When you drive a modern car you expect to have your say about where the air goes, right?
This Saturday I was reminded of this one tiny little lack that the Volvo S40 has.
It’s tiny, really. I love this car. It’s smooth, it’s quiet, and it’s powerful. All the features are pretty much what you expect from a car in this class.
I run the Parkrun on Saturday mornings. This Saturday it rained. So when I climbed into my car after the 5km run, I was hot. Outside was cooler.
Science happened and the windscreen misted up. The obvious thing to do is change the direction of the air blower to the windscreen.
The logic in most cars is that you draw in the outside air and blow it over the inside of the windscreen. That way the temperature on the surface of the glass is the same on both sides of the windscreen and condensation doesn’t happen. Science.
So I switch my blower to the windscreen position expecting a cool, rain-scented draft. Instead, I got a nipple hardening gust of frozen air.
The Volvo forcibly engages the air conditioner when you switch the air direction to the windscreen. I get that it’s functional. The windscreen cleared up in seconds, but my nose blocked up in about the same amount of time. I had just run 5km. My long sleeved shirt was wet from a combination of sweat and rain, and now I had this freezing gust of air blowing in my face. So there I sat, nipples erect, with my most fun decision of the day. I can either see where I’m going and potentially die of hypothermia, or I can stay warm and crash into things.
In 100% of the cars that I’ve driven, the air conditioner and the air blower work independently. That way you, the driver, are in control of the environment inside the cabin. I guess that in Sweden the air conditioner is likely warmer than the air so it works there.
As I mentioned, this is just one tiny gripe, and it occurs so infrequently that it’s basically negligible. I love this car.