Despite the rapid rise in SUV registrations, the executive estate sector is proving a worthy alternative for fleets looking for a mix of performance and practicality.
Our Volvo V60 D3 Inscription is a prime example, with ride and handling matched by a boot that also compares well with rivals.
The V60 is the fifth model based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, which has allowed it to significantly increase the interior space.
The Inscription is 13cm longer than its predecessor and offers 100 litres more boot space, with a squarer back end to increase practicality.
There are 529 litres with the rear seats in place, while dropping the rear seats gives you 1,441 litres and creates a flat floor level. Models come with power-operated tailgates.
That compares well to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate, which has a smaller 460-litre boot with the seats up. However, dropping them down will give you more space than the V60, with 1,480 litres available.
It is a similar story with the Audi A4 Avant, which has boot space of 505 litres or 1,510 litres with the seats down and the BMW 3 Series Touring, 495 litres and 1,500 litres, respectively.
Volvo offers a choice of three 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines – D3 and D4 diesels, and a T5 petrol. Two petrol-electric plug-in twin engine hybrids and a second petrol engine are expected to be added to the line-up.
Both diesel engines are available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the petrol comes with the eight-speed automatic as standard.
Emissions start from an attractive 117g/km for the D3 and D4 diesel Momentum models, equating to 64.2mpg combined. Our test model has been achieving 40-45mpg.
Crossovers may be financially viable for company car drivers who want the looks of an SUV, but what about those who require the functionality of a proper off-roader?
Well, the Volvo V60 Cross Country could be just the ticket.
It sits 60mm higher than a regular V60 and comes fitted with additional plastic body panels to protect the paint.
The running gear uses Volvo’s 190PS D4 diesel engine and all-wheel-drive system, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
It has CO2 emissions of 135g/km and can achieve 47.9mpg. The £3,000 price hike and increase in emissions over a regular V60 D4 means company car drivers should expect to pay around £220 per month in tax (20% taxpayer).
Specification is based on the entry-level Momentum trim, so you get sat-nav, LED headlights, a host of safety technology, plus the addition of front parking sensors and an off-road driving mode.
There are no direct rivals for the V60 Cross Country. Vauxhall offers the Insignia Country Tourer in a lower price bracket and Mercedes-Benz only gives its larger E-Class the all-terrain treatment.
We were impressed by the V60 Cross Country both on- and off-road. It has a beautifully smooth ride, thanks to its softer suspension and larger tyres.
Handling is also impressive and, while it feels less dynamic than some regular estates, compared to an SUV it’s far more compliant.
The relaxing cabin makes it perfect for longer journeys, yet show it a dirt track and it is equally adept.
With more than 500 litres of boot space, the V60 Cross Country provides a cost-effective SUV alternative with a great driving experience.