THE growing band of compact crossovers has a new member in the camp from next month when Volkswagen launches its smallest SUV in the shape of the T-Cross.
It's a kind of junior version of the bigger Tiguan and is based on the Polo platform, which is also used in the current SEAT Ibiza and Audi A1.
But the two major differences with the new five-door T-Cross is that there will be no four-wheel-drive and no diesel engines either.
The first cars are being offered only with 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines and with a choice of two power outputs - 94 or 113bhp.
The range trims are typical VW starting with the S, which comes in at £16,995, on to the SE from £18 795, the SEL - driven here and costing £21,650 - and then the R-Line which is priced from £23,550.
There's a choice of five- or six-speed manual gearboxes and a really impressive seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
The best-seller is expected to be the SE 113bhp with it's six-speed manual gearbox.
VW bosses know the compact crossover sector is gaining popularity all the time - the T-Cross is up against the likes of the Renault Captur, Nissan Juke and Peugeot 2008 and the VW group's own SEAT Arona - and Volkswagen simply had to have a competitor.
Volkswagen says the key to the new T-Cross was that it was not too expensive, practical and economical to run yet having all the renowned VW qualities in terms of furnishings and fittings.
It's certainly practical being two inches longer and six inches taller than the Polo and it has noticeably more interior space both front and back and offers more cabin room than any current supermini.
The T-Cross looks smart enough with the usual VW type of body design and what will immediately appeal to punters is that it's not too large a car yet there is bags of room inside.
It looks particularly distinctive from the back with a reflector strip positioned right across the hatch making an attractive body line.
And while some of interior refinements don't come quite up to the high standards of say the Golf, the T-Cross is nonetheless no slouch.
As for the interior space, the T-Cross has decent enough headroom in both the front and back seats and with boot space of 385 litres it's slightly bigger than the Polo.
The rear seats slide some 14cm to give more versatile space. With the rear seats down luggage capacity extends to 1,455 litres.
Even the entry-level S specification models have an impressive equipment list that includes an eight-inch infotainment screen, automatic headlights, emergency braking, lane assist, blind spot monitors and electric door mirrors.
The 1.0-litre engines in the T-Cross are well proven with the 113bhp providing an overall slightly better performance but for three-cylinders they are remarkably quiet out on the road, very flexible and responsive.
Overall the new T-Cross will mix in well with the current batch of compact crossovers and whilst it's not exactly an exciting car to drive it's offering a more mature style, is safe as houses, practical but not flashy or flimsy in it's make up.
For drivers who may be put off by the size, complex make up and expense of the bigger VW SUVs this smaller and more manageable sized will clearly fit the bill.