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Sexy C60

VOLVO'S latest SUV really has the X-factor and gets my vote.

Top secret document has made its way to me from one of our many moles in the Irish Motor Writers' Association.

The IMWA are the band of brothers who vote each year for the Irish Car Of The Year and they are getting very serious about their role following heat from some quarters about how they operate their secret society.

In these pages recently we highlighted that the group are trenchant in their determination not to reveal how individual members vote for the annual best car awards.

The problem is this, that certain members are loyal to brands which advertise in their publications, most of them small niche publications and websites that depend on loyalists for their survival.

Now a new document, entitled Consideration of Membership Issues within the IMWA, is set to offer a more objective and unbiased system ... or does it?


Well, it seems our grandiose group of nobleman - some of whom are my friends - have drawn up 50 steps on how to be a good little IMWA member.

There is a truly admirable and pretty hilarious acceptance that they "should drive within the same rules and regulations" as "the general body of motorists".

The members are also warned about "comment outside of the association on the matters outlined herein, or from allowing this document into the public domain".

"This is an exercise in getting our houses in order, not in washing linen in public" ... . oops.

Anyway, the general thrust of things at the IMWA is that the 27 members – some of whom I've known for years – must get its house in order as the annual vote fest comes around.

What it doesn't stipulate, though, is that the entire process must be more transparent and that the members must declare their interests, which is why the IMWA comes in for so much flak in the first place.

Another rather curious way that the IMWA protect their cabal is that anyone who carries reviews on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or Google in general cannot become a member.

In other words your reviews may be seen by 100,000 people online, (see Herald.ie and Independent.ie for the finest examples) but it ain't good enough for the IMWA an organisation which has members who write for niche publications with merely hundreds, yes I said hundreds, of readers.

A car that would and should be in the general shake- up at the Car Of The Year Awards is the Volvo XC60.

The XC60 is the sleekest SUV on the road, an absolute model in aggressive beauty.

It comes in four types, ES, SE, SE Lux and sizzling R Design. True to form and in staying with Volvo's core value, this gargantuan bus is built around safety.

With more airbags than you could shake a stick at, there is Roll Over Protection System, Whiplash Protection, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control with CTC Corner Traction Control. It's available in All-Wheel Drive, so she's as safe off road too.

The safety features are great, but the real magic for me is the look of this car, which comes with exterior chrome trim all over the outside, rear spoiler, twin aluminium tail pipes and 17" Segin alloy wheels, in silver stone.

The interior is pretty impressive too, with sleek urbane wood inlays sporting a walnut finish, a beautiful three-spoke chunky leather steering wheel and a beautiful soft leather head-rest.

And the best news of all, is that the XC60 starts at €39,495.