IT has one of the smoothest automatic transmissions I’ve ever experienced, but it’s the ride quality and abundance of features that appealed most about the Volvo S60.

This is a brand whose ‘boring’ image is long gone, replaced with well-deserved admiration and with all the talk of driverless cars lately, this is the type of car that makes it easier to imagine the reality.

Subtle design changes have given the S60 its sporty and striking looks and there are two petrol and five diesel engines to choose from, with the petrols using a ‘T’ prefix, and the diesels using ‘D’.

The new S60 is billed as the most dynamic Volvo ever. It is still uber reliable, but clearly more stylish with a driver-focused chassis and a range of high-tech engine options. I drove the new D4, with the eight-speed automatic gearbox and an impressive fuel consumption figure of 67.3 mpg, although you’ll get a few more miles to the gallon if you opt for the manual.

The sporty feel is emphasised by comfy sport seats – the kind you can really sink into. Although the drive felt a tad heavy at times, motorway driving in the S60 was exceptional, a real joy.

Bluetooth and DAB are standard – you couldn’t step inside a car like this then listen to a crackly Radio Five Live.

But it’s some of the safety features that really stand out. The new Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection means that if a cyclist heading in the same direction suddenly swerves out in front and collision is imminent, there’s an instant warning and full brakes are applied automatically. Clever or what.

This model also came with Volvo’s ‘Winter Illumination Pack’, an option at £675. Not the ideal time of the year to be testing heated seats and the like, but we’ll always get more cold weather than hot, so I reckon this is a worthwhile purchase. If you’re really nesh, there’s even a heated steering wheel.

Road Sign Information displays road signs in the instrument display and this - combined with the Speed Alert function - gives you a visual warning in the speedometer if the speed limit is exceeded. Ironically, I really liked this feature, even though I was ‘told off’ by the car on numerous occasions. It’s useful when you’re on those roads where you’re not quite sure (or can’t remember) what the speed limit is.

Volvo S60 D4 R-Design Lux Nav
Priced from: £33,645
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Top speed: 134mph
Fuel: 67.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 126g/km