Volkswagen is confident that its all-new Volkswagen T-Roc will seriously shake up the compact SUV market thanks to strong styling on the outside and a raft of premium, class-leading driver safety systems on the inside.
Despite being the world's leading automotive company in terms of total sales thanks to its ownership of everything from Audi and Bentley to Bugatti, Lamborghini and Skoda, Volkswagen's core brand has been surprisingly bereft of SUVs and crossovers. But that is all about to change and the new T-Roc should be seen as the company, best known for the all-conquering Golf hatchback, putting the rest of the industry on alert.
"The T-Roc sets a new benchmark in the booming SUV segment. With its functionality, dynamic handling and technology, the T-Roc embodies all good Volkswagen qualities. It marks a milestone in our SUV offensive," exclaimed VW's chairman Dr Herbert Diess while unveiling the car to the press.
In other words, the T-Roc will be the first of many new crossovers and SUVs of all shapes and sizes that the company will be launching between now and the end of the decade. And, as it's where the greatest demand and competition appears to be, VW is starting with the compact SUV class where Nissan is currently king.
To ensure the car stands out, VW has gone for an almost aggressively sporty exterior look. The car has a very high waist line and bulging wheel arches, while the roof follows an exaggerated coupé curve.
Yet despite this compact muscular exterior, VW claims the car has class-leading interior space; with all seats in use there are 445 litres of luggage space and with the rear seats folded flat it jumps to 1,290 litres.
But more importantly, it is in a class of its own when it comes to luxury appointments, connectivity and active driver aids. Even the base model will come with pedestrian monitoring and emergency autonomous braking, plus a lane-keeping assist system and VW's post-collision braking system which stops the car from moving immediately after an accident to prevent further injuries.
However, move up the range or pick up the options book and there are 10 further high-tech systems on offer, including adaptive cruise control, park assist, blind spot monitoring and traffic jam assist for taking over the stop -start driving nature of being stuck on a congested highway.
As for engines, there will be an initial choice of three turbocharged gasoline or diesel units along with the option of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and either fully manual or paddle-operated dual-clutch transmission.
The T-Roc will go on sale in November and the base model will cost from €20,000 in its native Germany.