VOLVO has had a reputation for desirable large estate cars for some years now - but with the newly launched V90 it has just stepped up a gear.
The V90 is beautifully stylish, oozes quality and has a ride experience second to none.
Like its saloon car sibling the S90 - the replacement for Volvo's S80 saloon - the all-new big estate is a credible alternative for those buyers who don't want to opt for one of the premier German brands.
Best of all it's an estate car with a sporting feel to it which sets it apart from much of the competition.
Despite being able to accommodate up to 1,526 litres of cargo this estate is low and sleek with a rakish roofline which makes it stand out.
And while the load capacity may be down on previous Volvo estates the trade off in favour aesthetics has been worth it.
There are three spec levels available but even this entry level Momentum model was generously equipped, with full leather upholstery, heated front seats, satellite navigation, an iPad-style touch screen and power tailgate.
And being a Volvo it's packed with a host of safety systems and smart technology.
The newest feature is large animal detection which uses a radar scanning system to detect everything from deer to cyclists on the road ahead and automatically applies the brakes if the driver doesn't.
Then there is pilot assist - to help keep the car within the lane markings - and run-off road protection which automatically tensions the seatbelts if it detects the car has unintentionally left the road.
And if you think there is an element of the car taking over you could be right. For this one even detects when it is due for a service and contacts the dealership to book itself in.
On the road the V90 feels solid and well planted at all times and is brilliantly fluid through twists and turns on country roads with confidence-instilling road holding.
Even though - in accordance with Volvo's current small engine thinking - there is only a 2.0-litre, four cylinder engine under the bonnet it's as quiet and silky smooth as a big V6 thanks in part to the ratios of the seamless eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The V90 is no slouch away from the traffic lights but where it really scores is in its mid to high range performance with impressive bursts of speed from even the lightest touch on the accelerator.
Despite its size - and it is a long car - it's highly manoeuvrable and easy to park thanks to the dual safety approach of a reversing camera and parking sensors.
The cabin is ultra modern, with brushed aluminium panels contrasting nicely with the dark saddle stitched leather on the dashboard and doors and I loved the quality look of the intricate small knurled switches.
Like all Volvo estates over the years there is generous space for five people with rear seat passengers getting limousine-like leg room.