Volkswagen T-Roc | The third rock
Just like the family in that eponymous series, the T-Roc is a world apart from the regular SUVs on our roads. But unlike that family, the T-Roc makes no effort to blend in, cutting a striking shape that turns heads from here, all the way to Mars
Don't know about you but the lockdown has given us plenty of time to think, ponder, daydream, and make lists. Of relevance to this magazine is the list of cars that we’re itching to get into as soon as things open up and we hit the roads. And at the very top of that list is the funky Volkswagen T-Roc.
The big selling point of the T-Roc has to be its styling. Have you seen a cooler-looking SUV in recent times? If we had to put it into perspective, this is kind of like the Beetle of the SUV world. A style statement. Funky. Vibrant. Fun. And it puts a big wide smile on your face. The LED DRLs in the bumper delivers a distinctive light signature while the low and wide grille visually ties it in with the rest of the Volkswagen range, including the Tiguan Allspace. Speaking of being tied-in to the range, T stands for SUV in Volkswagen-speak, linking the T-Cross to its big brothers the Touraeg and Tiguan, and also its younger brother the Taigun, that is coming next year. The T-Cross actually gives us a good sense of what to expect from the Taigun, since this is the first VW SUV in India to be based on the MQB platform — a platform that in A0-IN spec is being engineered and localised for India.
In terms of dimensions, the T-Roc is a good 4.2 metres in length, which delivers strong street presence while also being compact and sporty. Point to note is that despite the funkiness, the T-Roc doesn’t abandon VW’s crisp, elegant, tightly pinched and timeless lines — lines that deliver design longevity and don’t age as quickly as other radical designs. The curving roofline and sloping C-pillars give it a coupe-like profile while the wide and long-slung stance adds further meat to the sporty credentials. And all the show is backed up by go!
The T-Roc will debut the 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine in India, a direct-injection turbocharged motor that will soon proliferate across the Group. Kicking out 148bhp of power and 250Nm of torque and mated to the DSG twin-clutch automatic, the T-Roc will deliver enthusiastic performance. And as the editor discovered when he drove the T-Roc in Amsterdam last year, the handling is equally exciting. “The underlying sense that all these MQB cars deliver is a very Germanic stability that lets you max it out on motorways without a shake or wiggle while also being very accomplished round corners,” said the editor after his drive. “T-Roc’s setup is more sporty than what you would associate with a traditional SUV, a shift that VW points out is part of its move towards more emotional cars.”
We must also mention that the engine will set new benchmarks for efficiency what with Active Cylinder Technology that cuts out two cylinders when the power is not required, thus improving on efficiency. And as for the cabin, the T-Roc’s exterior funkiness continues to the insides with body-coloured or contrasting interior panels to brighten up the cabin, strips of ambient lighting and plenty of techy details. Facing the driver is VW’s 10.3-inch secondgeneration Active Info Display that replaces traditional dials and is similar to what we have seen on the Tiguan Allspace. The infotainment is via an 8-inch touchscreen that enables a reduction in button count, all of which makes the T-Roc feel more modern. India-spec cars will get a panoramic sunroof that adds light and air into the cabin without impacting head room especially of rear passengers. And sporty vibes are delivered by the chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel. As the editor concluded, “It’s a happy place, that’s for sure.”
What distinguishes the T-Roc is the completeness of the package. It doesn’t sacrifice practicality at the altar of style. It delivers both a polished ride and enthusiastic handling that brings to mind hot hatches, not SUVs. It has a peppy TSI engine that makes the chassis work for its lunch. And it has a cabin that keeps in step with the funky exteriors. Priced at `19.99 lakh, it’s no surprise Volkswagen already have orders in the bag with deliveries to kick off in line with the opening up of businesses. And that means our test car is also on the way. Cannot wait to get behind the wheel.