What is it?
A new compact SUV. Does the world need another one? Yes, according to Volkswagen, whose new T-Roc slots in below the full-fat Touareg and the mid-sized Tiguan, because 27% of new cars sold in Europe are now SUVs and, in five years' time, that figure is set to rise to 34%.
Two vital features of a new VW are found in the T-Roc: a very wide, boldly barred front grille and MQB underpinnings from the VW Group's modular platform kit. But for all this underskin standardisation, and the strictures around car engineering in today's crash-regulated world, the T-Roc is a highly individual piece of design. It has a roofline sloping significantly downwards to the rear, polished aluminium hoops to emphasise that line and a shallow glasshouse - all to hint at a coupé look. It manages to look like a crossover without actually appearing tall.
Then there are the strong, straight lines across the nose and the tail and tying together the bulged wheel arches. The sharpness of these lines, including the one crossing the front of the bonnet into the flipped-up ridges that head towards the windscreen pillars, is extraordinary. Precision is everywhere; every line has a reason to exist. There are no gratuitous slashes here, no tension-sapping folds and wacky angles, none of the curious metal-shaping that ends up looking like the aftermath of a fender bender that you see in too many new cars. The T-Roc manages to look smaller than it is, too, helping its owners feel pleased with their VW purchase in the post-Dieselgate world.