shapes. I can't tell from the pictures whether this is a big car, or one that can be used as a lifeboat by a big car.

    I hereby introduce a rule for your consideration:

    Every auto review should contain at least *one* picture that includes a human being standing next to the car. For bonus points, use the same human being in every review. (Selection of that "standard" human being is left as an exercise for the reader -- I'm sure you all have ideas.)

    1. Graham 24

      Re: So, just how big is this car?

      It would have been quicker for you to type "Volvo XC60 dimensions" into a search engine of your choice and click the first link.

      When I did this I arrived at Volvo XC60 | Technical Specifications which told me, to the nearest millimetre, eight external and eight internal measurements.

      1. bozoid

        Re: So, just how big is this car?

        Sorry, but I know how to find dimensions. That's not the same as knowing how big the vehicle actually looks/feels in person. And if I can't see it in person, it helps if I can at least see it in context.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: So, just how big is this car?

      If you are comparing it to American cars, anything for sale in Britain is going to be small or very small.

      As an example, the smallest car Volkswagen sell in the US is the Golf. Here, the smallest is the Up!, the next size up is the Polo, then there is the Golf.

    3. lime

      Re: So, just how big is this car?

      Banana for scale

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: So, just how big is this car?

      I enjoyed the way that the car user interface was reviewed, but the rest of it made me wonder if the author had ever seen or driven a car before.

      As for "Ford should learn from this". Why just Ford? Other car makers are available.

      I'd also have made the comparisons for X3, X5 and Q5 etc, rather than RR/LR products.

  5. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Coat

    The more complex the electronics, the more likely it is to go wrong, and the more expensive it will be.

    Puts on his Briskoda jacket and slips in to an old Felicia 1.3GL.

    1. Graham 24

      "The more complex the electronics, the more likely it is to go wrong".

      I have a desktop computer at home. The quad-core processor in that contains many millions of tiny transistors, and is truly a marvel of engineering. I also have three incandescent bulbs over the kitchen sink, which are essentially bits of metal that get hot. Guess which one I have to replace more often?

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Thing is Graham, if your monitor goes wrong you pick a new one up for a couple of hundred. If these ones go wrong you're fucked on practicality and price.

      2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        @Graham 24

        However your desktop computer wasn't bodged together by Renault....

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "The more complex the electronics, the more likely it is to go wrong, and the more expensive it will be."

      With the rejoinder that complex electronics are far more reliable and longlived than complex mechanical bits, so given the choice, take the 'leccy.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Equipment as standard/Options disabled

    It would be interesting to compare the base model to the one with the Packs.

    How many of the items you are charged for are only options that have previously been disabled, such as all the heating elements and wiring installed in the seats but the software switch to turn it on is not available.

    On washing machines it used to be standard practice that the only difference between the spin speeds was jumper position on the circuit board (this evolved into a solder bridge to save money)

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Equipment as standard/Options disabled

      "How many of the items you are charged for are only options that have previously been disabled, such as all the heating elements and wiring installed in the seats but the software switch to turn it on is not available."

      Cost-conscious car markers are unlikely to pay for heated seats in a car that won't use them.

      Although the idea they could then charge 2nd or 3rd hand owners to activate such items has been mooted.

      So as yet there aren't many manufacturers who load the cars and just disable the option in software.

      (Apart from simple features like auto-folding wing mirrors. Where the difference between manual folding and auto folding doesn't entail additional hardware.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Equipment as standard/Options disabled

        The PC industry hasn't been above doing this. I once worked for a well known manufacturer where it was figured that as 100MB and 200MB hard drives (at that time) cost pretty much the same the logistics and bulk purchase advantages of buying only 200MB drives made it a logical choice to do this and simply format them as 100, 160, 200 etc and offer at different price points. (Yes - this was a while ago). Same trick with 56K onboard modems when they became as cheap as 33K - simply a different driver build. ETC ETC. Many other examples.

        Microprocessor manufacturers have often - particularly towards life-cycle end - marketed and labelled chips with a variety of speeds despite all being capable of running at the highest speed (or indeed above). A lot of 'over' clocking actually wasn't which is often why it worked well.

        1. Graham 24

          Re: Equipment as standard/Options disabled

          Most industries do it. The technical term is "capturing the consumer surplus". You're basically getting those with more money to pay more, and those with less money to pay less. It happens with everything from a coupon giving 10p off a £1 loaf of bread (if you have the time and the lack of money to make searching for and cutting out the coupon worthwhile) to a software company charging five times as much for an "Enterprise" operating system that can access more memory than a "Standard" operating system (if you need the extra memory, you probably have the budget to pay for it). For the operating system, it's a hard-coded compile option rather than a solder bridge, but the principle is the same.

          I'd heard that Audi were considering putting all options into all cars, and then enabling them on demand through the car's control modules. It may be that the extra cost of including the features in every build is outweighed by the efficiency savings on the production line and the extra purchasing power Audi would have from their component suppliers due to the increased volume. Apart from the second-hand market already mentioned, there's also the possibility of "renting" features. Heated seats that are a £900 option on a new car might be a tough sell in the showroom, especially in the summer. Enabling heated seats for 4 months a year at £30 a month allows Audi to get that same revenue, albeit over an 8 year period.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Equipment as standard/Options disabled

          "Microprocessor manufacturers have often - particularly towards life-cycle end - marketed and labelled chips with a variety of speeds despite all being capable of running at the highest speed (or indeed above). A lot of 'over' clocking actually wasn't which is often why it worked well."

