5. Volvo S60

With this third-generation S60 saloon, and the first to be built outside Europe, in Ridgeville, South Carolina, Volvo is approaching the pinnacle of the compact saloon argument.

The S60 is attractive to people who are not seduced by the sportier mission statements of other cars of this class, but who should enjoy much success in doing so. It has good powertrain refinement, decent handling at the front and a comfortable, complete drive, although lately, avoiding Volvos larger optional alloy wheel sizes is advisable if you want to have the final say in the refinement of the drive.

Available, for now, with only a 247 bhp turbocharged gasoline engine and the brand T5, the car has many features, although less powerful and expensive options, as well as a more efficient hybrid, will come later. However, Volvo will not offer a diesel.

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6. Audi A4

A favourite of company car drivers, the Audi A4 defends itself thanks to its excellent cabin quality, rich interior materials, elegant exterior design, refined and economical engines and brilliant information and entertainment systems.

The A4 is a bit disappointed by an isolated but little enveloping driving experience that favours high-speed stability over driver engagement. However, it stands out as a long-distance tourist on motorways, a feature that is supported by a range of refined and smooth gasoline and diesel engines. There is also plenty of room for passengers on board, while Audis financial arrangements also offer great value for money.

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