To arrive in this world with a staggering level of responsibility and importance already placed on your being is something usually reserved for newborn royalty.
The local launch of the 2016 Volvo XC90 should, then, be treated as the arrival of a new king, as the completely revised seven-seat family SUV is without a doubt the most important model in the Swedish brand’s 88-year history.
Important because it is the first new car to be wholly developed with the partnership of Chinese owner Geely since its buyout of Volvo in 2010. Important because the new Scalable Product Architecture that underpins the XC90 will drive all future model development across the range, not forgetting that Volvo needs to realise the $11 billion investment made in developing this car. And important because the previous-generation XC90 was the biggest-selling model for the brand in many key markets, so this one has big shoes to fill.
Whichever way you cut it, this is a lot of responsibility placed onto one car.
However, in our mind the most important role of the new XC90 is that of ambassador for a brand who has helped build so many memories. Memories crafted with cars baring the responsibility of carrying generations of families safely and securely.
Growing up, a Volvo was regularly the ‘Ward Family’ car. There is a photo of me standing next to a brown 245 on the shores of Loch Ness, looking for monsters in the early 80s. There was an orange 240 estate at one point and a blue 264 at another.
A generation later, and now I have a photo of my own daughter ‘driving’ our 2009 Volvo XC90 when she was barely a year old.
And so the new XC90, a car developed for the next generation of Volvo families, loaded with the responsibility of carrying not only its precious cargo, but the style- and technology-focussed growth of the brand, has arrived.