The Volvo V60 is far removed from the Volvo estates of yesteryear. They were vast Swedish motherships with all the style of an aircraft hangar but a bit more space inside. Driven by people with straw in their hair and porridge in their beards, they were the only cars on the road that actually looked better with every panel bashed in and 200,000 miles on the clock than they did when new. Now look at this glinting, curving, handsome slice of automotive sculpture and consider the journey Volvo has been on during these past few years.

Volvo won’t sell a single example of this new V60 estate to those interested only in an indestructible beast of burden. You’re never going to see one loaded up with trunks to take the little dears back to boarding school, because once they’re on board you’ll do well to get more than their tuck boxes in the load bay. What you will see is V60s being sold to family fashionistas. Should they really abandon their Mercedes, BMWs and Audis for a Volvo? If looks were the only means of measurement, the answer would be a fairly clear “yes” and we’d all be out of a job. As it is, there are some stern tests the new Volvo estate has to pass before we can judge whether it really is as good as it looks.

The V60 gets a vast array of engines: petrol-wise the 1.6 T3 is a 148bhp motor, T4 is also a 1.6 with 177bhp, T5 is a 2.0-litre with 237bhp and T6 is a 3.0-litre with 300bhp. The eco-friendly DRIVe models are 113bhp 1.6s, D3s are 161bhp 2.0s and D5s are 212bhp 2.4s.

There are even more trim levels ;going from top to bottom they are ES, SE, SE Premium, Lux, Lux Premium, R-Design and R-Design Premium. R-Design designates a sportier version, with bigger wheels and bodywork addenda. All-wheel drive is standard only on T6 versions.

Top 5 Compact saloons

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Volvo range

Driven this week

  • Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
    First Drive
    26 August 2016
    The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso gets tweaked styling, improved tech and new personalisation options to keep it ahead of rivals
  • Car review
    26 August 2016
    Wolfsburg celebrates the GTI’s 40th with its most extreme version yet
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite