2010 Volvo XC60 Road Trip (Wrap-up)

2010 Volvo XC60 Long-Term Road Test

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2010 Volvo XC60 Road Trip (Wrap-up)

July 12, 2010

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After 2,490 miles, 120.9 gallons of fuel, and an average of 21 mpg, the Road Trip is done. That fuel economy is pretty remarkable considering the EPA's Hwy mpg figure is exactly the same at 21 mpg, but we managed it with a few hundred pounds of family and stuff.

Follow the jump to see my final impressions and a few more snap shots from the road.

The best fuel economy we earned was on the 428-mile run (a record number of miles from one tank in the XC60, by the way) from Sunriver, OR to Sacramento, CA where, for reasons I cannot comprehend, we earned 25 mpg. I had hoped the next tank would take me the rest of the way home from Sacramento to Fullerton (the navi said it was just 417 miles--see below), but again, for reasons I cannot surmise, that tank took me just 371 miles to Castaic.

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Perhaps the infamous Grapevine section of I-5 (below) took its toll, but I barely made it to the other side where I managed to cram 18.8 gallons of fuel in what Volvo claims is an 18.5 gallon fuel tank.

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But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit.

The worst fuel economy was endured in the Sunriver complex itself where the posted speed limit is 25 mpg. With so many people walking and bicycling, the limit is strictly enforced. Good thing the Volvo's adaptive cruise control can be set as low as 20 mph--see below.

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I've never seen a cruise control that was able to be set at such a low speed. Additionally, the adaptive part still worked, applying brakes gently to keep a safe distance from those who felt that even 20 mph was too darned fast--we were in Oregon after all.

I came to terms with adaptive cruise on this trip, which I have previously criticized because there's no standard (non-adaptive) setting for a selected speed. Typically, there's too much traffic in and around LA for it to work. If you set a speed, the minimum space buffer is large enough for other drivers to jump in front of the Volvo, and the system automatically jumps on the brakes to maintain a safe distance. But on the open road the system works like magic. I see why other people (who don't live in crowded metro areas) love it.

I made my peace with the Volvo's navigation system which often looks like this in Los Angeles...


We used the system with reasonable success finding hotels, gas stations, and to estimate how long each stint would take in hours/minutes. I still don't like that address input (or even city input) is blocked if the car is in motion (and my able-bodied wife is sitting next to me).

But when I least expected it, the navigation system came to the rescue just as I encountered unexpected Sunday afternoon traffic--see below.

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Welcome home well-rested, sun-kissed traveler. Woof. The sky went all grayish-blue, the navi screen went all red, and suddenly, a message popped up, telling me that traffic conditions had changed and asking if I'd like to be rerouted. Sure, I'll give it a try... anything to avoid this mess.

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The system told me to get off the I-5, take side streets around the snarl, and re-enter on the other side of sanity--and it worked. So, rather than taking 5 hours, 51 minutes (which was forecast by the system, it actually took 7 hours, 10 minutes.

Unfortunately, I missed the exact moment the odometer clicked off exactly 20,000-miles. Close enough for an official Milestone, I say.

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So, that's the whole enchilada. Great trip, good fun, great sights, and a gentle reminder for those of us on our staff who sometimes transport family dogs to do a better job vacuuming the hair/dander out of the interior. My daughter has asthma and was sniffling/wheezing in the backseat until I discovered a generous layer of Golden Retriever left on the carpeted portion of the rear hatch. I can see how the car wash missed it because they wouldn't necessarily look up when vacuuming the cargo area with the hatch open. Just sayin.

If you're interested in the rest of the trip, here are links to my previous 2010 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD posts:

Part I (Arroyo Grande)

Part II (Mendocino)

Part III (Crater Lake--should be called "Caldera Lake" by the way)

Part IV (Sunriver)

And below are a few more shots from the road for no particular reason.

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If you're ever in Bend, Oregon, this is a terrific new hotel; spacious, inexpensive, and thoroughly modern.

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Mount Shasta looked like it was erupting, but it was just making a cloud or two from the moist air.

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It did look pretty convincing, however.

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Miles and miles and miles of agriculture between Sacramento and Los Angeles on I-5.

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Just another opportunistic silhouette shot.

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What's so damne mezmerizing about perfectly aligned rows of saplings? Must resist looking, must drive, must not zone out.... Good thing I had the Volvo's lane-departure warning system activated.

Thanks for coming along,

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 20,095 miles

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