We liked the Volvo V60, probably more than the number of stars awarded suggests. We like its looks, terrific interior and its engines. Most of all, however, we like the fact that it’s a non-conformist. It makes no attempt to feel sporting yet is never less than pleasant to drive.

At the front, with the exception of a lack of space for your left foot in manual versions, there’s plenty of space and comfort. And the head-turning style you see on the outside is carried over to the inside. With the exception of a few ergonomic foibles, you’ll not find a nicer driving environment for the money.

For the same money it’s up against the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class

It’s not so good in the back, where space is limited for children and the boot is best described as miserly. Volvo is at pains to tell the world this isn’t an estate car, but really…

What we didn’t expect from a Volvo in the UK, is a car to ride so nicely – the V60 glides across our dreadful roads with a fluidity we’d never have expected.

Its overall score, though, is held down by these few flaws — none of them deal breakers, but they collectively hold the V60 back in this class. And for the same money it’s up against the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, both formidable competitors with just a little more charm and capability at their disposal.

But if you’re after a compact executive alternative to such a tediously predictable choice between Stuttgart and Munich, go ahead and put a V60 in your life. Though it sounds like damning with faint praise to say it, it really is the next best thing.

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