From £21,7207
Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

Frankly, the cabin of the Volvo V60 looks the business – a home from home and clearly more stylish and imaginative than the otherwise impressive interior standards of the main German opposition.

Climb aboard, sit in its unusually comfortable seat and survey the scene; this could be the cabin of a car costing £10k or £20k more. The floating centre console looks beautiful, the sweep of the dash is cool and classy and the materials used are uniformly excellent.

The floating centre console looks beautiful

So it looks great. But it doesn’t work as well as some rivals. The driving position is good, thanks to the unusually extensive reach of the steering column, but there’s precious little room for your foot to the left of the clutch.

Moreover, without an iDrive-style central controller there are just too many small buttons to identify and operate while driving. It smacks of a desire to be different for the sake of it rather than sound ergonomic reasons. The controls for the air conditioning remain a model of simplicity, though. Pity the same can’t be said for the audio system – they’re confusing and in this instance less is, well, less.

There’s not much room inside, either. We know that volumes of space is not high on the priority lists of people in the market for such cars, but we still think their children would appreciate a little more rear legroom, even if headroom is surprisingly uncompromised by that tapering roofline.

Where you pay the price is in the boot, which is small even by class standards. All its German rivals offer more carrying capacity, although the Volvo does counter with a 40/20/40 split rear seat instead of the usual 40/60 arrangement and a front passenger seat that will also fold flat. 

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As for the trim levels, the entry-level Business Edition models come with cruise control, adaptive dampers, parking sensors, automatic wipers and lights, and 16in alloy wheels. Inside the V60 gets climate control, a raft of Volvo safety systems and a 7.0in Sensus touchscreen infotainment with DAB radio, sat nav and Bluetooth. Upgrade to SE Nav and you get a leather upholstery and 17in alloys, while the SE Lux Nav includes electrically adjustable driver's seat, xenon headlights and keyless entry.

The range-topping R-Design Nav and R-Design Lux Nav come with a lowered chassis, bigger alloys and sports seats. The Cross Country models get numerous rugged details, such as skid plates, underside protection and an increased ride height.