New Volkswagen T-Roc hopes to make compact SUVs interesting

Volkswagen finally plugs the compact SUV-sized gap in its range with the new T-Roc

Volkswagen has revealed its new T-Roc, a funky compact SUV with unique styling. It’s based on a concept car of the same name revealed back in 2014.

The crowded compact SUV segment is full of fairly mundane options, but VW is hoping to wipe away that staid image with the new T-Roc. Based on the same MQB platform as most of the VW range, the new T-Roc will sit under the Tiguan size-wise, offering a variety of six turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. 

> Click here for our preview of the Skoda Karoq

Both engine types will be available with 114bhp, 148bhp and 187bhp outputs, with entry 114bhp cars being available only in front-wheel drive form paired to a six-speed manual. Mid-spec engines will have the option of a seven-speed DSG, while the high-powered cars will be available exclusively with 4Motion all-wheel drive and a DSG gearbox.

The all-wheel drive system itself is based on the same Haldex system seen elsewhere on the MQB platform, running mostly in front wheel drive until slip is detected. There is an ‘off-road’ mode, but this does little more than make the rear axle more reactive and slacken off the traction control.

Sharing its platform with the Golf, the T-Roc will benefit from the same suite of active and passive safety systems, as well as other options like adaptive dampers and switchable driver modes – all very grown up stuff for a compact SUV.

> Click here for our review of the Mazda CX-3

Styling-wise the T-Roc borrows much from the concept, featuring the same styling elements like the ‘targa bar’ C-pillar, wraparound rear screen and curved rear haunches. These are all combined with a swept back silhouette, the end result being surprisingly dynamic for a compact SUV.

At the front the T-Roc mimics the conjoined headlight and grill aesthetic in the Volkswagen Arteon, offering optional LED headlights and natty LED daytime running lights. 

As is becoming more common in the compact SUV class, VW is talking up the T-Roc’s personalisation options, including the ability to select two different styling packages and contrasting roof finishes. VW will also let you add various R-Line styling elements, including larger wheels and sportier bumper treatments.

> Click here for our review of the SEAT Ateca

Inside is typically Volkswagen with a blocky, layered look brightened up with some exterior colour-matched trim. Infotainment options will include the usual range of VW systems, topped by an 8-inch high res option sitting beneath a glass covering. VW will also offer its second generation ‘active info display’ from the latest Polo, replacing the traditional analogue dials in front of the driver.

Considering it’s based on the same highly polished platform as the Golf, we suspect the T-Roc might be one of the better handling compact SUVs on sale. Rumours have also persisted of a high performance R variant, but we will have to wait and see if VW give that model the go ahead.

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