As a teenager my dream car was a VW Beetle and I was lucky enough to have one as my first car.
Fast forward a few years, my dream car has morphed and changed into something infinitely more practical for family travel and for the last ten years or so I have been dreaming of owning a Volvo XC90, even more so after getting inside one at Carfest last summer.
Why an XC90?
There are lots of reasons but one of the initial ones was that it answers one of the holy grails of 7 seater cars – it has boot space with all seven seats up!!
My wish came true, albeit briefly, on our visit to Scotland, as we got to test out the new XC90 D5 for a week and I was not disappointed.
There is no denying the fact that this car is huge. My previous car was a Citroen Grand Picasso and I currently drive a VW Touran which are both 7 seaters, but the XC90 towers over both.
The first thing I had to do was park it, which filled me with fear, but thankfully a rear view camera and a video motor with guide lines on the dashboard made it a piece of cake. Then it was time to play car jenga and load it up with all our stuff for the week.
My one, and only, disappointment with the XC90 is that you cannot fit 3 car seats along the rear seats as the middle seat is 3/4 size, which meant one of the kids had to take up one of the seats in the boot. This turned into a blessing for the 9 hour drive as it meant they could not bicker and fight and there was still enough boot space for three suitcases, wellies, bags and two toy boxes.
The Volvo XC90 is, without doubt, the most comfortable car I have ever had the pleasure to drive. It is packed full of gadgets that James Bond would be proud of, with a cockpit akin to the Starship Enterprise and useful inclusions that included an actual plug in the rear so the kids could charge their iPads. I think we found a new gadget every day of our 7 day holiday!
Driving the XC90 took some getting used to at first as it is packed full of safety features which took centre stage on the motorways. The car monitors the white lines on the road and will centre you if it thinks you are wavering, however you can override it if changing lanes.
It also senses the distance to the car in front and four orange lights will appear in the drivers eye view if you are too close to the car in front or if a car is approaching from behind an orange light will appear in the wing mirrors to warn you. It can even drive itself with pilot assist technology, which is the most bizarre experience but great if you are in heavy traffic.
The 9″ touch screen computer panel in the middle of the dashboard enabled us to control the radio, both DAB and FM, heated seats, heated steering wheel, air conditioning and was the satnav and parking camera too.
The satnav map also appeared on the dashboard directly in the drivers eyeline, along with the speed limit of the road, which we found particularly handy.
The XC90 performed brilliantly on the motorways but we were also keen to see how it behaved in more challenging conditions.
There are four drive settings; comfort, eco, off-road and dynamic and we tried them all.
The Off Road came in very handy, especially when we encountered some challenging country roads and snow and made the drive stable, smooth and comfortable.
Other gadgets we loved included a heated front windscreen that defrosts in less than 30 seconds, a boot that opens and closes with the push of a button and that you can even connect your phone and have your messages read out.
If you want the gory details about how good, or bad, your driving is, it can even tell you that too.
Fuel consumption wise it did really well and did around 550 miles per tank of diesel. We had to fill up 3 times (it arrived with a full tank of fuel) and we did just over 2000 miles during our week, costing around £80 each time.
The Volvo XC90 costs from £47,350 which is about average for a car of this class.
With its array of safety features, the roominess inside (even my 6ft teen can stretch his legs), this remains at the very top of my dream car list and for me, is the perfect family car.
Disclaimer: We were lent the Volvo XC90 D5 for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.