Generally, auto enthusiasts like Europe just fine. We love Germany's autobahn, go crazy over the generally unpatrolled back roads of Spain, dream of mountain passes through the Alps, and lust over those cars we can't get on this side of the Atlantic. However, beyond some Fiats, it seems the next big thing we're likely to get from Europe is the S-word; socialism. How do we know? We've just driven the 2010 Volvo XC60, the Swedes' all-new crossover.
This experience got us thinking and we decided that it would be entertaining to link other political movements with vehicles, just to see how the metaphor carries through.
Starting with the Volvo, your author realized he was driving a socialist vehicle as soon as the crossover's standard City Safety was demonstrated. The feature takes control in low-speed city-driving environs and automatically slows the vehicle when a phalanx of sensors detects an imminent front-end collision. Whether the driver reacts or not, at 19 mph or below, City Safety slams on the brakes to reduce the severity of a collision. From 2-9 mph, the XC60 will likely come to a complete stop before impact. From 10-19 mph, City Safety scrubs off enough speed to significantly lessen the crash's severity.
Hip-Hip-Hooray! Or not.
Is a celebration warranted? Volvo admits that City Safety is designed expressly for drivers who simply aren't paying attention. Does this bother anybody? Just as political socialism enables (and some say tacitly encourages) personal irresponsibility, vehicular socialism prevents Darwinism from removing bad driving genes from the motor pool (or at least having their insurance premiums jacked up). Fortunately, City Safety can be turned off.
If the XC60, a handsome and competent vehicle, stands as the poster child for vehicular socialism, what cars represent other political flavors? Consider these...