THERE was once a time when the prospect of driving a VW T-Roc would have been akin to watching paint dry in my not-to-do list but it’s amazing just how much one’s tastes change as the years progress.

The chief reason for this comes in two small packages: two-year-old Mia and six-year-old Arthur. Children who - despite their diminutive size - somehow come with no end of essential baggage whether it’s for nursery, school or a day out.

T-Rocs - and indeed its rivals - have become firm favourites with families because they share much of their underpinnings with the hatchbacks in their respective manufacturer’s ranks but come in a loftier package.

That’s maybe not great for driving dynamics, but it’s hardly a priority for families whose sole car-buying purpose is practicality. Driving a smaller SUV such as a T-Roc or traditionally cheaper rivals like the Nissan Juke just instil a safer feeling when you’re on the road - and that’s key when your bundles of joy are in the back.

However, the T-Roc now has more road presence than ever before following a mid-life refresh which has afforded bigger front air intakes, LED headlights as standard and an LED light bar on higher-spec models that runs the width of the front grille, as seen on top-end Golfs. It’s a good-looking car, of that there’s no doubt.

What’s more - in the engine department - is that there’s something for everyone, ranging from a 110bhp 1.0-litre to the range-topping 2.0-litre turbo found in the 296bhp T-Roc R. In truth, the three-cylinder in the entry-level version is enough and it’s a charismatic little thing, offering a nippy turn of speed and 50mpg with ease on decent-length runs.

This version - the 1.5 petrol - has 150bhp and VW’s flawless seven-speed DSG gearbox so it’s a perfect go-between, but factor in its £41,000 price tag and it’s not hard to see why many have plumped for cheaper versions.

Inside, it’s typical VW fare: quality, well-made and class-leading, making an absolute mockery of Nissans, Fords and Hyundais. In this plusher R-Line trim, small ‘R’ badges are stitched into its chunkier seats and there’s a shiny badge on its brilliant steering wheel, but even in standard guise its interior is most definitely a strong point. However, model-wide touch-sensitive buttons control everything from the infotainment system to the climate controls, and they will irritate you until you master them.

The T-Roc’s boot is a practical square shape, and at 445 litres it’s slightly larger than its rivals’ offerings, so it’s another tick in that essential box.

So, if you’re after something that’s practical, cheap to run, is brimming with quality and looks great - especially in R-Line trim - the class-leading T-Roc is the one given its can-do-all traits.

A brilliant family car.