THE T-Cross was unveiled recently as Volkswagen's latest and smallest SUV.
In a rapidly growing sector of the market - VW estimate worldwide sales will grow from around 6.4 million cars to 10.6 million over the next ten years - nothing has been left to chance with the new addition.
It says compact on the tin but don't confuse that with being cramped as the T-Cross can accommodate up to five adults in a modern interior which boasts class-leading load space that can be adjusted to suit. This is achieved with the help of a clever sliding rear seat which allows boot capacity to be altered from 385 litres to 455 litres of space.
The T-Cross may be just two inches longer than a Polo supermini but when you fold down the rear seats more than 1,200 litres of room becomes available.
It is offered in the UK with a choice of two fuel efficient 1.0-litre turbocharged engines in two states of tune.
The more powerful 115ps motor under the bonnet of the car on show here is a punchy individual that uses it's three cylinders - allied to a slick six-speed manual gearbox - to power the T-Cross from 0-62mph in a shade over ten seconds before heading on to a top speed of 120mph.
It is a smooth cruiser on the motorway as well as providing the zip and agility necessary for the urban setting where this front-wheel-drive motor will spend its time. Although it has the classic off-road looks there will be no rough stuff for the T-Cross - a fact that will matter not to school-run parents who will love its style and king of the road driving position as well as supermini levels of fuel economy at just under 50 to the gallon. Emissions are rated at 112g/km.
The drive is decent and the ride comfortable with the suspension smoothing out any uneven road surfaces. The handling is sure-footed with good levels of grip. You immediately notice one of the many safety systems as the steering corrects the car automatically via lane assist if it starts to drift.
It is part of a raft of technology designed to keep you out of trouble and includes pedestrian sensing and emergency braking systems as well as blind spot detection and rear traffic alert.
The SEL grade is third up the food chain and improves on the S and SE models by offering sat nav. Also thrown in is VW's Car-Net system - so you can hook up your smartphone - as well as snazzy 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, rear tinted glass, silver roof rails, two-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, plus an uprated infotainment system. The flagship R-line model adds 18-inch alloys and a plethora of upgrades.
The exterior is pleasing to look at with the baby of the SUV fleet following the same styling template as bigger siblings the T-Roc, Tiguan and Touareg.