Volvo's V70 isn't just practical, it's good to drive. In fact, I'm tempted to say it's the ultimate family car, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.
Very rarely do I get seduced enough by a test vehicle to keep it for real-world use - but the Volvo V70 ticked all the right boxes.
You see, I'm probably a typical family guy. So even though I love cars, it's not practical for me to empty my wallet and buy a sports coupé.
After all, where would my kids sit? Consequently, I'm forced to look at middle-of-the-road motoring.
That's where Volvo works for me. It's heading towards premium - some would argue the Swedish brand is already there - and we all know they're built like brick... erm... outhouses.
They're also more stylish than they used to be, and ultra comfy.
You had me at flip-up booster seats
Even better, the V70 has flip-up booster seats in the rear.
This is like discovering a diamond in the rough when you have a six- and a three-year old. I hate swapping child seats about, and these fold-away boosters work a treat.
It's good to know I could buy a V70 and have everything I need for the family without having to purchase a people carrier. I hate them.
Well, maybe hate is too strong a word – I just don't want to own one because that really would be admitting middle age.
Large boot perfect for IKEA trips...
The V70 isn't just practical, it's good to drive – especially with an automatic gearbox. It's smooth and you can press on well.
It's also a quiet car and one with a load area to make the managers at IKEA smile.
Yes, it has room for all those boxes that are too long for an average-sized boot.
However, this does mean there's no excuse when your other half asks you to go and collect all the bits to bolt together later.
Volvo V70: Ultimate family car
So, I'm tempted to say that the Volvo V70 could be the ultimate family car.
It certainly offered my brood first-class comfort, combined with an impressive 575 litres of load space.
As well as the integrated child seats, the rear seatbacks can be folded down in three 40/20/40 segments, giving more options to configure extra room.
What's particularly reassuring about the V70's drive is its IntelliSafe technology – the carmaker's blanket name for all-active safety systems.
One of the best gadgets is Pedestrian Detection, which watches out for people walking into the car's path and automatically puts on the anchors if there's an impending impact.
Road Sign Information supports you too by displaying road signs on the instrument panel.
Maybe now you might see why I'm tempted to own this Volvo? When you have kids, protecting them comes top of the list.
Top speed, how fast it goes from nought to 62mph, CO2 emissions and, to some extent, mpg, go further down the list.
Volvo V70 D3 SE Geartronic: Spec
That said, the model on test here - the automatic Volvo V70 D3 SE Geartronic - is not an inefficient motor to run. It'll do over 49mpg and it emits 149 CO2 (g/km).
Mind you, I'd still have to go for a used one.
With an on-the-road starting price of £24,995 for the basic V70, and my test drive model costing £31,120 new, my bank manager would throw me out if I asked for a loan.
And there's no way I'm going down any car finance route: the mortgage is enough of a chain around my neck.
Now, where's my nearest pre-owned Volvo dealership?
Volvo V70: Pros & cons
Smooth Drive √
Lots of kit √
Load area √
Volvo V70 D3 SE Geartronic: Fast facts
Max speed: 121 mph
0-62 mph: 10.0 secs
Combined mpg: 49.6
Engine: 1984 cc 20 valve 5 cylinder turbo diesel
Max. power (bhp): 134 at 3500 rpm
Max. torque (lb/ft): 258 at 1500-2250 rpm
CO2: 149 g/km
Price: £31,120 on the road