True story: Back in my twenties, I bought a Volvo for all the wrong reasons.

Fresh off a scary wreck that creamed my beloved Mazda Miata but left me unscathed (except for seriously bruised forearms from the steering wheel airbag deploying), my automotive priorities became instantly reshuffled. As much as I loved flinging the 2,100-pound roadster through autocross courses and canyon roads, the accident made me decide I should be driving something more substantial, something safe.

Enter my brief Volvo 240 DL Wagon phase. The new ride was staid, blocky, and built like a tank-and as it turned out, totally not my style. It didn't take long for me to pass it along to my then-girlfriend (now wife), and spring for a BMW 325i convertible.

But I've recently come full circle. Earlier this year my wife and I were expecting our first child when I happened to test drive the Volvo S60 R-Design, whose sporty road manners left me pleasantly surprised. When Volvo agreed to supply a long-term test car, I had my pick of their lineup-from the compact C30 hatchback to the towering XC90 SUV - and I picked the 2012 S60. After all, impending parenthood didn't mean I had to do something as drastic as joining the SUV nation; besides, the S60's laundry list of safety features still satisfied my newfound priorities.

Rather than pick the pricey all-wheel drive R-Design model, I opted for the more popular front-wheel drive S60 T5, which starts at $31,150 and ditches the gutsy turbo six for a more modest, 250 horsepower turbocharged 5-cylinder. But I couldn't resist adding a few options, among them the $1,900 Premium Package, which includes leather seats, power passenger seat, moonroof and a few other tidbits. The $2,700 Multimedia Package adds an 8-speaker premium sound system, a rear park assist camera, and a navigation system with voice control. I also ticked the box for a Personal Car Communicator, which includes keyless entry and ignition for $550. For another $550 I got the Vibrant Copper Metallic exterior paint, which is complemented by a Beechwood leather interior offset by black trim. The grand total for this generously appointed Volvo, including an $875 destination charge, rang in at $37,725.

My son is now barely a month and a half old, and the new Volvo couldn't have arrived at a better time. Will the S60 be big enough for my growing family's needs? Will it be sporty enough to satisfy my inner 20 year-old? And how will it hold up when the new car smell has evaporated and the paint isn't quite as shiny?

I look forward to seeing how the 2012 Volvo S60 T5 will fit into my family's life. I've got places to go, road trips to plan, and most importantly, a car seat to install.

Want to learn more? Follow our long-term test of the Volvo S60.

author photo

Basem Wasef is an automotive journalist, author, and photographer with two coffee table books under his belt, and is a regular contributor to Popular Mechanics, Robb Report, and Maxim among others. When Basem isn't traveling the globe testing vehicles, he enjoys calling Los Angeles home.

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