HERE’S a car with what is popularly known now as a ‘back story’. For the new Volvo V60 has a heritage second to none when it comes to estate cars.

Starting in the mid to late 1970s the Volvo estate was a must-have motor. A status-symbol car. A badge of honour for both the professional classes and the country set.

Everyone from the lawyer to the rural vet wanted one, its mix of purposeful looks, power and practicality making it a big draw.

Where once estates had been for travelling salesmen to tote their wares, Volvo made this type of car an automotive object of desire. Street cred was enhanced by the arrival of a version on the touring car circuit.

So the V60 has both considerable history and a lot to live up to. I got to run the rule over the car during its British launch last week in sun-kissed North Yorkshire.

Sharing the same territory as the BMW 3 Series Touring and the Mercedes C-Class estate, the handsome V60 is every inch the premium motor and a first-class family car.

With on-the-road prices starting at £31,810 for the D3 Momentum model, I drove a V60 D4 Momentum Pro (from £36,610) and a D4 Momentum (from £32,550).

As with many cars nowadays, it is easy to see those prices grow with a wealth of options, but the V60 comes with a strong range of features as standard.

They include nine-inch centre console touch-screen, power-operated tailgate, cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors, twin-zone climate control, full European mapping, a voice activated control system a connectivity suite and an ‘on call’ app to control functions from your phone and act as an emergency and tracking service.

Options include a convenience pack which features the likes of power-folding rear seat backrests, Intellisafe Pro which includes ‘pilot assist’ and cross-traffic alert. The Xenium Pack includes a 360-degree parking camera.

But what about the estate car’s raison d’etre – load carrying capacity? The V60 scores here with a mega-boot, of 520 litres, up to 1441 litres, with the back seats down. Flat boot sides and no loading-lip make life easy.

Both cars were fitted with 190bhp diesel engines, the Momentum with six-speed manual gearbox and the Momentum Pro with automatic transmission. A petrol-engine version is available, with another petrol unit to follow plus petrol-electric hybrid versions.

With plenty of smooth power and assured handling, the driving experience is rewarding.