We’re out here in Switzerland awaiting the start of the Geneva motor show tomorrow. But just before Autocar goes into its annual new car frenzy, I thought I’d revisit a slightly older model – the Volvo XC90.

Why? Because the XC90’s baby brother, the XC60, is being launched here tomorrow and Volvo’s hoping that this all-new compact 4x4 will attract more than 50,000 new buyers per year to the brand. It reckons most of these buyers will be young, thrusting, outdoors types – the sort who’d have an XC90 if it weren’t so big and expensive.

And I reckon that, if the XC60 is nearly as capable as the XC90 I’ve been driving, then the Swedes could be on to a winner.

We’ve been using a XC90 D5 Lux to cruise between snowy Alpine towns over the weekend, and I’d forgotten just how good this now six-year-old, seven-seat SUV is. It’s practical, classy and comfortable, the 2.7-litre turbo diesel easily returned around 30mpg, low-down grunt and 4WD got us through the snow hassle-free and it’s proved pleasingly agile on twisty mountain roads too.

Massive luggage space, heated seats and that split rear tailgate, which folds down to provide a bench, makes the XC90 well-suited to outdoor activities. We packed a load of skiing gear in and changed boots and clothes while sitting on the rear.