TAKE an accomplished estate car and blend in some dynamic sporty styling cues and you have the perfect recipe for a successful and modern family car that appeals to all ages.
That's just what Volvo has done to its V60 model which is now available in R-Design body style and that means the introduction of some special kit such as an R-Design sports chassis that has been lowered and stiffened for better cornering, smart alloys, a sunroof, tinted windows, twin tailpipes and plenty of R-Design badging.
The interior is striking in its layout too with supportive sports seats, an R-Design steering wheel and sports pedals. There is neat contrast stitching on the armrests, gear stick surround and steering wheel, and once again there is plenty of special badging.
This car was priced at £38,715 although a few optional extras bumped the asking price up to £44,975. These included a Driver Support Pack priced at £1,900 that introduced the likes of collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, distance alert, queue assist, lane departure warning, driver alert, active high beam, road sign information display and blind spot detection with cross traffic alert.
The car also featured Polestar Performance costing an extra £835.
Born on the racing circuits of Sweden and elsewhere around the world, Polestar has been Volvo's racing partner since 1996 and their ingenuity and expertise help drivers get the most from their cars. Building on Volvo's outstanding safety platform Polestar introduces some extra features to help enhance the driving experience to the max. These include improved throttle response, gearshift speed and engine performance.
The V60 featured a 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It could reach from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and maxed out at 140mph. According to official figures, the V60 can deliver combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.
Whilst Volvo estate cars aren't naturally known for being particularly sporty, the R-Design version certainly looks the business and is great fun to throw around.
It feels dynamic as it races through the gears, especially when driven in sport mode which sharpens up the responses.
The road holding is confident and assured meaning it can be pushed hard into long sweeping bends without any fear of body roll or any loss of grip. Yet it is also beautifully refined at the same time and can be driven in a calmer manner when necessary.
Comfort levels are high for all occupants and the on-board technology is plentiful with a floating centre console where the likes of the climate control, sat nav, sound system, car set-up and numerous other functions are controlled.
I particularly liked the simplicity of the car - for example, the air con can be adjusted and redirected at the push of a couple of buttons which is far less distracting than entering some touchscreen menu system and scrolling through dozens of options.
There is a clear infotainment screen and the cabin has a smart, modern and clutter-free appearance. Storage options are good too with cup holders, a lockable glovebox, deep side pockets, a central bin and a handy tray behind the console.
In addition, the boot is generously sized with a 430-litre capacity that is increased to 1,241 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
And, as one would expect from Volvo, the car is packed with safety features galore as standard. The addition of the Safety Pack just upped the ante even further.