THE compact SUV market is one of the most important in the UK automotive arena with high stakes placed on potential successes.
We have seen it happen with the Nissan Qashqai, the Ford Kuga and the Honda CR-V and now there is a new kid on the block.
Well, not exactly new because the VW Tiguan has been around for some time. But in its latest form it comes up fast on the outside rails to be a much more formidable contender for the sales honours in the SUV sector which is netting more and more of the traditional car market.
The first new VW since the company was hit by the diesel emissions scandal, the new Tiguan was revealed at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show is now on British roads.
It represents a big break from its successful predecessor becoming the first Volkswagen SUV to sit on the company's MQB platform which means it benefits from the latest technology and shares much of its underpinnings with models such as the Golf and Passat.
It is lower, wider and longer than the old Tiguan and has some neat styling touches such the frontal look formed by the radiator grille and the optional LED projection headlights. This reinforces the car's powerful impression and upright stance.
At the sides the waist and character lines as well as muscular wheel arches attest to the creativity of the designers under the leadership of the talented Klaus Bischoff.
It features seven new engines which are all EU6 compliant. Diesel models are expected to account for more than 90 per cent of all Tiguan sales.
In the UK the most popular is likely to be the 2.0 TDI 150ps manual with 4MOTION in SE Navigation trim with sales roughly split between fleet and retail buyers. Prices range from £22,510 to £36,375.
But there is a rising tide of buyers who want a compact SUV with two-wheel drive only and Tiguan caters for them with models like the SE Navigation 2.0 TDI 150ps manual which I drove at the model's launch in the UK.
This is a well-specified version which costs £28,035 and for a car getting on towards £30,000 you expect a lot.
And it certainly delivers, not just in gadgets but in a quality of construction that is absolutely impressive. It also leaves nothing to chance on performance with a top speed of 127mph and a 0-62mph sprint of 9.3 seconds.
Economy is high on the list with a combined mpg figure of 58.9 which is no pie in the sky. On an hour's run on varying roads I managed 54mpg which certainly ticks the box by today's standards.
The advanced platform of this car ensures fine, taut handling worthy of a sports saloon.
All new diesel powered Tiguan models come fitted with a so-called selective catalytic reduction (SCR) filter to help rein in nitrous oxide emissions.
The Tiguan also picks up developments from the latest Passat, specifically in the form of the optionalActive Info Displayhigh-definition instrument panel. There is also an optional head-up display.
The new Tiguan has to be a winner for VW. Its mix of quality good looks, performance and economy will make it a hard act to follow.