Twist the elegant starter button between the front seats of the Volvo XC60 and a list of safety systems flashes up in the digital instrument display.

The list is lengthy and impossible to count because it quickly disappears, to be replaced by a colour graphic showing who still needs to fasten their seatbelt.

Once everyone has buckled up, the display changes again to show something more interesting, such as the satellite navigation directions.

The display neatly captures Volvo’s philosophy which puts safety at the heart of everything the company does, in a thoroughly understated way.

Motoring, even on modern crowded roads, should be about enjoying the journey and the XC60 pulls out all the stops to deliver as stress-free a drive as possible.

Inside, Volvo has taken cues from the clean Scandinavian interior design first introduced in the 90 Series cars, with large comfortable seats and a fresh clutter-free dashboard and instrument panel.

Power on the sporty R-Design trim test car came from one of the first Volvo engines fitted with the company’s kinetic energy recovery braking system, which is coupled with its existing internal combustion engines to create a new integrated electrified powertrain, under a new ‘B’ badge

The test car used the 197 horsepower B4 diesel mild hybrid engine, mated to automatic transmission, delivering a quiet, smooth ride, ideally suited to long distance runs and the ability to easily cover more than 600 miles on a single tankful of fuel.

The solid reassuring feel of the XC60 is underpinned by that unseen list of safety systems which includes City Safety technology, fitted as standard on all Volvo models. It combines automatic braking and collision avoidance systems to cover a range of potential accident scenarios and help keep you safe. Volvo says it is the only system on the market that detects pedestrians, cyclists and large animals such as deer.
An optional Pilot Assist driver system helps keep the car in its lane and is another step towards Volvo’s Vision 2020, which says that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by this year.

Standard equipment is high, with every XC60 model fitted with a power-operated tailgate and front and rear parking sensors.

The technology includes Volvo On Call, with an app available for smartphone, smartwatch or tablet, which enables you to control various car functions remotely, and also acts as an emergency and tracking service.

The navigation system has full European mapping with traffic information and lifetime map updates and can be controlled by pressing a button on the steering wheel.

All new Volvos are fitted with a system called Sensus, which uses a nine-inch touchscreen combining car functions, navigation, web connected services and in-car entertainment applications such as Spotify, Pandora, Baidu or TuneIn.

An £850 option fitted on the test car gave Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone links and an upmarket Harman Kardon sound system.

Volvo takes safety seriously, but thankfully it’s not at the expense of luxury, style and some down-to-earth fun.

Auto facts

Model: Volvo XC60 B4 Diesel AWD R-Design

Price: £47,260 as tested

Insurance group: 31E

Fuel consumption (combined): 46.3mpg

Top speed: 127mph

Length: 468.8cm/184in

Width: 190.2cm/77.7in

Luggage capacity:  483 litres/17 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 15.6 gallons/72 litres

CO2 emissions: 142g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles