Mode Man - 2010 Volvo XC60 Long-Term Road Test

2010 Volvo XC60 Long-Term Road Test

2010 Volvo XC60: Mode Man

October 21, 2009

car-of-the-week-banner-717.jpgVolvo XC60 center stack.jpg

Wow. There are plenty of switches on our long-term 2010 Volvo XC60's center stack. There's enough material there for several blogs.

But today we focus on that guy in the center of it all: Mode Man.
Honda Fit center stack.jpg

For manual HVAC, like on our long-term 2009 Honda Fit (pic right), we can adjust which registers -- choose the mode -- we would prefer for airflow: upper (defrost), face (dash), or floor. If you enlarge the Fit pic you can see the dotted squiggle line that is the Mode Man. He helps you understand where that airflow is going to go.

For an auto adjust HVAC, a car's multiple processors figure out where the flow goes to best keep the auto temp setting.

But some people think they're smarter than the car or like to mess with everything, so Mode Man is also available for auto HVAC.

Alas, Mode Man is going away on some newer cars, replaced with text or other icons.

But not on our XC60: Volvo went full-on wacky with this Mode Man...

Volvo XC60 Mode Man crop.jpg

In most other vehicles with Mode Man, the switches are all the same size and shape. Look at the close-up of the XC60 HVAC and you can see that for the three airflow zones, there are three distinct sections of Mode Man's body. If you want the upper airflow, press on Mode Man's head, which is a separate switch.

But if you actually want air blowing on your face you would use the dash vents, which correspond to this Mode Man's body. It's only confusing if you think about it...look at the arrows instead.

Unlike many of the XC60's controls, it works fine.
But just like several of those same controls and switches, it is straight-up weird.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 6100 miles

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