Volkswagen might not have been an early arrival at the compact sports utility vehicle party but its cool contender has rocked up with plenty of pizazz.

The sleek T-Roc’s eye-catching styling comes from a wide and long stance matched to a relatively low roofline and steeply raked C-pillars.

Thankfully the five-seater’s bold looks are more than matched by its Golf-sized practicality, with plenty of space both in the cabin and the bootspace.

And, just as importantly, the T-Roc blends an engaging ride and handling with excellent comfort.

Sitting in size beneath the popular Tiguan and above the forthcoming new T-Cross small SUV, the T-Roc is part of Volkswagen’s ongoing SUV offensive that includes a seven-seater Allspace version of the Tiguan and, at the top of the range, a revised Touareg.

The T-Roc is likely to spend most of its time on the straight and narrow so front-wheel-drive versions will be the big sellers, though a 4x4 option is there for those who need it.

The car driven here was powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine capable of delivering 150 horsepower that makes for rapid acceleration and relaxed high-speed cruising.

The engine packs a neat technological trick in being able to automatically deactivate two of the four cylinders to cut consumption. Volkswagen says the process is ‘essentially imperceptible’ to the driver and I quite agree, though my wife in the front passenger seat said she could detect when the two cylinders cut out by a slight increase in noise, her claim backed by a display that indicates which engine mode is active.

Priced from £18,950, the T-Roc is being offered in S, SE, Design, SEL and R-Line trims.

Standard equipment across the range includes dual-zone electronic climate control; an ‘infotainment’ system with eight-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth telephone and audio connection, DAB radio reception, USB connectivity and charging, and six 20W speakers and  a set of alloy wheels measuring a minimum of 16 inches.

The test car came in Design trim which offer a wide variety of styling features from chrome-effect trapezoid exhaust tailpipe surrounds to a choice of contrasting roof, A-pillar and door mirror housing colours; rear tinted glass from B-pillar backwards; and sport-styled bumpers with silver-metallic underbody protection.

Inside, Design models provide a choice of coloured dashboard and interior door panels alongside standard features such as ambient lighting in the front footwells and light strips below the front door trims.

Technology is a key selling point in modern cars and the T-Roc, that is built in Volkswagen’s plant near Lisbon, Portugal, has it in abundance. The eight-inch infotainment systems can be extended with App Connect (integrated MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from Google). In addition, Volkswagen also offers a ‘security and service’ package in the new T-Roc with features that include a 999 button, automatic accident notification and roadside assistance.

Standard safety features include automatic post-collision braking; the active lane keeping system lane assist; a front assist area monitoring system with pedestrian monitoring and city emergency braking. The test car also came with a driver alert system that constantly monitors the driver and spots when you need to take a break, flashing up visual and audible warnings that are impossible to ignore.

And if you are running low on fuel not only will the car warn you when you have 50 miles left in the tank but also direct you to the nearest filling station.

The T-Roc is one of Volkswagen’s most stylish, technologically advanced cars to date and a classy addition to the expanding SUV sector.

Auto facts

Model: Volkswagen T-Roc Design 1.5 TSI EVO

Price: £27,375 as tested

Insurance group: 16E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 53.3mpg

Top speed: 127mph

Length: 423.4cm/166.7in

Width: 199.2cm/78.4in

Luggage capacity: 15.7 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 11 gallons/50 litres

CO2 emissions: 120g/km

Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles