Road Trip to Joshua Tree in the Volvo XC60

California was one big road trip for me starting in Los Angeles to Palm Springs for Coachella with stops in Pioneer Town and Joshua Tree, two must-dos if you’re in the Palm Springs area before taking a tour of Orange County. I’m not a light packer when it comes to music festivals and being on the road for three weeks didn’t help… that, coupled with James’ stuff, a compact car was unrealistic.

Fortunately we partnered with Volvo to try out the 2017 Volvo XC60, which we basically lived out of. We had the T6 AWD Inscription trim – it drove like a dream, so much that at one point I looked down at the speedometer and found myself pushing 90, when I felt like I was going maybe 60. It’s incredible how quiet it is, smooth and solid feeling no matter what speed you’re going.

It was one of the most comfortable rides through Joshua Tree and the timing could not have been better. With all the rain they’ve been experiencing there were wild flowers blooming that hadn’t budded in decades. With so many colors, it was beautiful! We stopped to climb the rocks, walk some trails, stroll through the cactus garden, and even met a snake along the way. Enjoy the drive with us in the video above, More on the car and photo gallery below!


Back to the car, the build quality is great and after driving for a while, you start to notice a lot of well thought out design details, things that feel truly useful, polished and refined. It is quite refreshing as the way most modern cars look drives me insane, with weird curves, grills, scoops and holes everywhere which serve no purpose other than to add complexity.

Our model was packed with features and add ons like child booster chairs, heated everything (I’m talking steering wheel to windshield), adaptive cruise control, GPS parking reminders on my iphone, it’s really a smart car without trying to be too smart and most of all practical.

It’s the small things in life, which this car has in abundance. I mean, there is a button that can flip the back headrests down so you have better visibility in the back. My boyfriend always takes his off by hand and puts them back on when we have people in the back of his Jeep. I felt so spoiled in this machine. Like I said… small things!

Volvo is known as a safety focused brand and much of this design is invisible until needed at which point, you really appreciate it. Blind spot and lane departure warnings, collision and velocity sensors and a ‘City Safety’ mode which has resulted in 22% fewer collision claims (according to Wikipedia) in the SC60 compared to other SUV’s. And of course, airbags all around.

One of my favorite details is the fact that the instrument cluster tries to downplay how much information is shown to the driver. Have you ever noticed how many lights are competing for your attention when you are driving at night? You can choose to only be shown your current speed, instead of seeing the entire range of numbers in the speedometer. Because, how often do you need to see 100mph?

Back to build quality, the interior is gorgeous. In a world of uninspired, cheap plastic interiors, this one really shines. Continuous and fluid metal trim surrounds warm wood inlays on the doors and in the driver-centric infotainment console. Super comfortable seats that you could sit in for hours of road tripping.

Our model, the Inscription T6 AWD has a super and turbocharged I4 that gave it good acceleration when needed. The AWD keeps the tires where you want them and I really did get hooked on the design and use of the adaptive cruise control which lets you ‘lock’ onto a car in front of you and match its speed while you set the following distance. This keeps you from getting cramps in your gas pedal foot! The only feedback I’d give is more USB ports, but otherwise I would use the 12 volt to converter which is an easy solve for more ports.

Learn more about the car and added features at