This car came with the ultimate recommendation - our top tester Simon Harris told me it was 'pretty good'. And anyone who has met our Simes will know for him, that is some praise. He is not noted for his effervescence!
So far, after two weeks behind the wheel, I would agree with him wholeheartedly. The Volvo S60 is stylish without being showy, solid without being chunky and practical without being pedestrian. Add to that a test fuel consumption in the high forties and you have a pretty impressive fleet package.
Volvo has come on in leaps and bounds over the years and now under the wing of Ford, the marque offers an upmarket alternative to run-of-the-mill contenders such as the Mondeo.
Climbing aboard, the first thing you notice is the luxurious quality of the front seats. They hug every inch of the torso and are simply the best in class. Quite why other manufacturers can't make such comfortable seating is beyond me - it can't be THAT difficult.
If you happen to have climbed aboard on a cold winter's day, the next thing you notice is the amazing array of accessories which help get the car warmed up quickly. The automatic climate control (standard on SE trim models) sets a right old blast of air against the front and side screens and the heated front seats (a £300 extra as part of the winter pack) help things along nicely. The Swedes know a thing or two about winter motoring, believe me.
Power comes courtesy of Volvo's five-cylinder 2.4-litre common rail diesel engine and is so smooth that you just would not recognise it as a heavy oil powerplant. I have been giving each new passenger a little test by asking them whether they think the car is petrol or diesel and so far, only two out of eight have guessed right. With 163bhp and 251lb-ft of torque on tap, this car is no slouch. The 0-60mph dash is accomplished in 9.5 seconds and the S60 will hit 130mph on a good day - no mean feat for a diesel.
But despite all that power, the S60 is a frugal performer. My colleague managed an average of 53mpg on a long run the other day and I have regularly been achieving 45mpg on round-town trips.
At the same time, CO2 emissions are a reasonable 171 grams per kilometre, meaning the driver choosing this vehicle as a company car will incur a tax charge of 19% of list price under the new benefit-in-kind system.