Two decades have passed since Volvo launched its first Cross Country model - the V70 XC - for buyers who needed a degree of off-road capability but didn’t want a fully-fledged SUV.

Now, with the V90 Cross Country joining its V40 and V60 stablemates, Volvo can offer the soft-roader option across its entire model range.

The vehicle, which is the final member in the brand’s flagship 90 series, provides a similar level of refinement and luxury to its sisters, but with added versatility thrown in for good measure.

A raised ride height, extra protective bodywork cladding and a four-wheel drive system are among the features that lend the V90 Cross Country an added aura of ruggedness.

Indeed, the V90 Cross Country can be singled out from other V90 models by its more muscular appearance, brought about by an exterior makeover and a chunky, purposeful front end.

For example, there are front and rear protective skid plates, wheel arch extensions and lower body cladding in a charcoal finish,

Visually, there’s no doubt that the vehicle looks the part, with a hint at the finesse and the toughness of the V90.

That sense of quality is maintained once you get inside, with the interior having a refined and elegant feel to it. Comfortable seats, oceans of space and high-end materials are among the features that stick in mind.

The cabin also features a vertical-format nine-inch touchscreen in the centre console, which seems a bit unusual and tricky to use at first. However, once you get used to it, it’s an impressive system that offers easy access to the navigation system, audio and various other features.

Behind the wheel, this smooth diesel machine offers a pleasant driving experience. The four-cylinder 2.0-litre D4 engine, tested here, feels to be a right-powered unit - rarely struggling to provide the necessary power while never straining at the leash to lurch forwards.

The 190hp is enough to take the four-wheel-drive car from a standing start to 90mph in a respectable 8.8 seconds, which feels sufficient for a vehicle of this ilk.

The car comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is generally very smooth but seems to take a while to react when you want to get the power down in a hurry.

In terms of handling, the fact the ride height has been raised by 60mm doesn’t impact on the vehicle’s cornering abilities on the normal roads.

Indeed, it feels every bit as stable round corners as the normal V90, with very little in the way of body roll.

The heightened ride, as well as its intended goal of helping the vehicle negotiate difficult terrain, has the added benefit of giving a commanding view of the road ahead, with excellent all-round visibility for the driver.

We didn’t get chance to test the V90 Cross Country off-road but, for those who do, the drive-control system gains an off-road mode, which operates at speeds under 25mph and brings hill-descent control and other safety systems into action.

In terms of practicality and space, this vehicle is an utter dream.

There is plenty of space in the rear for two adults or three children, and a vast number of storage pockets and cubby holes in the cabin. The capacious boot offers not less than 560 litres of space and ease-of-use is helped by the absence of a bottom lip and the fact that the tailgate is automatically powered.

As ever, safety is one of Volvo’s strong points. The vehicle has a robust, solidly-built feel to it, while there is also a long list of electronic driver aids and accident-prevention systems to help the driver out when necessary.

All in all, it’s a superb package for the money, combining a touch of elegance, a dollop of ruggedness and the normal well-built qualities associated with the Swedish firm.