The received wisdom is that Volvos are boring and so are estate cars. On paper, then, the V60 shouldn't stand a chance. It should, by all rights, be the most yawn-inducing hell box on the planet.
Those who drive one, however, will discover it's actually rather entertaining. It's one of a new breed of so-called 'naughty Volvos', and, as such, it promises accurate, fun handling and a rapid turn of pace, all wrapped up in a safe-as-houses package that starts from £23,670.
Right angles be gone
The V60 eschews the 'boxy but good' aesthetic that Volvo is famed for, in favour of a surprisingly curvaceous design that's devoid of right angles. It's clearly an estate, despite Volvo insisting it's a 'sports wagon', but there's no doubt it's a relatively attractive vehicle.
Climb inside the V60 and you'll find a warm, welcoming cabin with comfortable seats on which to plant your exhausted bottom. Like the exterior, there's nothing spectacular about its design, but the total package is a pleasing one, particularly for techies. It's littered with buttons, flashing lights that warn you of impending danger, and even an infrared remote control that lets you adjust the stereo and sat-nav. There's certainly plenty going on, and most of it's pleasant.
Our test model, the sporty V60 R-Design, comes with an aluminium trim on the wing mirrors, aluminium pedals, special floor mats, a leather steering wheel, a pollen filter and 18-inch Ixion aluminium alloy wheels.
What it doesn't come with is a great deal of space. There's plenty of room in the back for rear passengers, but the 557-litre capacity of the luggage compartment isn't anywhere near as impressive as the space you'll find in some of the V60's rivals. In fact, it doesn't offer much more room than the 400 or so litres of luggage space provided in the car is capacious for its class, admittedly.super-mini, although that
Driving the V60 fills you with a feeling of confidence. It might be an old Volvo cliché, but it feels so remarkably well put together that you'll doubt anything -- slippery roads, a crash, global warming -- could possibly harm you. It really is like climbing into an unusually comfortable tank.
You'll never forget that dangers exist, though, because the V60 constantly reminds you of things that could go wrong. It has a host of safety systems that bleep and flash to get your attention, plus a few that will actually take control of the vehicle if you fail to heed the warnings.
Volvo's Blind Spot Information System provides a constant reminder, thanks to a rear-facing sensor and lights embedded in the wing mirror, that cars, bicycles or motorbikes might be lurking in areas not visible in your mirrors.