FOR many years Volvo cars had a reputation for being reliable, dependable, practical and safe but perhaps just a little bit dull.
There was a also a period when the Swedish car maker seemed to be struggling to keep pace with rivals in the premium segment where it had always considered itself to be a contender.
But Volvo has had an incredible rebirth, or more pertinently a full-blown renaissance in recent years.
That has come under the stewardship of Chinese company Geely, an increasingly influential player in the global automotive industry.
Geely saw good things happening at Volvo and sensibly decided to invest and let the people there get on with things.
Consequently Volvo has reinvented itself and in many ways now is at the front of the pack setting the pace.
This is perhaps most notable through its trio of SUVs - the XC40, XC60 and XC90 - but its saloons, hatchbacks and estates should not be forgotten.
Not too long ago it seemed like estate cars were a threatened species - the rise of the SUV and crossover threatening to wipe them out entirely.
However, I would perhaps stick my neck out and say that estate cars are here to stay and will still be around when the crossover craze has peaked and maybe even faded.
There's always something reassuring about a Volvo estate - they symbolise those great brand characteristics.
They had a simple style too and those memorable Volvo load-luggers of the sixties and seventies have attained modern classic status.
Style is one of the strengths of the current V60, a very handsome looking estate that delivers sleek looks without compromising practicality whatsoever.
In fact it's even bigger than its predecessor making it more practical than ever.
It might be competing in the compact executive estate class, with the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, but this has much of the feel of a far larger car.
It has 529 litres of boot space, which increases to 1,441 litres when the rear seats are folded.
The cabin also has a roomy feel and rear seat passengers are generously catered for in terms of both head and leg room.
The only limitation is that the transmission tunnel does get a little in the way of whoever might be sitting in the middle.
With just two in the rear though the V60 has a distinct executive feel when it comes to relaxing and spreading out.
There was a point when Volvo dared to be different with its in-car ergonomics but didn't quite pull it off.
I'm thinking back to when it had the very avant garde floating centre stack.
These days it is also thinking outside the box but the defining characteristic is the tablet-style touchscreen.
This is a standard V60 feature, as is the inbuilt sat-nav which is controlled from it.
The nine-inch touchscreen controls most of the car's functions and is also super intuitive and easy to use.
It's surrounded by classy and good quality switchgear, which again seems well thought out.
Another nice feature is the digital instrument panel which can be customised too.
The overall effect is of an interior that is now very much on a par with what you'll find in Volvo's German rivals.
As well as being bigger than its predecessor the latest V60 also sits considerably lower.
I'd been driving a succession of SUVs previously and the first thing I noticed about the V60 was how close I was to the ground, a sensation increased by Volvo's cockpit-style envelopment of the driver and front seat passenger.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the V70 though was its dynamic quality.
Again, for a time this was an area where Volvos generally was lacking but this car was really on the money, delivering an enjoyable and spirited drive and feeling nicely flat and composed through the bends.
This was the D4 model, with the higher-powered version of Volvo's 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine under the bonnet.
It's a super smooth unit delivering 187bhp, that's also available with 148bhp in D3 form.
If you would prefer petrol power there's a 247bhp T5 model.
Needless to say safety is a high priority too and the V60 comes with an array of anti-crash devices, autonomous driving aids like the excellent Pilot Assist and enough airbags to arguably help the car take off.
One of the good things about the V60 is that equipment levels are generous across the range, and this is where it manages to steal a march on its rivals.