Volvo XC70
Blackball Media

Much has been written about our Volvo's comfortable interior, high-quality stereo and all-round easy-going demeanor. This month, I've been using it as its maker intended by folding down the seats and filling the back with as much stuff as I can find.

The Swedish brand may be making waves with its brand-new interiors and ever-expanding range of lifestyle vehicles, but let's not forget that it made its name in providing unrivalled practicality, acting as a surrogate Transit van for middle England. And it is in this capacity that I've been making use of the XC70, by moving house, to the rather-less-than-middle England seaside town of Gosport.

Loading up the rear quarters with numerous holdalls and carrier bags (I don't really do packing), it was nice to find that Volvo hasn't forgotten its roots: the rear seats fold flat with a simple pull of a switch, my back remained pain-free thanks to the lack of loading lip, and the electrically-operated tailgate meant I could appear almost unbelievably lazy to the onlookers who were eyeing up their new neighbour.

Overall, the XC70 excelled, though you may be thinking that it's nothing a big Audi or BMW couldn't do. That may be true, but the Volvo's trump card is its sheer stealthiness. Seriously, no one pays it any attention, which proved handy as I passed a gaggle of unnoticed police cars at ahem mph on the way home...

The knowledge

Model: Volvo XC70 D5 AWD SE Lux Geartronic
Price: £43,545 (as tested)
Engine: 2.4-litre, five-cylinder diesel
Power: 213bhp, 439Nm
Max speed: 127mph
0-60mph: 7.8s
Emissions: 169g/km
Mileage this month: 2,176

This month's highlight

A boot big enough to literally sling things in. No scratches to interior panels here