If you need to drive a 4x4 but don’t want to handle a bulky vehicle that looks more at home on a battlefield, Volvo might just have the answer.

Sleek, elegant and easy to manage, the V90 Cross Country looks as different from a large sports utility vehicle as it’s possible to get.

Yet despite its upmarket appearance it shares the functional flexibility, rugged capability and air of adventure of an SUV.

High ground clearance, immense pulling power and a responsive all-wheel-drive system allow the Cross Country to easily tackle everything from muddy tracks and knee-deep snow to long-distance motorway driving.

Its predecessors have proved a popular choice with horse and boat owners and the latest model has a host of treats in store.

Capable and comfortable, the Cross Country completes Volvo’s new 90 series line-up bringing all the advances in safety, refinement and technology that the award-winning range has to offer.

Luxurious levels of equipment and a clean, simple, yet sophisticated, leather-lined cabin combine to make driving as easy and uncomplicated as possible.

Like the XC90 before it, the V90 features the new face of Volvo, including the distinctive T-shaped LED headlights with active high beam.

In too comes twin-zone climate control, keyless engine starting, a powered tailgate and heated front seats. Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system is also standard, with a nine-inch touch screen, satellite navigation, voice-control system, and access to the Internet.

The standard Pilot Assist system automatically keeps you at a set distance from the vehicle in front, braking and accelerating with the flow of traffic, while giving gentle nudges on the steering to keep the car within lane markings.

Also fitted is an automatic emergency braking system that can detect not only pedestrians and cyclists, but also large animals, helping to avoid, or limit, the severity of collisions with animals such as deer both at night and during the day.

The Volvo On Call app allows you to control a range of functions from a mobile device, including the ability to remotely heat or cool the cabin before you get in. The car can also be turned into a WiFi hotspot.

Power on the test car came from a tax-efficient, 2.0-litre D4 four-cylinder diesel engine capable of delivering about 50mpg in day-to-day driving, giving a potential cruising range of more than 600 miles between refuelling stops.

It is 20 years since Volvo first launched its true all-weather alternative to the SUV, the V70 XC, and it proved an instant success, especially in North America.

The third-generation Volvo Cross Country, the XC70, arrived in 2007 with added elegance and luxury and continued to be a huge seller in North America, where buyers accounted for almost half of the total volume produced.

But the ability to go anywhere whenever you like is clearly something appreciated across the world, with all-wheel-drive models accounting for more than half of the orders for the new 90 series cars.

Auto facts

Model: Volvo V90 Cross Country

Price: £44,405

Insurance group: 32 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 54.3mpg

Top speed: 130mph

Length: 493.6cm/194.3in

Width: 189.5cm/74.6in

Luggage capacity: 19.7 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12.1 gallons/55 litres

CO2 emissions: 138g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 100,000 miles