          Not really the same as adding bits to a car though, is it?

          Nothing changed in the process of fabbing the chips.

          Just how the parts were binned.

          So there's no extra cost involved at all.

  7. Jan 0

    Clarification please

    "Peter Horbury was in charge of design, but he’s since been kicked upstairs to run design for Volvo’s Chinese parent Geely’s" <what>? What's the missing word or phrase? Bus Division? Wallpaper Department? Motorcycles? (Ok, I know that Geely doesn't make wallpaper.)

    Also, who needs front (or rear) sensors? Haven't impact resistant bumpers been mandatory all over the world since the 1970s? When parking, my senses tell me when I've touched the car (or bollard/wall) in front/behind. I don't want to know when I'm near them, because to park in a restricted space I need to use all of it.

  8. adnim Silver badge
    Joke

    Can I...

    switch the collision detection off?

    I might just want to rear end the driver that cut me up in protest at their behaviour!

  9. drand
    Meh

    It's a fair bet it's a diesel...

    if the tacho stops at 5k rpm! No need to open the filler cap.

  10. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    FAIL

    Safety??

    One of the options which significantly adds to the safety of others is the blind spot indicators. If there is something in the blind spot a light comes on by the door mirror. It seems to be sensitive scooters and bikes.

    So the driver pays less and less attention to the mirrors because "I don't need to, the car will tell me", until the day the car doesn't tell him, or he forgets he's driving someone else's car without the gadget, and he kills some poor sod in the blind spot he didn't check.

    My car has those pointless bleeping parking sensors. I don't need them, they don't help me park, but I can't turn the bloody things off. Yet even so, when I'm in my wife's car I still find myself reversing and half-waiting for the beep which will never happen.

    If you don't want to have to drive the car yourself, get a bus pass. Otherwise LEARN TO DRIVE THE FUCKING THING PROPERLY before you kill someone. No wonder road death figures are starting to go up again.

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: Safety??

      Generally I agree with you. Automatic lights? Rain sensitive wipers? If you can't tell it's dark or wet you shouldn't be relying on the car to tell you: you should walk.

      But the blind spot indicator isn't an alternative to looking in the mirror, it covers the bit the mirror does not.

      Parking sensors lie somewhere inbetween. They are the equivalent to the age old process of having the passenger jump out to have a look. I was rather pleased when I git a BMW X5 to have both front and rear parking sensors beeping at maximum frequency at the same time. That's a tight space.

      Simon

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Safety??

        But the blind spot indicator isn't an alternative to looking in the mirror, it covers the bit the mirror does not.

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. I understand your point, but unfortunately I don't think it will work that way. Instead of looking in the mirror, and then over their shoulder to check the blind spot as we were all taught to do, people will just fall into the habit of a glance in the mirror, check the little indicator isn't flashing, and pull out. They'll stop looking over their shoulder. They shoudln't, but they will, this sort of gadget encourages that sloppy driving.

        Parking sensors lie somewhere inbetween. They are the equivalent to the age old process of having the passenger jump out to have a look. I was rather pleased when I git a BMW X5 to have both front and rear parking sensors beeping at maximum frequency at the same time. That's a tight space.

        I drive a Mondeo, so also a biggish car. The sensors switch to a continuous beep when they are about 15-20cm from an object. I can get the car closer than that just by looking, even without a passenger. It takes practice, of course, to learn where the edges of the car are but again the sensors encourage people not to practice.

        A while back I was on a narrow country lane when a van appeared at speed round a corner, straddling the white line. I just squeezed between it and the rocky bank beside me, no scrapes. My passenger gulped and said "you do know what width your car is, don't you". Not something parking sensors would have helped with.

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Safety??

          If you're already moving you should be aware of someone moving in to your blind spots - either you've just passed them or they've hoofed it up to pass you.

          Pay attention to what's going on around you not just the brake lights of the car 3 cars ahead of you!

          1. Simon Rockman

            Re: Safety??

            Sorry, as someone who both drives and cycles in central London I think the blind spot indicators a very good idea.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Safety??

        Automatic lights? Rain sensitive wipers? If you can't tell it's dark or wet you shouldn't be relying on the car to tell you: you should walk.

        Automatic timing? If you can't tell when the engine's backfiring, you should walk. Automatic choke? If you can't tell when the engine's cold you should walk. Self-cancelling indicators? If you can't tell when you've turned the corner ....

        It's not just cars. The tendency with all machines is to automate functions that start out manual. Personally, I like the automatic lights, though sometimes I disagree with their judgement.

        Automatic wipers are actually a safety feature when there's little or no rain falling, but a passing lorry throws up a shower of water and mud and totally obscures the windscreen. They're also a logical development: my first car had single-speed wipers, subsequent cars had two-speed, intermittent with a constant delay, then intermittent with a continuously-variable delay. Taking the meatware component out of the loop makes sense.

  11. Zacherynuk
    Meh

    I test drove a 4x4 XC 60 a while back, and it, annoyingly, squirmed pulling out of junctions - until it detected a lack of grip and engaged the rear wheels. Daft that the car doesn't start in 4x4 mode if you ask me.

    Opted for an Outlander Phev in the end instead.

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