1. Think snow. Forget about summer saunas and swimming in crystal clear lakes in early spring. The only time to put a car through a true test is when Stockholm and its surrounding area is covered in snow. For just that reason we found ourselves at Arlanda airport when it was covered in the white stuff and looking for our sleek silvery Volvo V90 estate car.
2. Imagine you're all about ABBA. Can four of you, two with impossibly long legs and flowing blonde locks, fit into this rather sleek-looking vehicle? Of course you can, and with plenty of room to spare. The interior of the Volvo V90 is seriously spacious. So much head and leg room, front and back.
3. Pack as much as you like. It's true that we were only going to Sweden for a long weekend, but I have never been one to travel light. Much like that other Swedish icon, Ikea, the Volvo V90 offers all sorts of storage solutions. The boot of this beauty has plenty of room for all my bags boots, knits, parkas and looks for every eventuality.
4. Think Carpool Karaoke. Although it's difficult to contemplate listening to anything but the alternative fab four while driving around Sweden, I still have a strange love of the Cardigans. Can I find them on the infotainment system? Yes, I can find everything I need here on the tablet-sized touchscreen on the dashboard. A whole world of fun at my fingertips.
5. So, time to turn on the engine. Dispense with fur-lined leather driving gloves – the heating system in the seats should help you find your required temperature – and press start. This car is smooth. As the 2.0 litre diesel engine kicks in, it's so quiet you're barely aware that your journey is about to begin.
6. This Is Sweden after all. As you hit the road make sure you don’t make the mistake of trying to acknowledge everyone else driving a Volvo. I’m not sure if it’s even legal to drive another brand of car in the country! Every other driver seems to be behind the wheel of one and everyone seems very, very happy with the choice of vehicle they've made.
7. And relax... The V90 is a big - be it slimline - beast, and as we set off for the archipelago (about 50 kilometres from the airport) the driving experience was pure pleasure. With the sat nav programmed and the automatic gearbox flawless you just sit back and go with the flow. So smooth, so speedy, so powerful. So Borg.
8. Look both ways. The Stockholm archipelago is one of the most spectacular areas of the world you will ever see. Totally unspoilt, 30,000 tiny islands, it's rugged, rocky and, during the winter months, appears to be completely free of people. It's not the sort of place you would like to break down or crash. But if you’re in a Volvo, none of these things will happen. These cars don’t seem to breakdown – ever – and a series of on-board sensors means that it is almost impossible to crash them.
9. When you're out on the town. Having a car this roomy could present problems when it comes to navigating Stockholm’s narrow streets. I am the world's worst parker and driving into a town I don't know always fills me with dread. Thankfully, the parking navigation system guides you into the smallest of gaps and Swedish people, who are undeniably proud of their national car, so seem more than happy to stand and watch, smilingly, as you go about your business.
10. It has to be done. Driving a Volvo is Sweden immediately connects you to the nation that produces them. It is serene and more than a little sexy.
To find out more about Volvo cars go to volvocars.com.