VW reaches into premium territory with emotive T-Roc crossover
Volkswagen’s fourth sport utility vehicle is a sexy, lifestyle-orientated crossover that further confirms the German volume brand’s march into premium territory.
While the T-Roc badge seems unusually obtuse, the vehicle itself recognises the global growth in demand for versatile, emotively presented SUVs that offer both flexibility and design appeal. Simplistically put, it’s VW’s take on the Audi Q2.
Like its Audi counterpart, the T-Roc expresses a coupé-like design thanks to a broad C-pillar, high waistline and steeply raked windscreen, as well as a low and wide stance that’s more sport than utility.
Most of all, the T-Roc hopes to attract trendy buyers who demand an individual, expressive and emotive style that’s not necessarily been associated with the traditionally pragmatic, safe image of the VW brand before.
Key design elements include a broad, wide grille that tapers into the slim LED headlights on either side, and is partnered by a large lower intake, while a metallic scuff plate adds some SUV attitude.
In profile, the short overhangs suggest agility, although the ride height is elevated enough to confirm at least a measure of all-terrain capability. The T-Roc’s muscular haunches are emphasised by the wide C-pillar, while the rear features prominent LED taillight clusters, an apron with integrated exhausts, and a rear scuff plate.
The interior is a far cry from the bland but functional VW cockpits we’ve become accustomed to. Loads of tech is provided by the configurable Active Info Display and comprehensive connectivity features, while the newcomer offers extensive scope for personalisation including trim panels in different colours, and a variety of executions.
The T-Roc rides on the MQB platform, suggesting supple and agile handling, while the interior should still be spacious enough for four or even five occupants. Boot space is a useful 445 litres.
The drivetrain will offer a choice of turbo petrol and turbodiesel engines, with VW’s 1,0-litre, three-cylinder TSI likely at the entry point, and the 1,4-litre TSI the mainstream choice. Buyers will be able to choose between a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and six-speed manual gearbox, while 4Motion all-wheel drive is also on the options list.
Pricing will be key to the T-Roc’s positioning. Already, the larger Tiguan has shown VW’s move into more upmarket territory in terms of both execution and price, and the T-Roc is expected to continue the trend. In a price-sensitive market like South Africa, that could make for an interesting marketing strategy – and a looming battle with Audi.
The new VW T-Roc should go on sale in SA during the first quarter of 2018, following its world public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.