I remember after passing my driving test my brother gave me a sage piece of advice on car buying: “Make sure it’s big, as cars are made to shift lots of stuff.”

As we had both grown up as motorcyclists I knew what he meant, because if you don’t have loads of paraphernalia to move then you are much better off on two wheels.

If you are looking for a large car, they don’t come much bigger or better than the classy Volvo V90, a vehicle that demonstrates estate cars still have a bright future.

Now if you take an already impressive estate car and raise its capability by a few notches you have the V90 Cross Country, with its range of go-anywhere abilities such as all-wheel-drive, increased ride height and a chassis tweaked to ensure comfort and control in all weather and road conditions.

For Volvo fans who really want to push the boat out, no pun intended, there is the special Cross Country Ocean Race, a special version launched to mark Volvo’s two decades of backing for the tough round-the-world yacht race that is held every three years.

Volvo handed the job of developing the car to a group of designers and engineers in its special vehicles department, a purpose-built facility at its base in Torslanda, Sweden.

The engineers there specialise in creating bespoke models and are also responsible for Volvo Cars’ ultra-luxurious models, as well as the police version of the V90.

The Ocean Race version uses a special colour palette inside and out that instantly sets it apart from other 90 series models. Matt grey and bright orange details, first shown on the Volvo Concept XC Coupé back in 2014, are combined with a Crystal White exterior colour and special wheels and stitching.

It also includes a range of standard features such as an integrated, detachable torchlight, extra power outlets and smart dirt- and water-resistant materials.

Volvo donated €300,000 from sales of the special edition to equip boats taking part in the ocean race with scientific equipment to investigate the problem of ocean plastics. A neat touch in the car itself is the use of Econyl, a fabric made from 100% recycled nylon including abandoned fishing nets reclaimed from the seabed, in the construction of the floor mats.

All this is icing on the cake for a seriously substantial, massively spacious and beautifully balanced car that is as at home picking its way along a rough country track, as it is sailing quietly along a motorway.

The car is mightily well equipped and its wide range of systems from satellite navigation and climate control to hands-free telephone and audio, are all simply controlled by an intuitive iPad Mini-sized, nine-inch centre console touchscreen.

Some of the systems do not even need the touchscreen, as a surprisingly easy-to-use voice-activated control system can take care of many functions without lifting a finger from the heated steering wheel.

The technology on board, particularly on the safety front, is far too much to list here. Suffice to say it covers everything from fully automatic braking, should a pedestrian, cyclist or large animal step into your path, to a ‘pilot assist’ system that helps with steering, accelerator and braking to keep the car in its lane and at a pre-set cruising speed.

A neat touch in the instrumentation worthy of mention is a display not only of the current speed limit in force, which flashes if you stray above it, but a corresponding red line on the outside of the speedometer dial, to ensure you know the limit.

My brother, by the way, is much better at giving advice than taking it, as his car choices over the years have ranged from an MGB Roadster to a Peugeot 205 GTI and Alfa Romeo Giulietta – none of which are much use for shifting stuff. On the odd occasion he does need to move something really large, he calls me.

Auto facts

Model: Volvo V90 D4 Ocean Race Cross Country

Price: £54,345 as tested

Insurance group: 34E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 54.3mpg

Top speed: 130mph

Length: 493.6cm/193.8in

Width: 187.9cm/74in

Luggage capacity: 19.7 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

CO2 emissions: 138g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 100,000 miles