THERE are many drivers who would rather have a luxurious large estate car than a bigger SUV, but think they have no choice because they want or need four wheel drive.
Volvo saw this need many years ago and filled it with the XC70. Its latest model can trace its roots all the way back to that very car.
The V60 Cross Country is based on the new V60 estate but comes with raised ride height, beautifully cushioning suspension and that important all wheel drive.
It also has plenty of black plastic cladding protecting the extremities from passing undergrowth when venturing off-road.
This is a fast road car that can take to the rough stuff with impunity and one with enough traction to take it to many of the places a large 4x4 might go.
For me, Volvo makes excellent and beautifully luxurious cars that can hold their own against any similar machinery on the market. The Cross Country is no exception.
I recently had the chance to drive one a few miles across a large country estate mostly on grassy and fairly innocuous tracks, but also up some steep slopes and through a couple of stretches of mud and ruts.
It didn't falter once, even though it was running on road tyres, and the level of traction in the really sticky stuff was excellent.
This is probably down to the all wheel drive system's clever electronics, which always send the power to the wheels with the most grip.
At the same time the stability control system stops individual wheels spinning by applying the correct brake.
Over fairly rough surfaces it was pretty comfortable and very few capable off-roaders can really claim that.
The main seller is bound to be the car I drove, fitted with Volvo's 2.0-litre D4 turbo diesel with a good 190bhp and bucketloads of low speed pulling power.
There is also a T5 petrol available, with more power and quicker on-road acceleration, which uses the same eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The combination of the diesel and the automatic is beautifully relaxed, with tremendous refinement on or off-road.
Acceleration on the road is fast enough through the gears for swift and safe overtaking and away from rest, the 4WD traction really helps getting the power down on the tarmac.
It also helps in the corners with the front wheels helping to pull the car around.
The slightly higher ride height and softer suspension means there is a little more lean in corners than in the standard estate, but I never found it uncomfortable, and the level of grip was absolutely superb.
The combination of the car's 4WD system, excellent torque and weight, means that it has been rated as being able to tow a braked trailer or caravan weighing up to two tonnes.
And of course, while you might buy this Volvo with your heart, it's still a Volvo and comes with a huge array of safety devices to help keep occupants and those outside the car safe in the worst situations.
These include the award-winning City Safety system with automatic braking, which helps the driver to avoid potential collisions by recognising pedestrians, cyclists and large animals in the road ahead.
Then it also comes with Pilot Assist, a system that supports the driver with steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 80mph.
Other safety systems include Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and other steering assistance systems.
These and other safety technologies make the V60 one of the safest cars on the road.