There's a pal of mine who owns an old Volvo V70. And I've never really got it. OK, so the boot's huge, and it's comfortable and economical, but seriously, there were better estate cars out there when he bought his.
This new V70, though. Well, that I could understand a bit more. Still not exactly my cup of tea, but I can see where it begins to make sense. And, of course, the engine that makes most sense of all is the D5 driven here.
It's the same basic five-cylinder diesel engine that's in my mate's car, but this thing is so much more refined - both inside and outside. You still get a hint of that lovely five-cylinder thrum, but the diesel rattle is much more muted, especially at cold and idle.
There's plenty of torque from 1,500rpm, and it stays smooth all the way to the red line. But don't go past 3,750rpm: there's no extra punch up there. Get this car with an auto 'box though, as the manual just doesn't suit the lazy engine, and it's not an especially pleasant shift.
Equally, the ride is much better than the old version's. It's still not up to Mercedes' standards (acknowledged as the class best), but it doesn't feel as uncontrolled as it used to - over bumpy back roads, the new V70 feels more secure beneath you.
So to sum up, it won't match a Merc E-Class, but I reckon my mate would certainly approve.