IT'S an estate car that has been engineered for the big outdoors and Volvo knows its new V60 Cross Country is part of an elite clan.
Four-wheel-drive cars with off-road abilities that are not SUVs are rare beasts indeed and the new Volvo is joining only a handful of models.
Alternatives come mainly from the Volkswagen stable although Subaru is also a player with its Outback.
As such, the new V60 4x4 is out to appeal to those who need a practical car which can tackle more than just a bumpy track.
The Cross Country is arriving at the same time as Volvo is introducing a sporty R-Design variant to its V60 line up which was launched last year as a slightly smaller version of its V90 estate.
Priced from £38,270 the V60 Cross Country is available only with a 2.0-litre diesel engine which gives it plenty of pull, especially when the going gets tough.
Developing 190bhp and with a handy 400Nm of torque on tap from between 1,750 and 2,000 revs, the D4 engine suits the car well giving it a lively performance of 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds and topping out at 130mph.
The Cross Country is an eight-speed auto only and that gives it an official fuel return of 47.9mpg at best with emissions of 143g/km.
On the road, mid to high 30s to the gallon are easily achievable but take the Cross Country off road across grassy meadows and through some mud and its thirst increases dramatically.
On our run in the wilds across a Suffolk estate we managed to average just 12.1mpg although overall the V60 Cross Country returned 32mpg after a stint on regular roads.
The Cross Country sits more than two inches higher than the regular V60 and comes with added body protection in the form of heavy duty bumpers and wheel arch mouldings.
It looks nicely robust and it is with its suspension soaking up any rough and tumble well while having sufficient articulation to make it a fine soft-roader without compromising its on-road handling.
Luggage capacity is no different to the regular V60 estate at 529 litres extending to a maximum of 1,441 although the Cross Country additions to the bodywork make it slightly longer, wider and taller.
Standard kit includes Volvo's Sensus connectivity system with sat nav and a full gamut of safety systems with automatic braking and detection for everything from pedestrians to large animals.
There's also a specific off-road setting among the drive modes to maximise traction and engage hill descent control automatically.
However, there are extras to be had - some Â£12,000 worth on the Cross Country we sampled - and those included a 360 degree camera, automatic parking and a semi-autonomous drive system which can be used up to 80mph.
Heated front seats, a heated windscreen and headlight cleaners were another extra - as was a premium audio system - which in total took the cost up to Â£50,105.
Nevertheless, that's competitive at the premium end of the market where Volvo finds itself and for those who don't want the bulk of an SUV the V60 Cross Country makes a lot of sense for genuine outdoor use.
The V60 is also the last diesel to come from Volvo as the Swedish car maker moves towards electrification of its models and its next model - the S60 saloon - will either be petrol only or a plug-in hybrid.
Yet for off-road purposes diesel engines have an edge not just in pulling power but also when it comes to towing where the Cross Country has a two tonne trailer limit.
That all adds up to making the V60 Cross Country a very practical all rounder and ideal for those who need a car which can take the rough with the smooth.