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"The Viking Ship"

Sverige, Svenska, Szwecja or simply Sweden. The land when people take care of the environment, human life is the most important and the awareness of the need to comply with road traffic laws is greater than in any other European country. I have sailed for the first time to this country on a sailing ship, where I got with my high school friend Andrzej. Andrzej and I have always had a flair to participate in various events, school competitions, from various scientific fields that we usually had no idea about. This time was obviously the same. The competition on knowledge of the Baltic Sea in which the main prize was the Baltic Sea cruise and Scandinavian ports. My knowledge about the Baltic Sea in 2001 was comparable to the information that the average bread eater has about the handling of the balloon burner ,which is rather small. All participants of the competition were very well prepared, but except us, so we had to improvise. It turned out that I was sitting behind a big pillar, and next to me there was a door, behind which, Andrzej sat on the floor in peace and quiet, unkempt by anyone with books in his hands. After all we took a second place and soon with the great delight we were embarked on a ship with "deck hand" degree. I was sailing to Scandinaviafeeling some strange fondness. Actually, I could not wait to see with my own eyes how life is going in the different way from our country. After many hours of fighting with the elements at the sea and inhaling the engine exhaust Leyland (Jelcz), in which our "warship" was equipped, we finally reached the coast of Sweden. I was not disappointed, this place looked splendid, it was very clean and peaceful and people were very friendly to each other. Walking around these small towns I began to wonder why most of the cars I pass on the streets were Saab and Volvo. The answer is simple, these two brands were born here, in Sweden, and taking into consideration the strong emotional connection of the Swedes with everything that is their "own" production, the view of cars with the logo of these two manufacturers , moving on Swedish roads should not have surprised anyone. The Saab brand was founded in the 1930s and was a synonym for luxury with a large dose of sports genes. The Saab's interior resembled a combat aircraft cockpit, turbo engines were strong and durable and the armored suspension, which was doing great with severe road conditions that are in Scandinavian countries in the winter. Unfortunately, the turmoil in the automotive market combined with the passing of the Saab from hand to hand, eventually resulted in the disappearance of this iconic brand in 2012, which is a pity. Currently, some cars with the logo of this Swedish company are slipping off the production line somewhere in a Chinese factory, but honestly, I do not know much about it and I am not interested in ... Chinese Saab. However, the Swedes did not lay down their arms and they have one more surprise up their sleeve ...Volvo. The history of this brand is also interesting, and perhaps even more so because cars with the logo of this group are considered to be one of the safest vehicles in the world. The beginning of production of these Swedish cars occurs in the 1920s, when the first car called ÖV4 came off the production line in Hisingen. Until 1999, Volvo developed quite well in its own yard, by the time the Ford took over the brand. The world crisis approaching fast, caused the automotive market was trembling and car makers have begun reshuffling to protect their corporations against bankruptcy. In 2010, Volvo went into the hands of the Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited and actually with small castling has been remained in these Chinese hands to this day.

"Swedish breeze"

My first meeting with Volvo took place during my studies when my colleague bought for a penny an old model 240 diesel, with a capacity... (I don't know how much and he did not know either) and in addition it was the estate car. The car looked like the vehicle of the retired Swedish gravedigger but it was driving extremely well. The suspension of this big junk resembled a spring couch, and the power unit may not have had impressive performance, but it had two main advantages; it was indestructible and burned everything literally. I recall that in 2005, for the first time I sat behind the wheel of the S40 model with the 2.0T engine. Impressions from driving were quite good, but the suspension of this car did not suit me to the stereotype of a solid limousine that was produced even by the Germans at that time. Generally I didn't like S40 so far, but the S60 model, yes I did. The copy, which I managed to " fly around" was equipped with a five-cylinder diesel engine with a capacity of 2.4 liters (D5) and 185 horsepower. I will tell you that I was rubbing my eyes with astonishment, this car on the road was burning about 4.8 liters of oil per 100 kilometers, and it did not break even once despite the mileage of well over 200,000 kilometers. Unfortunately, it was not without flaws. The car showed up a lot of understeering, and the considerable torque along with the drive on the front axle caused that driving it on a slippery surface was a torture and comedy in one. The front wheels danced like a group of young Swedes on the ferry, that's why every turn into a sharp bend on a slippery surface could end with a visit to the forest glade .., and this is no longer a comedy because that's how my friend ended who together with a group of several passengers aboard the Volvo, was "far from the highway" including most of the nearby trees and shrubs.You know what? All participants in this accident survived and absolutely nothing happened to anyone. It turned out that the SIPS system (Side Impact Protection System) and side airbags worked in such a way that the impact energy was spread without doing any more harm to anyone. A lesson ?, experience? Or maybe "going a little too far " ?Have you heard about the scandal in which automotive concerns were suspected of using human bodies to test security systems in their cars? I just did not read anything about Volvo, but about Saab already:) Probably a company to which this brand belonged gave a second chance to make a career to those who did not succeed in life. The producers were accused of having people who had already left the world in cars that are being smashed against the wall. Is it wrong? Personally, I think that this arouses some controversy, but everything depends on the individual approach to the matter. In this I see quite clearly the chuckle of fate "to be born in order to die, helping to save other people while being successful in the field of learning about the prevention and consequences of road accidents ..after death". On the one hand ... and on the other. .. Now, judge for yourself. Returning to Volvo, I once had the opportunity to drive about a thousand kilometers behind the wheel of the first generation XC90 model with a diesel engine. The car was very comfortable, but unfortunately too weak for such a huge SUV and that's why I decided to get another " ninety" in my curious claws, but this time the newest and strongest one.

