THERE are a few phrases used by motor makers that are guaranteed to wind me up.
One is describing a latest model as ‘all new'...so, what is wrong with plain ‘new', after all it's either new or not new.
Another is calling a design ‘uncompromising'. The best cars are always ones that have arrived at good compromise - meeting an agreeable balance between performance, economy, and comfort is a major achievement.
And making a family car handle well without destroying its ride comfort is an engineering challenge. Throw in the appeal of attractive styling and the equation becomes still more complex.
Which brings me neatly to the Volvo XC60 - possibly the best SUV all-rounder that money can buy. Yes, a quite a claim, but it happens to be one of the few crossovers that manage to do all things well or extremely well, and none badly.
The version I borrowed was currently the most popular in the range - the XC60 D4 which is powered by a 2.0 turbo diesel engine knocking out a healthy, yet frugal, 188bhp.
Paired with four wheel drive and an eight-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox, it has the right credentials for an all-terrain family wagon that can double-up equally as well as a business express.
Visually, it follows the grand XC90's styling template, but its more compact dimensions lend it better proportions without sacrificing too much in the way of cabin and luggage space.
In fact with 625 litres of cargo room when the five seats are in place it is one of the roomiest vehicles of its type. Fold the second row flat and space expands to 1432 litres.
But more outstanding than the practicalities, is the fluency with which the XC60 drives. Suspension, chassis and engine harmonise well to produce rapid but effortless progressive. Rarely does a bump or rut in the road throw it off kilter yet the suspension is firm enough to restrict roll angles to a minimum.
The 2.0-litre diesel has ample mid-range torque for quick, safe overtaking and the steering is crisper than many sporty saloons. There's a faster version - the D5 PowerPulse with 232bhp - but most folk will be content enough with the D4's 127mph maximum and acceleration to 62mph in less than nine seconds.
Steering paddles for the automatic gearbox help add to the driver fun aspect of this SUV.
With relatively low emissions of below 150g/km, fuel consumption is moderate. My average hovered around 39-40mpg while official combined figure was 52.3mpg.
In R-Design spec sporty body trim gives the shape a more robust look, tinted windows and chunky alloys and has proved the most popular choice with UK buyers.
The cabin is among the most inviting in its sector with large comfy seats, a beautifully crafted fascia with wood or metal inserts, soft leather and a large nine-inch touchscreen that operates like an iPad. Mind you, the vast array of menus to be gone through take some getting used to.
Standard kit even on the basic Momentum version is far from stingy with dual zone climate control, LED headlights and powered tailgate all thrown in. The R-Design also gets special sports seats, digital instrument display and beefy alloys.