After months of releasing teaser after teaser after teaser after teaser, Volkswagen has finally unveiled its smallest, dinkiest SUV, the T-Cross. It’s the latest addition to Wolfsburg’s expanded SUV range, joining the T-Roc, the US- and China-only Atlas/Teramont seven-seater and brand stalwarts the Tiguan and Touareg.

It rides on the same MQB A0 platform as the Polo and it’s just as tiny, measuring just 4.11 metres long. The wheelbase is 2.65 metres long, which VW says provides enough space for five people, and the rear seats slide fore and aft for extra legroom. The boot holds between 385 and 455 litres depending on the position of the rear seats, and up to 1,281 litres with those 60:40-split seats folded.

Visually, the T-Cross looks as compact as it actually is, and wears the typical Volkswagen corporate front end with a wide-set grille and integrated headlights (LEDs available). Underneath, what at first glance appears to be a broad bone-shaped air intake is actually completely blanked off; the real inlet sits underneath.

Large fog lights add to the T-Cross’ chunky aesthetic, as do the distinctive twin character lines along the sides. Moving to the rear, the black-framed C-shaped LED tail lights are joined together by a full-width reflective strip across the tailgate, emphasising the car’s width. Buyers can choose from 12 paint options and wheels that measure between 16 and 18 inches in diameter.

Step inside and you’ll find a dashboard that resembles the one in the Polo, dominated by a large swathe of decorative trim. It’s available in either Black, Energetic Orange and Bamboo Garden, and is matched with the seat upholstery, steering wheel trim and centre console.

Like its regular hatchback sibling, the T-Cross is available with the digital Active Info Display instrument cluster and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen – both sit along the same axis for improved visibility for all passengers, with the centre air vents sitting lower down. Also on offer are up to four USB ports, Qi wireless smartphone charging and a 300-watt Beats sound system.

At launch, the T-Cross is available with a 1.0 litre TSI turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, producing 95 PS at 5,500 rpm and 175 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 3,500 rpm. There’s also a higher-output version that delivers 115 PS and 200 Nm, resulting in a zero-to-100 km/h time of 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 193 km/h. On the diesel side, the 1.6 litre TDI four-pot turbodiesel makes 95 PS and 250 Nm.

Shortly after, a 1.5 litre TSI four-pot will also make an appearance, churning out 150 PS from 5,000 and 6,000 rpm and 250 Nm between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm and allowing the T-Cross to sprint to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds before hitting a top whack of 220 km/h. Manual and DSG dual-clutch transmissions are available.

Safety kit is comprehensive, with standard Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Brake, Lane Assist warning, Blind Spot Detection with Parking and Manoeuvring Assist and a proactive occupant protection system that closes the windows, tightens the seat belts and adds brake pressure if it senses a potential collision. A Driver Alert System, adaptive cruise control and Park Assist are optional.