Most people who cross state lines in a car they don’t own and didn’t pay for probably never had a stable father figure in their lives. My dad was nestled in safely in the rear seat of our 2012 Volvo XC70 as we cruised majestically over the Columbia River for a week’s worth of wholesome family vacation on the Oregon coast.
Pride radiated from his eyes; the luxury press car was borrowed legally from Volvo’s press fleet with no strings attached beyond the cost of fuel and several things written into the small print of the contract I had signed but didn’t care to be made nervous of by mentioning aloud.
There was good reason to take such precautions. Volvo’s XC90 won the luxury division of the Northwest Auto Press Association’s Mudfest this year, (http://tinyurl.com/3zdxqk2) beating out competition from Land Rover and Mercedes just to name a few.
As a card carrying member of the NWAPA, it was my duty to hold the XC70 to the same scrutinizing lens, despite any amount of giddiness it might inspire.
It had arrived the previous day in front of my lowly studio apartment in Seattle, polished to perfection in Caspian Metallic Blue.
Property values skyrocketed. Several of my neighbors were driven from their homes by a realtor wielding a length of rubber hose.
Just about any new model year luxury car will make an entire city block pale in comparison when professionally detailed, but there was more to the XC70 than a thin sheen of Turtle Wax glazed expensively over an imported station wagon.
At first glance one would quickly reference the XC70 as such: Station wagon; to be associated with a family of six or more, ill-fated vacations and Chevy Chase’s hilarious follies.
At second glance it was apparent this wasn’t the 1977 Vista Cruiser my dad referenced heavily when he reminisced lovingly of the station wagon’s glory days. Instead of dog dish wheels and fat sloppy rubber, the XC70 had low profile tires, eighteen inch wheels, 8.3 inches of ground clearance and rugged SUV-like styling.
Beneath the glitz a turbocharged three hundred horsepower 3.0L V6 and all-wheel drive system pushed it to an even farther distinction from Volvo’s V70 wagon, into the ever-expanding crossover segment.
For an auto blogger whose bed was shoehorned into a closet atop empty crates of Costco Top Ramen in a studio apartment, being handed the key fob to a $45,000 luxury press car of this brave new variety was the stuff dreams are made of, even without taking into account the rich family bonding it would surely inspire on the trip down to our annual summer getaway in Lincoln City, Oregon.
Stay tuned for incomparable automotive critique and dazzling accounts of all the wonderful things that occurred along the way.