A few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I drove down the A3 into deepest West Sussex. It was my first chance to take the car I’d just bought out of the city and on the back roads of the countryside.

It wasn’t new but buying second-hand meant I could have a car I had admired when it was launched five years ago.

That car was a Skoda Octavia Scout estate. I had attended the model's launch in Italy and was impressed by its combination of huge luggage space and genuine off-road ability.

Perhaps it’s because I was a member of the original mountain bike generation (I bought my first MTB in 1984) but dual-purpose, go-anywhere-in-any-weather machines have always been my favourite type of transport.

Anyway, as I wound southwards on the A3, I enjoyed a timely reminder of the history of crossover vehicles. I passed a 1997 Subaru Forester (a car I had run as a long-termer when it was new), and was in turn passed by an early Volvo XC70, and the original Audi Allroad.

I well remember the launch of the Audi, held around the top of a mountain in Austria. The car’s combination of full-time four-wheel drive and air suspension made it supremely capable.