VOLVO'S fortunes continue to soar in the UK after another hugely successful year in which it bucked the general downward trend in the new car market.
The Swedish brand is celebrating its best sales performance in 29 years, with more than 56,000 vehicles leaving its showrooms bound for our driveways in 2019 - up 12 per cent on 2018.
Back in 1990 sales were dominated by saloons and estates but three decades later, as you'd expect, it's the SUVs which are by far the most popular models.
The compact XC40 led the way in the sales charts but not far behind was the mid-sized XC60 - which has underpinned Volvo's success since its launch in 2008 and continues to be its best-selling model globally.
Now in its second generation, it's a strong rival to the usual German suspects that dominate the premium SUV class, offering comfort, refinement and a plush interior with good family space and practicality.
Distinctive Scandinavian styling features clean, sharp lines and all the usual Volvo design cues such as the ‘Thor's Hammer' headlights, bold grille with the Volvo Iron Mark, and rear light clusters which extend high into the D pillar.
An elevated ride height, muscular bumpers and roof rails add the SUV touches that are all the rage currently but gaudy plastic cladding is scarce and the XC60 is more akin looks-wise to a jacked-up estate than a tough off-roader.
There's plenty of choice to suit all needs and tastes, with two and four-wheel traction; petrol, diesel and hybrid engines; and three well-equipped trim levels on offer with prices from Â£37,785 - although there is no manual gearbox available.
Our sportily styled R-Design car had a 190ps, 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine under its bonnet, mated to the slick eight-speed automatic transmission that's used across the range, and serves up smooth progress and a responsive drive, both in town and on the open road.
Available with front-wheel drive only, this power plant offers decent economy, up to 47.9mpg on average, for less money than hybrid models and is the wise choice unless you really need 4x4 capability.
With a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 127mph there is plenty of pace at the driver's disposal which, coupled with the comfortable and spacious cabin, make this a great motor for long distance cruising.
Although a substantial hunk of metal, the XC60 is not so big that navigating urban traffic is unduly problematic and it handles pretty well for its size, with light but accurate steering, and remains composed over all but the worst potholes.
A drive mode selector features a dynamic setting for those who want to sharpen things up a little, and there's also an eco mode, but for most folk sticking to the default comfort setting will ensure perfectly pleasant, relaxed everyday driving.
You'll need to take a little care in car parks due to the XC60's imposing proportions but all versions get front and rear parking sensors, while a rear-view camera (Â£375) or 360-degree around view camera (Â£700) are available and well worth specifying.
With size, of course, comes plenty of room on the inside and five adults will easily fit, while four will really be able to stretch out and relax thanks to the generous knee and head room in the rear.
Storage cubbies in the cabin are plentiful and while, at 483 litres, the boot isn't the biggest in class it's difficult to imagine many family needs it wouldn't meet. All versions get a powered tailgate and there's no lip to lift items over, while capacity rises to 1,410 litres with the rear seats lowered.
All versions get a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 12.3-inch digital driver display, navigation, dual-zone climate control, leather-faced upholstery, heated front seats and automatic emergency braking, with R-Design trim adding sports seats and a sports suspension.