"Pure power"

The Volvo XC90 T8 in the R-Design equipment version simply looks great. The product in Bursting Blue colour, which I received for testing, was equipped with two engines, internal combustion and electric, but all this in a moment. In the beginning, a traditional look. Compared to the previous generation, the new XC90 looks much better. Fortunately, there is nothing left of the previous model except for the style of the rear lights that overlap the rear pillars, which slightly refer to the past.However, the great effort of body stylists is visible. The car inspires confidence , is not an athlete and you can see that, it does not tend to the compete on the road and it can also be seen. It is Volvo that is just itself , it does not succeed, does not try to prove anything. It looks like a huge, practical, safe and elegant SUV which stylistics matches the present times. The particular elements that really stand out from the whole are LED reflectors that look like the letter T, introducing a lot of modernity to the look of this Swede. The car is massive and it can be seen, but it does not resemble the roughly hewn bully, there is a balanced Swedish style with elements of modernity and I would even say futurism ...although it may be a far-reaching conclusion, I do not know myself. Inside the first class, you can not see any shoddy, the style of "old grandfather", nor unnecessary modernity , that would not match the current stylistic trends. It is Swedish style ,that is functional but with a little bit of cool and interesting design, which does not have to be popular but also does not give a reason to complain. For me it's great, I like it and that's it. Now the best, that is a large central monitor in the style of "Tesla system ", which on one hand I could not wait, on the other hand it appalled me. Of course, I sat behind the wheel, like the helmsman of this ship then pressed the brake pedal and I m looking for a start button.., hmm in Germany it is different, and how about here? There is a nice knob on the bottom panel of the center console between the drive mode switch and the gearshift lever that says Start Engine Stop. Turn them to the right and we will hear.., we will not hear anything if the electric motor will turn on, in which the car is equipped. Returning to the service of this great tablet. As I saw a multitude of functions of this device I laughed under my breath and thought that I will leave the car park in the morning because I will have been learning how to use this computer all night. It is not bad, after a short while everything becomes very understandable and intuitive, we just have to remember that we will be able to control almost the entire car with this computer.., only. The touch menu of this device is in Polish, each pushbutton is responsible for only one function and it is practically limited to the „turn on and off” option of a given piece of equipment. Return to the main menu is possible after pressing a non-touch button integrated in the casing. How would I describe this monitor in a few words? The car likes the touch, the functions are clear, quite easy to handle but it is not the Apple style display, do not expect colorful Christmas trees straight from Mercedes S-Coupe. All functions that we can turn on or off while driving are about 40, not counting the phone's settings, air conditioning, radio, sound, navigation, display and so on. I will not describe them all because we will fall asleep soon. Ok, I grab the crystal gear stick in my hand, I'm throwing "Drive" and I float like a Swede to the full sea. A pneumatic suspension gives the total comfort to my backside. You really need a lot of surface irregularity that it would shake this giant. The first impressions of the ride were amazing, I left the parking on an electric engine in "Pure" driving mode, thinking that it will always be so, and I am forced to write about this car only one thing.., "unbelievable I was able to find a perpetuum mobile". The idyllic mood has been disturbed by the combustion engine at some point which turned on when the range to drive on the electric drive approached zero. It turns out that 390 horsepower is the total power generated by both drives. A combustion engine it's just two –liter, turbocharged four-cylinder unit, generating 320 horsepower. The rest is an electric motor, thanks to which we can drive about 30 kilometers without the help of an internal combustion engine. The car has four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission that really does well in every driving mode. The sprint for the "hundred" lasts 5.6s and the top speed is 230 km/h which is a really good result considering the weight of the car exceeding 2 tonnes. The car in "Power" mode responds to gas and allows fast overtaking, but.., you still have to turn on this mode if necessary, and it lasts and continues because we have to; a) feel with your finger rotary knob on the center konsole, b) look at the monitor and turn this knob by selecting the appropriate driving mode, c) click to confirm and we can only start. The problem is that at that time it was already a truck that we wanted to overtake a long time to reach the ferry to Sweden. There are still paddles on the steering wheel, but they do not appeal to me because I think they are a little too small and force the unnatural position of holding the "wheel" when we want to change the ratio by using the index finger. I really like the energy management function in this car. Moving along the route on the combustion engine, we can turn on charging the batteries of the electric motor with a single button. Entering the city or standing in a traffic jam again with one button, we turn off the exhaust and turn on the electricity only. Splendidly, we do not make noise, we do not polute, and we do not listen to the inline-four engine only but the Bowers&Wilkins sound system, which moved me into a different dimension. I have never heard anything like this. At last I got bored with listening to something cracking, creaking or working so loud so I turned on the radio and turned the "in plus" potentiometer. Quite by accident, the radio channel from Toruń was set. I felt as if I was sitting in a great temple and personally talking to the leader of this clan, and more, if I listened to "the loud and pure singing of his choir”. Believe me, this impression has not yet made a set playing on me despite the fact that I do not have any musical hearing at all. Security systems; there are so many of them that I have no idea where to start. I have a request for you, if you want to read about them just go to the Volvo website and do it, and I will tell you only about the most interesting in my opinion. The City Safety system is designed to avoid or reduce the effects of collision with a pedestrian, a cyclist or another car or.., moose. The car is so clever that it will brake itself if at the intersection we turn in front of a vehicle coming from the opposite dicrection. In the event that we run on the so-called headlamp, our Volvo will also try to slow down our vehicle. If, however, something goes wrong and we fall out of the way then our car prepares us for a hard landing tensioning the seatbelts, and the special shape of the seats will help to protect our spine from the effects of an impact. In a case of that we will be at the crossroads and the radars of our vehicle will locate the fast approaching vehicle which could drive into the back of our car, our emergency lights will start blinking quickly, the seatbelts will be stretched and the brakes will be applied to minimize the effects of the impact. Everything is great and super but what when you do the same thing I did? Well, I turned on the rear door lock (such as Child Lock) and I forgot about it, I wanted to take pictures of the interior of the vehicle, so I got off the steering wheel and I changed into a back seat, of course, closing the back door of my car behind me. I finished the photos, grabbed the door handle and what? And nothing, I'm sitting like this idiot and I can not get out, I'm pushing the door release button and I'm waiting, I do not know what, until someone outside pulls the handle and does not apply to the door. And what if the smoke appears in the cabin and I will be there in the back? And I will tell you that this is not only a Volvo problem because in "Germany" it is identical.

