Experienced by Kimatni D Rawlins

Volvo is steadfastly focused on a path of recreation with their lineup of newfangled SUVs, wagons and sedans as the future is represented in the form of the present. With a chance to drive and experience the 2018 XC60, 2018 S90 and 2018 V90, including plug-in hybrid versions of the XC60 and S90, it is evident that the Swedish auto brand’s road to transformation is on par with the expectations of today’s tech savvy auto buyer looking for advanced safety assurances, autonomous solutions and digital conveniences during daily commutes.

For a complete understanding of Volvo’s unwavering mission, Automotive Rhythms and Fit Fathers visited the Centennial State to enjoy the simple but adventurous life with their squadron of active vehicles including the new T8s with an electric rear motor. Colorado’s diverse topography, river canyons and Rocky Mountains was an ideal environment for evaluating the group of Volvo rides. Not only is Denver hip and happening, but the outskirts of the capital is aligned with the lifestyle of Volvo owners who enjoy hiking, mountain biking and camping.

With the continuous success of the XC90 and S90 and Volvo’s first US factory coming to South Carolina in 2018, expect the company’s 18% growth in 2016 to increase by the end of 2017 and even more so in 2018. Starting from the ground up, their meteoric rise in recent years can be attributed to sharper and more aggressive designs, infectious interiors, newer, compact powertrains built for fuel efficiency and of course adventurous DNA traits for the warrior inside all of us. For example, the rear design is angled from the waste up to enhance the silhouette with a dynamic profile whether moving or stationary. A microcosmic extension of the owner’s way of life is offered through stately alloy wheel packages, the usage of interior carbon or Driftwood inlays, a 4-Corner Air Suspension and luxury seat packages with Nappa leather upholstery, heat, ventilation and backrest massaging.

My focus in the Mile High City was centered on the 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Inscription SUV with a total price of $71,590 ($52,900 MSRP). The latest XC60 inherits some the XC90’s attributes including the familiar family grille while presenting a bevy of memorable features depending on the trim chosen: Momentum, R-Design or Inscription. Amenities include storage under the rear seats specifically designed to hold digital devices, Android Auto and a rear view camera akin to gaming graphics. While backing up I felt like I was intriguingly watching myself from the outside. Designer door panels, dual, integrated exhausts tips, standard panoramic sunroof, slick 20” and 21” alloy rims (especially the 21” R-Designs), a chin spoiler and LED headlights cued with the outline of Thor’s Hammer complete the exterior elements of the XC60.

The optional $3,200 15-speaker, 1100-watt Bowers and Wilkins Premium Surround Sound is a game changer in car audio and commingles with Spotify so you can enjoy beloved tunes in a high-quality, streaming format. With Sensus Connect’s 9” touchscreen, navigation and Wi-Fi hotspot (6-month complimentary subscription), the interface and features of your smartphone are replicated on the swipeable screen including favorite playlists, artists and albums.

Using infrared opposed to capacitive touch, the Sensus 9” digital display looks, feels and operates like a tablet with tile systems that highlight the most used four apps such as Phone, Media, Navigation and Messages. Apps include Driver Performance and Apple CarPlay to name a few. Swipe the screen to the left and a copious amount of technologies can be selected like the 360° Camera (part of the $1,900 Advanced Package), Head-up Display settings or Park Assist Pilot ($1,100 Vision Package). Another semi-autonomous feature is Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist that works well by helping steer, brake and accelerate. However, the operator should always be ready to intervene.

Electrification comes into play from the XC60 T8’s 2-liter, 4-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E gas engine in the front and rear electric motor with 400 combined horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor sits atop the rear axle and powers the rear wheels with 87 horsepower. An upgraded 10.4 kWh battery provides more electricity for longer drives. The T8 is a perfect example of Volvo’s pledge to electrify every car they make by 2019. On the roads of Colorado this combination was powerful and provided great efficiency. The streaming between the gas and electric engines was fluid with the help of the front-mounted 34 kW starter motor. Customers can juice the vehicle with a dual 110v and 220v TurboCord at home or at public locations. Also, there is a B (for battery) selection on the crystal-like gear shifter of the 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with adjustable Drive-mode settings to recoup energy through regenerative braking. The only T8 setback from my perspective is the lack of shift paddles.

Another confident proclamation by Volvo is that no one should be killed or seriously injured in one of their vehicles by 2020. This dedication to the safety of the human race is major since nearly 1.3 million individuals are killed in auto accidents annually with another 20-50 million injured or disabled. So the development of new safety systems to offset these deadly statistics include Oncoming Lane Mitigation for avoiding collisions with approaching vehicles by automatically steering out of danger. My vehicle was also enhanced with Collision Avoidance by City Safety which detects vehicles, people, cyclists and large animals; Lane Keeping Aid and Oncoming Lane Mitigation; Run-off Road Mitigation that helps driver stay on the road by using evasive steering and braking; WHIPS or Whiplash Protection System; SIPS or Side Impact Protection System and the enhanced BLIS with Steer Assist to help prevent collisions with vehicles in your blind spot.

Anytime I step inside a new Volvo I am in awe of its luxurious cabin, advanced safety nets, forward thinking infotainment services and cleaner, more efficient engine package. It’s a brave new world for the European auto brand and architect of active lifestyle vehicles. A world of people in need of elevated technology to align with their requisites while providing required safety protection.