THE newest Volvo estate has enough tech onboard to impress the most ardent fan of the future.
In a single swoop, the V60 T6 Recharge combines turbocharging, supercharging and electrification, which helps make it super efficient despite having as much power as many sports cars.
With a sub £50,000 price tag, it offers an unusual blend of spirited performance, good economy and the sort of practicality most families demand.
Under the bonnet is 2.0-litre, four cylinder petrol engine with both turbocharger and supercharger. This is married to an 87bhp electric motor on the rear axle.
The result is rapid acceleration - 0 to 62mph takes less than six seconds - although maximum speed is restricted to 112mph, a safety factor common to all the latest Volvos.
The pure electric range is between 34-37 miles, and it takes six hours to recharge from a normal domestic socket.
All this and four wheel drive, too, which both ensures the power reaches the road without wheel spin and adds to general safety and adhesion in slippery conditions.
It's an easy and a satisfying car to drive with huge reserves of power mid-range and a near silent engine. Wind noise is equally muted with only the rumble from the low profile tyres to disturb the peace over some surfaces.
For many, the icing on the cake will be the low emissions which significantly aid company car owners, and also the frugal economy which if handled carefully can match the economy of a much smaller car. Our average of 39mpg is likely to matched or bettered by many owners.
From the outside, the T6 Recharge, plug-in hybrid, looks much like any other V60, ie an attractive estate car with smoothly contoured lines, a squat stance and yet it still possesses a distinctive Volvo look.
The cabin is Scandi-slick with a huge touchscreen that operates like an iPad, slim seats that hold driver and passenger in place perfectly and sufficient legroom for four to travel in comfort. Leather seating and electric seats in the R-Design version we drove, add to the general premium impression.
Cargo room measure up well to the established competition with a carrying capacity of 529litres, although height is fairly limited due to the rather rakish wedge shape of the body. The rear seat splits 40-20-40 making it still more versatile and allowing capacity to be boosted to more than 1,400litres.
If there's an area where the Volvo fails to fulfil its family credentials it's cabin storage. Slim door pockets, a small centrally placed locker and a glove box won't pass muster on weekend trip to the seaside or on a family picnic.
Another pitfall I came across was the keyless ignition system which got me good and stranded 10 miles from home. The ‘brunette' started the V60 in the drive (to warm the car seats!), then inadvertently left the car keys inside our house. I stopped at a shop, cut the engine but found it impossible to restart - because the keys were some 10 miles away.
No flashing warning prior to this on the dash, no buzzer , no nothing. The result? A taxi ride back home to collect the keys and return in my own car. Yes, we are still together! Ah well.