CALL me mad, you won't be the first, but one of my great loves at school was cross country.
It was that sort of school. Cold baths, The Nurse or nitty Nora as she was known who never warmed her hands and food prepared by the head chef at Wormwood Scrubs.
Cross country provided a marvellous opportunity to push third formers into ditches and cow pats. And I was good at it. Very good. I think I was born with four-wheel drive.
This was a school where every teacher had a derogatory nick-name. Basil was headmaster and in charge of pupil counselling via the medium of a length of garden cane.
Dickie Thomas was his deputy and a fine figure of a Welsh gargoyle. Gollum before he played Glastonbury. I liked Dickie. He once told the class I would be famous and sure enough, by the age of 18, I was famously the bane of every teenage girl's father in town.
I still like to hear the words cross country. Preface it with the name Volvo and I am further enamoured to the point of tight shorts and freezing February mornings.
So, how does the new Volvo V60 Cross Country fare in the race for muddy glory?
Well there are some things you should know. The Cross Country is available as a D4 only which mean it has only a two-litre engine available. Not that you will be short changed. It hits 62mph in 7.8 seconds for the smooth-as-silk automatic while promising between 42 and 48mpg.
But, of course the burning question is, not that setting one on fire at a basic £38,270 is a good plan, what will it do off road?
Let's face it it is no Jeep Wrangler but elevated ground clearance and an effective 4x4 system puts muddy fields, tracks and awkward towing environments within the Cross Country's capabilities.
What is more on dry surfaces it gives great grip for a bit of enthusiastic driving.
Clever electronics bring the AWD into play and the softer suspension that comes with the extra clearance irons out all but the worst surfaces and makes for a joyous ride.
That is boosted by the luxurious interior we now expect from Volvo. Plenty of leather, a full manifest of comfort equipment all dominated by the huge centre mounted touchscreen. If you can find a more comfortable seat please let me know.
Main instruments, by the way, are on a 12 inch digital screen.
Right make no mistake the space available for both humans and luggage is huge. On top of that both doors and tailgate open hands free if you add the relevant extras.
Storage niches abound and have a good volume, you don't need to go down the SUV road to get plenty of room for life. Rear seat passengers will also enjoy their space.
This is where things get a little complicated.
The basic specification for a V60 is extensive to say the least. Things like on call, Sensus navigation with voice activation driving lie mitigation and run off protection is boosted by city safe to keep wobbling cyclists and pedestrians safe.
As we have come to expect safety is the priority on all Volvo models.
To take the Cross Country to the next level there are several familiar options and camera and auto parking is in one pack, rear collision protection another, the well established boom-warming winter pack and a convenience array including vargo net and grocery back complete a cast of thousands.
For a few dollars more the tow bar can be retractable and the driver seat powered.
This little lot and some more pushes the price to£49,395 but you are t.alkins a premium AWD estate making a beefy statement.
Of course a much cheaper option is a pair of Nike trainers and short shorts but this tends to deliver a more pasig climate package.