I wouldn’t normally sing the praises of a Volvo Cross Country model, but in the absence of an XC40, this is as close as you’ll get to a compact SUV from the Swedish car maker, ready to take on the likes of Audi’s Q3 and BMW’s X1.

And given these cars are designed for occasional off-road use – such as muddy gymkhana events or ski holidays – there’s no reason why the new V40 Cross Country won’t be just as capable as its German counterparts.

The V40 is a spacious, yet compact car at 4,369 mm in length, which compares favourably with the Q3 – 4,385 mm and X1 – 4,477 mm.

Volvo describe the V40 CC as “..a more rugged looking V40, with an extrovert, expressive character..” It certainly earns full marks for its rugged looks, in fact in some respects it looks more sporty than the recently announced R-Design model – apart from its 50mm higher ride height.

Volvo’s Lex Kerssemakers, SVP of Product Strategy, prefers to describe the new V40 CC as “..designed for those who want a sense of adventure in their everyday life.”

And if adventure is what you’re looking for, then you won’t go far wrong with the 250bhp turbocharged 5-cylinder T5 model which will sprint from 0-60 mph in just 6.0 seconds. (That’s got your attention now, hasn’t it?)

There are of course other engines available – two fuel-efficient diesels; D2 (113bhp, 285Nm of torque, 74mpg and 99 g/km) and D4 (175bhp, 400Nm of torque, 64mpg and 117 g/km) and the T4 petrol (177bhp, 270Nm of torque, 51mpg and 129 g/km), but of course it’s the T5 we’re most interested in with its 250bhp / 400Nm of torque, 34mpg and proper hot-hatch performance.

Both turbo-diesels are available with a six-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox, while the T5 comes with automatic transmission only.

All-Wheel-Drive as standard on the T5, so if you’re looking for the full ur-quattro experience, that’s the model to go for.

The T5 AWD also features Hill Descent Control and the practical Hill Hold function, which makes starting far easier on inclines. While all models in the range comes with Volvo’s start/stop and braking energy regeneration systems.

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Key features of the Cross Country styling include; silver roof rails, alloy wheels up to 19-inches, contrasting front bumper, honeycomb mesh grille, upright day-running lights, sculpted contrasting sills and a contrasting rear bumper with integrated skid plate.

Inside the ‘Raw Copper’ exterior launch colour is echoed in the contrasting stitching – and can be emphasized further by choosing the Copper Dawn centre stack inlay (but for the sake of decency and good taste, please don’t).

Also available inside is Volvo’s ‘mood lighting’ feature, which makes use of LED lamps in strategic areas to adjust the feel and ambience of the V40’s interior. The driver can enjoy a red-to-blue setting that adapts the light to the interior temperature, or choose between another seven mood themes. The reading lights front and rear can also be dimmed.

Perhaps the most innovative feature on the V40 CC is the ‘keep in touch’ feature, available as iPhone or Android app, which enables the driver to stay in touch with the car when its parked. Using an extension of Volvo On Call, the app enables information about their car to be viewed on a mobile phone, so a driver can check fuel levels before starting their journey, find out wiper fluid or oil levels, or check whether the car has been locked.

The app is free to download and then sync with the car.

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No prices are available yet for the V40 Cross Country, but will be announced in early October before production begins in November. Customer deliveries are expected to start during January 2013.