HARD to believe but there was a time when Volvo’s were not seen as being cool – I can remember a geography teacher at our school had one as well as leather patches on the elbows of his jacket, which we also thought was a bit naff.

But that was a long time ago in what seems a galaxy far, far away and both are now the height of cool – especially Volvos.

Here in 2019 I got behind the wheel of the latest V60 D4 AWD Cross Country – but the reason I came all over 1970s was its colour… metallic dark brown!

Now I still have memories of two cars which must be in the running for the worst motors ever made – the Austin Allegro and Morris Marina – and they both came in a very similar colour.

And while I am fully on board with the coolness of Volvos today I am a bit less so about metallic dark brown… but if there is one car which can perhaps pull it off then a big 4×4 off road estate is in with the best chance.

But apart from the colour the V60 AWD was a great bit of kit – mind you for £45,815 it needed to be, although the V60 range does start from £32,410 for the FWD D3 Momentum plus 150 and the AWD Cross Country versions from £38,270.

For that the car has as standard a nine inch central swipe-able iPad style infotainment touchscreen, navigation, voice control, power tailgate, cruise control, a digital adjustable driver’s display, front and rear parking sensors and, as you would expect in any Volvo, a whole raft of safety features.

That was boosted by a number of option packs and extras which included heated wiper blades, adaptive cruise and even more safety kit taking the final on the road price to £45,815. The V60 has also got a five-star crash test rating.

This car’s off-road ability is provided by an extra 60mm of ground clearance, four-wheel drive and hill descent control, all of which come as standard. And, should you find yourself on a particularly challenging off-road route, there are plastic sills, lower bumpers and wheel arch extensions to help protect your pride and joy.

There’s only one Cross Country variant and one engine offered at present, an 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel (badged D4) that powers all four wheels through an automatic gearbox – but a petrol version is in the pipeline.

The Cross Country still handles well even with the additional height. There is little leaning over on corners where the tyres deliver plenty of grip and should you find yourself in a muddy field, clever electronics bring the rear wheels into play to keep you moving.

One standard feature worthy of note is a system which detects pedestrians, animals and cyclists that wander into your path. This proved a lifesaver when I came across a drunken cyclist, presumably on his way home from the pub, at night without lights on an unlit country road and the car spotted him before I did!

This warning was flashed up on the 12.3in digital screen ahead of the driver in place of traditional analogue dials – clever stuff. The display can also show media, telephone and navigation data.

The interior is typically Volvo with quality materials and a minimalist Scandinavian design which is sumptuous, light and airy – thanks in part to the panoramic glass sunroof.

And there is also loads of space in there – both for tall passengers and luggage with 529 litres of space – more than its immediate rivals can muster. The rear seats also fold completely flat to help get bulky items on board.

So if you don’t wat to follow the crowd down the SUV route and want a vehicle with style and performance the V60 Cross Country could be the one for you.

More information at www.volvo.co.uk

By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth