Volvo lent us its XC60. I will describe it first for your ears and your eyes. It’s a crossover utility that’s a plug-in hybrid, meaning it can start its day all-electric, and when the charge runs out it becomes a regular hybrid, claiming 57 miles per gallon when you add them up. things with the EPA magic numbers. It claims 400 horsepower when you add the super and turbocharged two-liter gasoline engine with 87 horsepower from the electric motor.
It’s so smooth and quiet that these sounds come from the cars next to it. The stereo can make Tom Williams look like he’s performing at a jazz club … or the Gutenberg concert hall.
And now I would like my fingernails to describe what you feel at your fingertips. Right in front of the shotgun there is a hard plastic pebble finish on the glove box, a soft pebble texture just above, a smooth chrome stripe, a light wood look, dark leather with stitching and above , vents with a smooth piano finish.
The steering wheel has stitching and at least three textures. All the knobs are either dimpled like a golf ball or smooth like a piano, and the shifter is chiseled clear crystal. It looks like a mini prize and catches your hand on it.
In 2010, Science Magazine told us that touch is the first sense we develop and affects how we get information. Experiments have shown that heavy things make people more important, that gross things make interactions more difficult or brutal.
The attention to what you touch in the XC60 makes us think Volvo realizes the importance of what you touch.
Hyundai was aware of this over 20 years ago. I went to the press introduction of the Elantra GT 2000, when it was still a bit cheap. They pointed out the thin bits of rubber on the parts of the cheap plastic air conditioning dials you touch, and told us how those tiny bits made people feel like the car was nicer. Since then, Hyundai’s have been feeling better and better.
But they are not at Volvo-touch level. Everything is so luxurious with tactly, the only thing that isn’t pleasant … is the harsh navigation voice.