Having witnessed that display, I made two bad choices.

Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi
Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi
Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi
Before and after. Click image to enlarge

One: I dodged the rut he was in so as not to be snapped sideways the way he had been. Volvos may be renowned for safety, but I hear my Senior Editor has a solid right hook. I didn’t want to test either.

Two: I decided to slow down.

Everyone reading this right now is screaming the same thing my brain was screaming at me: “Nooooo! Don’t lift off! You’ll just bury the fr…”

Oh, dear. The XC60’s beautiful pearl-white paint was covered in mud and rubbish, the front end plunged deep into a thick bank of clay, and it seemed to be sinking.

Here we were, somewhere in Niagara Region on some poxy dirty road, and I was stuck. Bogged.

I got out of the car. Squelch. Now I was stuck, bogged, and missing one of my good shoes.

“Ah, bugger!” (Edited for family reading.)

I took a step – well, I tried to take a step. Now I was stuck, bogged, missing one of my good shoes and face down in a bed of clay.

“Gurgle.”

Jeff was on the other side of the quagmire, the Q5 parked proudly on the firm part of the road. I saw a bright flash. “Is he taking photos?!” He was.

Comparison tests are always a little difficult. There are often slight changes in circumstance from car to car, and differences of opinion. Jeff was convinced Audi’s decades of AWD engineering experience that went into the Quattro system was the reason he had made it through, the German marque’s in-house AWD prowess coming to the fore right when the chips went down. The system transfers torque from 70:30 to 15:85 front to rear depending on conditions.

Volvo’s own AWD system is also a permanent AWD system. It’s a Haldex unit that splits torque anywhere from 90:10 front to rear under normal conditions up to a maximum rear bias of 50 percent (50:50 split). So Volvo’s system won’t dial in as much rear torque as Audi’s system, but I still don’t think that explains the XC60’s failure.

My suspicion is that the organic component was to blame.

Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD. Click image to enlarge

Frankly, I deserved to lose that shoe.

Luckily, AJAC Testfest was on nearby, and two of the participants were able to come over and tow us out.

On a related note: Never use your back-up camera to monitor the tow car when being extracted from a flooded road. At 10 km/h, it will cut out and you will collide with the tow car, puncturing his bumper bar and damaging the lower-rear fascia of the press car you’re in. (Or so I’ve heard.)

Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi Comparison Test: 2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD vs 2014 Audi Q5 TDI volvo luxury cars car comparisons audi
2014 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD. Click image to enlarge

Styling

Speaking of fascia, the Volvo XC60 is by far the prettier of these two cars in my opinion. I’ve spoken previously about the Q5’s looks in my Audi Q5 TDI First Drive. I think it is handsome but a little conservative.

I find the Volvo XC60, on the other hand, downright inspiring. There is no point in feigning objectivity here. When it comes to interior and exterior styling, I’m a Volvo fan-boy. The XC60 has dynamic lines and an intriguing profile. Those exaggerated shoulders, common across the Volvo range, are excellent.

Inside, the Q5 is well-packaged and efficient. Audi’s MMI is among the best sorted there are with an easy-to-use rotary control, plus touchscreen and hard buttons to manage a wide host of intuitive settings. The Volvo has a floating console with a neat bank of hard buttons nestled around a nine-digit number pad and the same three-button man I named George in my Volvo S60 T6 AWD Test Drive.

This one was clad in the brushed aluminum inlay with its wonderful ridged finish. It’s a beautiful space. Volvo’s touchscreen display has a more modern feel than Audi’s MMI screens, which are due for a visual refresh.




About Jacob Black

Jacob used to write about motorsport for SPEED TV in Australia but met a girl. Now he writes about road cars in Canada and is married to the girl. He lives a very, very good life. Jacob Black is not a werewolf.