Volvo may no longer be owned by Ford and the long-term ramifications of that have yet to become apparent, but the V60 still sits on Henry’s EUCD platform, which underpins everything from the S-Max and Mondeo to the Land Rover Freelander 2.

When it comes to birth parents, that’s known as throwing a 
double six. Even so, as we have seen with the rather unimpressive S80, it is entirely within Volvo’s capabilities to make a complete mess even of raw material as promising as this. But the changes they have made – a stiffer front subframe, more rigidly mounted steering rack and rebushed suspension – seem sensible.

The V60’s shape, proportions and detailing are likely to win the estate many fans

In fact, there is much to commend here. In appraisals such as this we tend not to dwell on matters as far from the skill set of our testers as judging beauty contests, but it is only fair to mention that the V60’s shape, proportions and detailing are likely to win the estate many fans, even if, as we shall see, they have been achieved at a price.

The unmistakable grille makes the V60 instantly recognisable as a Volvo. Without it, it might be rather more difficult, so different is the V60 from the marque’s previous estates.

Cool-looking air intakes low down and at the sides of the front valance are actually fake; they’re simply there for visual effect. The headlamps aren’t – they offer excellent lighting, making the lack of a bi-xenon option nothing to be missed.

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Volvo reckons the tapering roofline gives the V60 coupé-like styling. Maybe, but it also compromises the size of the boot. However, we love these long, slender and elegant rear lights. They’re a bit of a Volvo hallmark now but have probably never been done better than this.

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