Attending the British Transport Police Conference in June, Divisional Commander (Scotland) McBride was delighted to win the prize draw that Motor Source Group (MSG) had organised for delegates. While the prize drives are not always Volvo-related, thanks to the excellent partnership that Motor Source Group has with Volvo Cars UK, a Volvo XC90 in R-Design 2.0TDi trim was delivered to Mr McBride’s home in mid-September.
“Everything was organised impeccably,” John explained. “Around forty minutes before the car arrived, I was contacted by the logistics company and informed that the car would be with me on the Friday morning. It looked really fantastic, when it arrived.”
John drives a 2016 Mercedes-Benz C220d estate car in AMG trim. Having owned a run of new Mercedes models, including E-Class derivatives, he is familiar with well-made, elegant motorcars. Nothing about the Volvo XC90 upset his eye. “The trim materials and cabin décor are of first-rate quality,” he outlined. “The controls and dashboard layout are logical and everything operates with a high-class precision.”
Taking full advantage of the Volvo loan, he collected three friends and drove to Perthshire for the weekend to visit more friends. “Everybody was most satisfied with the comfort of the Volvo seats, the quality of the Bowers & Wilkins bespoke sound system and the outstanding view outwards. We had plenty of space, despite the fact that we are all around, or over, six feet in height, and the boot was more than accommodating for our overnight luggage.”
As the XC90 featured Volvo’s smooth-shifting, 8-speed automatic transmission, John and his mates were delighted with the smooth and effortless performance from the 190bhp 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine. “I was surprised that such a large car could return in excess of 40mpg,” he stated. “While I would have returned around 52mpg for the same journey in my Mercedes, it is a lot smaller car. In fact, I had no need to refill the fuel tank and it was uplifted from my home on the Monday, after the weekend prize drive, with almost half a tank of diesel remaining.”
John indulged in the XC90’s long-legged performance and easy cruising ability. The car offers more than enough urge in the mid-range to overtake slower vehicles safely. He felt that its handling was inherently safe and, while he has never contemplated owning a large SUV, the XC90 was exceedingly impressive. In fact, he will take a closer look at the new XC60, when he decides to replace the Mercedes.
John McBride has retired recently from his role as Divisional Commander, British Transport Police, in charge of the railways of Scotland. He had served 30 years with BTP and has two teenage sons. John does not describe himself as a technically knowledgeable driver but he does know what he likes and he is grateful for the Volvo experience, which he described as ‘eye-opening’.