I’M not one to disagree with my wife, well not to her face anyway, and she reckons this is not just the best crossover she’s been in, but the best car full stop. I dare you to say different.

On the road: WHEN you’ve got a long journey ahead of you, as I had, the comfort of the seats you’re sat on are probably more important than how a car looks. But with the XC60, you can have the best of both worlds. Having undergone a recent facelift, this is an attractive beast of burden. Attention to detail is high on Volvo’s agenda and so they’ve done things like hide the windscreen washers out of sight, remove the ‘bubble’ from underneath the mirrors in favour of radar sensors and blend the radar cover into the grille. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.

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Powered by a 2.4 litre diesel mated, in this instance, to a six-speed automatic gearbox, and with all wheel drive, the XC60 had plenty of oomph from its 215bhp.

Gearchanges were smooth and progression pretty much effortless. What’s more, when you punch the accelerator, it emits a lovely burble.

I can’t comment on how it would cope on unfriendly terrain, but on a smooth motorway it fair wafted along.

The steering was well weighted and there was grip when and where it was required.

The Northern Echo:

On the inside: OUR Inscription badged car came with white leather upholstery which looked lovely, but beware, does not mix with felt tips when brandished by a two-year-old who had hidden them from daddy’s sight.

That leather is sumptuous and if you require an even greater sense of comfort, the electrically adjustable front seats make this a doddle.

I love the instrument layout on the central console, neat and tidy and although there are plenty of buttons to keep you busy they are all pretty self-explanatory.

What do you get: YOU should be pretty satisfied with equipment levels whichever XC60 you opt for. Climate control, DAB radio, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity are among the standard items on board. In addition there are more options than you can shake the proverbial stick at. Our car came with thousands of pounds worth of extra kit, all neatly bundled into the likes of the Inscription Pack, Driver Support Pack, Security Pack and Winter Illumination Pack. My personal favourite for someone who does a lot of night driving is Volvo’s Active High Beam system which negates the need to keep switching between high and low beam. The system detects an oncoming car and, to prevent dazzling the driver, shades out as much of the beam as necessary. Very, very clever.

The Northern Echo:

How practical is it: FIVE of us trekked down to Lincolnshire in our XC60 and there wasn’t a peep out of those in the back. In fact, within a matter of minutes all three were asleep. I don’t think it was my sparkling conversation or radio choice, rather the comfort and space afforded them in the rear.

The boot was well capable of taking all we could throw at it, having 495 litres of luggage space, increasing to 1,455 litres with the seats down. The addition of an automatic boot closure button aided loading and removal.

The Northern Echo:

Running costs: ONCE you’ve made the initial financial outlay, you should, I’d suggest, enjoy mile of trouble free motoring. Certainly, the build quality was impressive and the standard of equipment inside the cabin should take the worst of what your family can subject it to.

Volvo suggest an return of 44.1mpg. As is commonplace we managed somewhat less, but I was still impressed by how slowly the needle moved down the gauge.

CO2 emissions are 139g/km.

Verdict: CLASSY, comfortable and practical. If it’s good enough for her indoors, it’s good enough for me. Please don’t tell her I called her that.

Alternatives: Audi Q5, Range Rover Evoque