A windscreen replacement on the Volvo V60 was a timely reminder of the myriad safety features available on this car.
Once the glass had been replaced, the car had to be recalibrated to ensure the camera, radar and sensors positioned near the rear view mirror were all working correctly.
Volvo argues that this process should only be carried out by its technicians and you can understand why when so many features are reliant on its accuracy.
The City Safety with Autobrake technology, for example, uses automatic braking and detection systems to assist the driver in avoiding potential collisions, and is the only system on the market to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, including moose and elks, says Volvo.
And, in a world first, its City Safety system now also engages autobraking to mitigate oncoming collisions. If the car drifts over a lane marking, heading into the path of an oncoming vehicle, and the driver takes no action, the system automatically steers the car back into its own lane.
Meanwhile, its Pilot Assist system, which is standard in the V90, but optional for the V60, supports the driver with steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 80mph.
When Pilot Assist is activated, acceleration, braking and steering assistance helps the driver follow traffic flow within the current lane.
The system also enhances speed and distance control and achieves a consistent position in the centre of the lane.
The driver can override the system at any time by using the brake pedal, accelerator pedal or steering wheel. Using the turn indicator will temporarily abort the steering support if the driver wants to change lane.
Pilot Assist alarms and automatically also switches off if the driver does not keep a hand on the steering wheel.
The V60 also includes Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and other steering-assistance systems.
Oncoming lane mitigation helps the driver avoid collisions with oncoming vehicles by assisting with steering back into the correct lane.
When a potential run-off road situation arises, torque can be applied to the steering to support the driver, along with braking action.
The Run-off Road Mitigation system uses input from the car’s advanced sensor system to detect a run-off road scenario. When a run-off road situation is unavoidable, the front safety belts automatically tighten to keep the occupants in position. This feature is standard in the V90 and optional in the V60 Series.
It’s a long list of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that strengthens Volvo’s road safety credentials; it’s just a shame that the local dealership couldn’t correctly attach the housing around the systems sensors.
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.