„And it went alone"

As the autonomy knocks on my door I took as a point of honor a serious attempt and I gave my volvo a chance, to take me home.., itself. I went to the highway, switched on the Pilot Assist, active cruise control, let go the steering wheel and let the car go alone. And it goes. From time to time, the system orders taking over the steering, and basically some delicate movement of the steering wheel is enough to re-engage the car. Everything is great if the road is fairly easy and the traffic is small. Unfortunately, it is not completely safe in my opinion. I will give you two examples, or actually the situations that happened to me during this autonomous ride. Driving with constant speed on the highway, I approached the bend. Not having full confidence in this "autonomy" I kept my hands over the steering wheel ready to grab it if necessary. The car started to turn into a bend and after a while there was a message requiring immediate taking over. It's just a curve that's outgrown the system and that's it. I had a similar situation in the BMW 7 series. Second example; I drive in the left lane and next to me a truck with a semi-trailer. Together, we reach the left turn. My car is approaching the right side to the middle of the road because there is a painted line and starts turning left, and the truck next to it also has to turn left so that the right lane approaches with its left side to the middle of the road. This is how we get closer together at a speed of around 90 km/h. "Sorry", but I took over the driving because if the TIR had cut that corner it would be hot. I reached my destination and I must admit that I was terribly tired of this whole autonomous ride. I think that it will make sense if the vehicles communicate with each other because on the road, a man with a computer never gets along.

Would I buy a Volvo XC90 T8 AWD? This car is great, Volvo has really risen from a deep crisis and flows into wide waters. Actually, nothing irritates me in this car and if I was looking for a large, safe and very comfortable SUV, I would take this car into consideration. There is only one thing that makes me think and it's not about autonomous driving because all Premium manufacturers have some problems with it, and the truth is that we drivers test it. The engine.., kind of Pure, kind of Hybrid and kind of Eco. Only that this two-liter Eco without electric drive burns about 16 liters of fuel in the city. In the combined cycle and the combination of both drives, the combustion drops to about 10 liters, but we must constantly control our driving style. The choice is yours and if you have 100 thousand Euro prepared for a cool car, nothing stands in the way to buy it. "You will be satisfied"

 

 

Artur Rojewski

 

Volvo XC90 T8 AWD 2018
14 January 2019

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Attention! This site is for information purposes only, does not promote any driving style and is not of a training nature. All cars covered by the descriptions and photos posted on this site are used in accordance with traffic regulations and with the highest security measures in order not to cause any damage to road users. The author of the blog is not responsible for other road users who in a manner inconsistent with traffic regulations or with the exposure to the health and life of others, will use vehicles on public roads and outside them.