LET’S start by saying Volvo has some form when it comes to estate cars.

It has been making them for more than 60 years and has built an enviable reputation for meeting the demands of drivers with particular lifestyle or business needs.

Now it has in its stable two of the very best estates money can buy: the large V90 and its smaller sibling, the V60.

The V60, like its big brother, is both spacious and comfortable, a product of cool Scandinavian design and a joy to drive.

That’s partly because it is built on the company’s advanced modular product platform that underpins all Volvos in the 90 and 60 Series.

But which version to choose? The V60 is powered by Volvo’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains. Apart from petrol and diesel variants, the V60 is also available with two plug-in hybrid options: the T6 Twin Engine AWD petrol plug-in hybrid that generates a combined 340hp or the T8 Twin Engine AWD petrol plug-in that delivers 390hp.

There are two diesels, four petrols and the two petrol-electric hybrids to pick from.

But here I am going to extol the virtues of what is probably the best all-rounder in a comprehensive line-up.

The V60 B6 AWD R-Design delivers just about everything you could wish for in a compact estate car. Not only does the all-wheel drive give you that extra grip when the going gets tough or challenging, but the sporty overtones that are a feature of R-Design versions put the driver in a different frame of mind.

This might be primarily a load-lugger - the load compartment offers class-leading capacity - but why not a most enjoyable and exciting car to drive as well?

Adopting a slightly more aggressive stance thanks to its 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and lowered sports suspension, the R-Design positively begs to be driven with gusto.

But even in this guise there is still a focus on comfort for both driver and passenger. It is spacious both upfront and in the rear seats, with refinement and safety at the forefront.

The B6 four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine produces a whopping 300hp and will shoot from 0 to 62mph in only six seconds.

Like the S60 sedan, the V60 carries the proud and confident face of Volvo’s new design language, along with classic Volvo styling cues. Such as the iconic Thor’s Hammer LED headlight design.

Inside, Volvo has taken cues from the clean, Scandinavian interior design first introduced in the 90 Series cars, raising the bar in the segment with natural materials and new details on the dashboard and instrument panel.

Every V60 comes with a nine-inch centre console touchscreen with voice-activated control, Volvo On Call to control various car functions remotely, navigation, pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, and front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking and steering assistance, oncoming lane mitigation that automatically provides steering assistance if you drift out of your lane, guiding you back into your lane and out of the path of any oncoming vehicles, LED headlights with active high beam, two-zone climate control, a power-operated tailgate, rear parking sensors, hill-start assist and a 12.3-inch driver’s information display.

The R-Design adds some lovely touches including leather upholstery, sports seats, theatre lighting and puddle lights, keyless entry and start, active bending headlights and dual integrated exhaust pipes with a high gloss black surround. But you may still find yourself forking out for some expensive options.

These are the strongest Volvo cars to date because of extensive use of boron steel, as well as the numerous safety systems..

If, like me, you are old enough to remember when Volvo estates had a fuddy-duddy image, then it’s time to take a look at what’s on offer now. The V60 is probably the coolest estate on the planet. And it still has loads of room for your passengers and luggage.


Volvo V60 B6 AWD R-Design

Price: from £44,590 (V60 range from £34,410 for B3 FWD Momentum)

Engine: Four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol producing 300hp

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 6.0 seconds; top speed 112mph

Economy: 34.0 to 36.2mpg

CO2 emissions: 186-175g/km


Performance: *****

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: *****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ****