VOLVO has long lost the image of being a manufacturer that produces extremely safe but unfortunately box-shaped cars.
Estate models were a prime example of this but that is all in the past with much more stylish offerings coming from Sweden.
One example is a middle-sized estate I sampled – the V60 1.6 D2 R-Design DRIVe Premium, to give the model its full name.
This looks every bit as nice as the S60 saloon model so you don’t miss out on style when you opt for an estate.
The V60’s looks were enhanced by the R-Design treatment which includes re-designed front and rear with twin tailpipes as well as 18-inch graphite/diamond cut wheels.
But while it might look sporty this estate was far from that when it came to performance.
That’s because it was one of Volvo’s DRIVe models which are all about achieving the lowest levels of emissions and fuel saving.
There’s no doubt that it scores top marks here as this 114bhp 1.6-litre turbo diesel can achieve combined fuel economy of 62.8mpg, extra urban of 68.9mpg and urban 54.3mpg.
The low CO2 emissions of 119g/km helps company car drivers with their Benefits In Kind payments and it also means there is no road tax for the first year and its just £30 a year from then on.
The power comes through a six-speed manual gearbox and needs a good deal of work if you’re on a hilly route, as inclines need the drop of a gear or two.
Plenty of drivers will be happy enough with an estate that takes 10.7 seconds to go from standstill to 60mph and has a top speed of 118mph and enjoy the economical advantages from this model.
Ride comfort was good and the car handled fairly well.
All the interior comforts are there as befits an R-Design model with driver and three passengers enjoying plenty of head, leg and elbow room.
Luggage space isn’t massive at 557 litres but this can go to 1241 litres with the rear seats folded.
There’s a good quality feel to this model but you would expect that with the test car having an on-the-road price of £28,555 but rising to £33,395 with the driver support pack, winter pack active bending headlights, convenience pack, security pack and metallic paint options added to it.