According to VW’s head of R&D Frank Welsch, the Volkswagen T-Roc is “not like a normal SUV,” but is that truly accurate? Can the new T-Roc, that has been unveiled just recently, compete against the rivals in one of the most crowded markets?
Volkswagen produced the T-Roc to fight for its position against the fierce small SUV competitors. It will be slotted beneath the Tiguan, but it will provide “more emotion” than any other car produced by the company, said Welsch during his drive in one of the late-prototypes. The new model will be more rakish than any other VW SUV we have seen, and it will be equipped with the distinctive front end, thick aluminum side panels and 20-inch wheels.
The new vehicle will hit the market in December this year with the starting price of about £19,000. The T-Roc is expected to be similar in size to the Nissan Juke, which will be its biggest rival together with the Mini Countryman and Vauxhall Mokka X. Some would say that the Nissan Qashqai is also a competitor here despite the price and practicality of the new T-Roc. “All our cars are successful because of luggage room, and room for passengers,” said Welsch, “and this car has even more room than you’ll find in a Golf.”
Of course, there is more legroom and headroom in the new car than in the Golf, but the trunk will also be larger – 440 liters compared to the 385 liters of Golf’s rear. The T-Roc and the Golf are similar in some aspects, but underneath the skin, the new model bears a resemblance to the Audi Q2, which is nothing surprising since it is based on the modular MQB platform.
The front end of the new VW T-Roc is shorter whereas the rear overhang is longer than the one of the Golf and its ride is 8cm higher as well. When it comes to the engine options, Volkswagen will launch six units at the beginning. There will be three diesel and three petrol powerplants, and they will produce 114bhp, 147bhp, and 187bhp. You, as a driver, will be able to choose either 2WD or 4WD as well as the manual transmission or DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The VW T-Roc will come with multi-link suspension. “We have SUV genes in here, so we can do more than a Golf does. You sit higher. The wheels are bigger. Lots of things are different, so we put multi-link in here,” said Welsch. He also told us that the new Arteon changed the VW’s exterior for the better, he added that T-Roc “inside and out has more emotion than you would normally expect from a Volkswagen.”
Inside we expect to see colored trim and neat ambient lights, and we cannot wait for the official unveiling. The T-Roc will be something different coming from VW, indeed. However, the new design flair has nothing to do with T-Roc’s driving abilities. Welsch continued: “We have a clear idea of how a Volkswagen should be, and this is what we’ve tried to reach here. We’ve also made this car more quiet, from wind noise and road noise and so on. People like more and more comfort.”
Moreover, we expect cutting-edge infotainment and safety. “This is a 100% online car,” said Welsch. VW’s SUV range will be fantastic shortly with the introduction of a smaller SUV based on the T-Cross Breeze concept, which will sit beneath the T-Roc as well as two variants of the Tiguan and a new Touareg which comes out later this year.
“Everywhere, in all markets — China, America, Africa — this is a very stable trend,” explained Welsch, “and this is why we say that what could be next is not all boxy SUVs but more crossover concepts and coupé- like concepts like the T-Roc.” Volkswagen is late with the introduction of the SUVs. Welsch concluded: “I don’t know why we are late. With the Touran we were late, the Sharan we were late. I cannot explain why, but here we are. I’m happy to have this car now.”