When you hear the name Volvo it doesn’t exactly strike a chord in your ear. You don’t immediately get excited, and you don’t exactly think much of the name. In fact, many associate Volvo with outdated trends and a brand that caters to the elderly. I, myself fell victim to that.
The vehicle I originally reserved for the week of my birthday got cancelled and I was left with Volvo as my only option. I was sadden by this and even complained to a coworker who set me straight. He told me to stop pouting over the Volvo and began to explain that the brand is well known for their engines. These are the same engines that go into big rigs and semis. He assured me that for long distance driving, I would not be steered (intentional car pun) wrong by being behind the wheel of a Volvo. So, I went in with an open mind, and realized he was right. And here is the tale of how wrong I really was.
Volvos are Swiss designed, as you are able to discern from the blue and yellow crossed flag sewn into each cockpit seat. Here, all that I am use to and is deem “normal” by North American vehicle standards, made the S60 feel all the more foreign. Originally, it felt as if they were being different for the sake of being different. Whereas the more you drove it, the more you learned and appreciated what was before you.
Like the infotainment system and air vents being set up vertically, whereas everyone else does it horizontally. An aesthetically driven setting that does take some getting used to. Much like the slant at the top of the elbow rest, which is both stylish and practical, giving additional length for the driver to rest their forearm. And the toggles in place of the gear shift that had the car reversing with a push of the dial up, whereas to drive you clicked downwards.
And then there is the sound system. Volvo takes pride in their audio, taking the time to source out the best brands in the business and outfitting each of their vehicles with one of three, depending on the model. As a luxury vehicle, the 2022 Volvo S60 B5 AWD R-Design came with the top-of-the-line audio from Bowers & Wikins, hailed for the best automotive audio systems available. Designed with the driver in mind and how they want to experience their music on the road. Volvo engineers work together with the Bowers & Wikins team during the design of the vehicle to precisely position their states-of-art speakers. An interesting set up that included speakers in each door’s side panel, a central one with an additional round speaker right on the dash, and even miniature speakers mounted on to each sun visor. All these touches worked because the Volvo S60 had some of the best sounding audio, in any car that I have driven to date. And shamefully this was my first time within one.
I did find the cabin cramped in the S60. I kept hitting my head on the roof of the door on the way in, only to learn that I have to go about it at an angle. It helped to move the front passenger seat back, but this came at a cost to the back passenger row. The 2022 Volvo S60 also did not come with cooling seats, which would have been nice to have during this heat wave. So, each time we exited the vehicle we came back to our leather and cloth mixed seats scalding us due to all the direct sunlight they had been getting. But the seats themselves were very comfortable. Lumbar support and an extra flap at its base to better help support the thighs. And as the front seat passenger, you were also able to save your seat preferences, something I haven’t seen in any other make or model to date.
As for the way it handles, the sedan almost babies you. The driver assist is a godsend for elongated cruises (as promised), and this 4 hour drive from Vancouver to Kelowna and back we put it to the test. Seeing when the car directs you to grab the wheel and when it takes over and steers you back on course. It was like magic watching it take winding bends on your behalf. The breaking is slow and precise, and when it eases off for you it does not feel like a sudden jerk. All the motion behind the Volvo S60 feels safe and controlled. Even the acceleration is soft when on Sports Mode.
For anyone who complains about having to drive long distances, they need to have Volvo experience. And once you drive one, no other mode of extended cruising can compare. Once you go Volvo, you can’t go back. Truly, this was a great eye-opening experience, and I have new found appreciation for the 2022 Volvo S60 B5 AWD R-Design and any Volvos. And this was definitely the highlight of our trip.
We travelled to and visited Kelowna, based on our Airbnb accommodations, which ended up being the very reason why we cut our trip, prematurely short. A case of be weary of handouts and know what you are getting yourself into. The following is a recap of our 4-night 5-day stay turned 2 days travelling and 1 awkward overnight. For the review of that, visit the link below for my cathartic rant.
Although, I must say we did make the best of things with a picnic spread inside the bedroom, while watching movies on the laptop. Certainly, one of the more memorable stays I have had of recent.
In Kelowna we spent a great deal of time exploring the outdoors, visiting patches of woods once burnt to a cinder, now beginning to grow with a mix of new and old black and green.
And on our drive into town, we stopped by local hot spot Flip Flops and Hops. Where we discovered this best kept secret for a chill spot to grab some beers and cocktails at, plus their creative spins on popular bistro favourites. All served by their hospitable and helpful owner. Full recap of that experience in the separate link below.
We also took the time to walk the city of Kelowna, make notes of a new restaurants I had intended on visiting throughout the week, that we would now never get to try. Then it was an early night in and an early morning departure, to be able to get back to Vancouver as soon as possible with an quiet evening at home.
We would take the long way round, passing through Kamloops and stopping at the Monte Creek winery and restaurant. I have heard much about the property and have yet to visit, so wanted that to be the highlight of this short-winded trip. Review of our scenic lunch and wine tasting experience available in the link below.
Then it was on the road, with stops at points of interest. Like the local Starbucks in Vernon for some caffeinated energy.
And I couldn’t pass up farm fresh eggs being advertised roadside in Falkland. We would stop at Dueck Falkland Farms aka Sterling Springs chicken ranch for some organic eggs, apricot jalapeno chicken bratwurst, T-bone beef steak, and country style bacon.
These we would take home to prepare as a conciliation breakfast the morning after. It was enough to have me excited for the next day, still off work but now at home for a literal staycation. Better luck next year.