THE Volvo V60 sits in Volvo’s current range like a faithful collie dog, ready to take on anything. It’s not as big as the cavernous V70 estate but it’s more practical and prestigious than the V40 and it’s a fine choice for anyone wanting anything from a trusty workhorse, to a smart executive chariot. It’s one of Volvo’s best all-rounders.

However, in Volvo’s mind at least, there was obviously something missing, because they’ve created a new version which bridges a gap between the pretty estate car we all know and love and the rugged XC60. And it’s a gap that we might never have known existed.

921048_153931_Volvo_Cars_reveals_new_V60_Cross_CountryIt’s called the Volvo V60 Cross Country and it adds a bit of off-road capability to a car which would normally look a trifle out of place in a muddy field.

In actual fact, it’s nothing new. The cross country brand hails from the 1990s and it’s been rekindled recently for the superb V40 but this is the first time it’s appeared on Volvo’s mid-range big-seller.

921050_153932_Volvo_Cars_reveals_new_V60_Cross_CountryAll Cross Country versions have added ground clearance, which is obvious when you look at its profile and note the gaps between the wheels and the chunky plastic arches.

Not all versions have four-wheel drive, but the range-toppers do. In normal driving, these run in front-wheel-drive mode, but can switch to four-wheel drive when the going gets tough.

921051_153933_Volvo_Cars_reveals_new_V60_Cross_CountryThere’s also a clever hill descent control, so most of the trappings of a fully-fledged off-roader are in there.

While this might sound like the perfect package, the downside is slightly increased running costs at 49.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km.

921411_154003_Volvo_V60_Cross_CountryThat said, there’s always a price to pay for picking an off-roader. Customers that want their car ready to charge across a ploughed field know this and the premium won’t come as any shock.

The Cross Country’s biggest strength however, and this is also true of its smaller sibling the V40, is the fact it retains so much of the poise, comfort and fine road manners of the “normal” V60.

Raising the ride height in any car can ruin it, but the Cross Country is none the worse for it.

921412_154004_Volvo_V60_Cross_CountryVolvo markets its Cross Country range as a sub-brand which is ideal for adventurers. I don’t think I fall into that camp, exactly, but I can see myself sizing it up as an option should I ever find myself sat before a Volvo salesman.

The reality is, however, it’s not just adventurers that will make up the small portion of people opting for the Cross Country treatment. It’ll be the rural, country set who might never venture off the blacktop, but would rather people think they do.

And unlike some of the Volvo’s rivals, they’ll not be taking the soft, limp-wristed option. In many respects, and in some that really matter, they’ll actually be picking the better option.