WE seem to take the technology of satellite navigation systems in cars for granted these days, but the one fitted to this Volvo XC60 saved me hours of stop/start traffic jams.
The situation arose following a particularly nasty accident on the M4 in South Wales which led to the motorway being completely closed to eastbound traffic.
Unfortunately, I was caught up in the miles of tailbacks as thousands of vehicles were diverted up a slip road and on to an alternative route.
I noticed the sat nav system on my car had added an extra 23 miles to account for the diversion, so I sat patiently in the queues moving literally inches at a time.
I had been there for almost three hours when I noticed the distance to my final destination had dropped to its original figure once again. This could only mean one of two things - the sat nav was not functioning properly or the motorway had reopened despite what the overhead gantry signs were saying.
Being as I was driving the all-new second generation XC60 with state-of-the-art on-board technology which the Swedish company takes great pride in, I banked on the latter option.
So, I ventured into the outside lane which was completely free of traffic and began slowly moving freely past the queueing traffic.
I did spot a couple of gestures from stationary drivers and was grateful my lip-reading skills were far from perfect. I also realised that if I had made a glaring error of judgement there was very little hope of being let back into one of the filter lanes.
Thankfully though, the sat nav system was spot on and I had travelled less than half a mile when the overhead signs finally caught up.
Unfortunately, for the hundreds of cars being filtered away from the motorway the update came too late and they faced hours of further delays on a diverted route through small towns and villages with roads that were never designed for such volumes of traffic.
So, that is how the Volvo sat nav system came to my rescue. And the rest of the XC60 was pretty impressive too.
Priced at £43,205 (£50,560 with options), the XC60 D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design model looks fabulous from any approach thanks to its dynamic styling with sleek dynamic lines, 18-inch alloys, LED headlights with daytime running lights and active high beam, a power-operated tailgate and R-Design badging on the door plates, seat backs and steering wheel.
On-board technology includes a nine-inch centre console touchscreen that resembles an iPad, a virtual display dashboard, heated front seats, two-zone climate control, electrically-adjustable seats, a power tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, smartphone connectivity via AppleCarPlay or Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot and that all-important Sensus Navigation system.
Powered by a 2.0-litre 235hp diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the car could sprint from 0-62mph in a very rapid 7.2 seconds and topped out at 137mph.
According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 51.4mpg with carbon emissions of 144g/km.
The interior is exceptionally premium and upmarket in its design and layout with plenty of quality soft-touch materials. There is ample room for five adults to stretch out and storage options are thorough too with a boot capacity ranging from 505 to 1,432 litres.
And when traffic conditions permit, the XC60 is a pure delight to drive. Acceleration through the automatic gearbox is smooth and responsive and there is ample power on tap at all times.
It eats up the motorway miles with ease and then when tackling sweeping country lanes the road-holding is ultra-grippy with precise steering, and the efficient suspension system irons out the bumps and dips along the way.
The cabin remains nicely hushed against any engine, road surface or wind noise and the XC60 delivers a refined, composed and all-round well balanced driving performance.
And being a Volvo - a company renowned for safety excellence - it is packed with innovative driver aid systems to help prevent accidents from happening or protect occupants and pedestrians alike should one occur.
Safety features on the test car included blind spot warning, cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, rear collision mitigation, city safety with steer assist which includes pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, oncoming lane mitigation, run-off road protection and pilot assist which can automatically steer the car up to speeds of 80mph accelerating and braking with the flow of traffic.