FEW car makers can match Volvo's heritage in producing versatile and reliable estate cars.
Throughout the late 20th century the Swedish brand was synonymous with the practical, well-made family wagon.
A succession of models adopted a trademark boxy design, which became instantly recognisable worldwide, and earned a huge following thanks to their prodigious load-carrying capabilities and that fact that, by the standards of the day, they were incredibly safe.
These days Volvo has shed that utilitarian image and sees itself in much more premium company but estate cars still have a key place in the range - adding style and luxury to the undoubted merits of their forebears.
The mid-sized V60 is the more compact and affordable of the two current options, sitting below the impressive V90, and is available in Momentum, Inscription and more dynamically styled R Design trims - all available with Pro upgrades boasting extra equipment.
Power comes from a choice of three 2.0-litre engines - D3 and D4 diesels and a T5 petrol - with two petrol-electric plug-in hybrids and a second petrol unit due to join the range this year.
The diesels, available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, certainly don't lack power and will appeal to the business buyers that traditionally make up a large chunk of the estate market.
The T5 petrol we tried though, mated to the automatic gearbox as standard, gives the V60 a sharper, more responsive edge.
Kicking out 250ps it'll shift this family estate from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds and, if you find yourself on a German autobahn, on to a top speed of 145mph.
Such performance obviously means economy suffers in comparison to the diesels but, in the current climate, this must be weighed against the lower prices of petrol at the pumps and heavier taxation attracted by oil burners.
Undeniably at home on the motorway, where it eats up the miles in a relaxed and refined manner, the V60 is also surprisingly nimble and agile for its size and, although to say exciting would be going a bit far, it is certainly an enjoyable drive.
There's plenty of grip and the body control is good enough to push on confidently through bends while at the same time the suspension does a good job of dealing with the vagaries of UK roads.
Space, of course, is one of the key reasons for buying an estate and the V60 doesn't disappoint in this department. There is good head and leg room all round and three adults will be comfortable in the back on shorter journeys - albeit the one in the middle will have to straddle an intrusive transmission tunnel.
The boot, at 529 litres, is one of the largest in class and, with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down, capacity rises to 1,441 litres which is easily accessed thanks to a wide tailgate opening and low load lip.
The cabin is well finished and comfortable and for the most part has the premium look and feel that Volvo aspires to, although there are more scratchy plastic surfaces than you'd find in Audi or Mercedes alternatives.
Every V60 is well equipped with even entry-level Momentum versions getting LED headlights, a powered tailgate, dual-zone climate control as well as Volvo's innovative portrait-style Sensus touch screen infotainment system.
This incorporates voice-activated technology to access the car's infotainment, convenience and safety functions and includes navigation, mobile phone connectivity, apps and internet access.
Stepping up to the Pro variant offers all you really need, adding leather-faced upholstery, a head-up display in the windscreen, active LED headlights, handsfree opening for the tailgate, and heated front seats and steering wheel.
Being a Volvo, safety also features highly and all V60s benefit from automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection - perhaps more relevant in Sweden - as well as an innovative steering support system to help you steer around an object in an emergency.