Volkswagen has taken the covers off its new T-Roc SUV in Italy after a lengthy teaser campaign. An important SUV for the German manufacturer, it marks the start of a line-up transformation that will see a renewal of the full VW range by 2020.
The T-Roc will make its public debut at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show before launching in the UK in December. The new five-seat crossover slots into the German car maker’s line-up beneath the Tiguan in the country, and gives buyers the choice of three petrol and two diesel engines in different states of tune, together with either front or 4Motion four-wheel drive.
One of two new VW SUV models planned for introduction by early 2019, the uniquely styled T-Roc was first previewed in concept car guise at the 2014 Geneva motor show.
The T-Roc will have a smaller sibling in the form of the production version of the smaller VW T-Cross Breeze concept revealed at the 2016 Geneva motor show, according to Wolfsburg sources.
The T-Roc is the latest VW model to be based on the company’s versatile MQB platform. It employs a MacPherson strut front and, depending on the engine and drive system, either a torsion beam or multi-link rear suspension in combination with an optional adaptive damper system.
In terms of design, the new SUV looks a lot like the earlier concept, with an exterior styled to emphasise its on-road and off-road character. VW boss Herbert Diess said that the new T-Roc would be "the new agility benchmark" in the class.
Among the key design cues is a new interpretation of the simple VW grille. It is framed by relatively thin headlights that are wrapped around the front fenders. The thin profile of the headlights has been made possible by a decision to house the LED daytime running lamps and cornering lamps lower down within the front bumper, which also receives a prominent trapezoidal-shaped cooling duct and silver-coloured kick plate within its lower section. The daytime running lamps serve as indicators as well, switching to an orange colour when the turn signals are in operation.
The sides are dominated by relatively large wheelhouses flanked by heavily structured wheel arches. Other distinguishing styling features include a swage line that runs back above the door handles to form a defined shoulder line, a chrome trim element extending from the A-pillar over the entire side of the roof before ending at the base of the wide C-pillars and, as optional, a two-tone paint scheme in which the roof section, including the A-pillars and exterior mirror housings, boast a contrasting colour to the rest of the T-Roc’s five-door steel body.
At 4234mm in length, 1819mm in width and 1573mm in height, the T-Roc is 252mm shorter, 11mm wider and, due to its more road-car-like ground clearance, a considerable 131mm lower than the second-generation Tiguan. Although the two VW models share the same 2603mm wheelbase, their track widths differ: the T-Roc’s front and rear tracks are 24mm and 31mm shorter than those of the Tiguan at 1546mm and 1572mm respectively.
Compared to the facelifted seventh-generation Golf that has launched in international markets, the new VW SUV is 21mm shorter, 21mm wider and 120mm higher. Its wheelbase is also 31mm shorter than the German car maker’s hatchback.
On the inside, the T-Roc boasts a dashboard similar in style to that already used by one of the various Golf versions, but with additional body coloured trim elements to help liven its appearance. The controls have also been brought over from other recently launched Volkswagen models, giving the new SUV a familiar cabin appearance.
The added body height in comparison with the Golf has enabled VW to provide the T-Roc with an SUV-like seating position; the front seats are mounted 572mm above the road, while the rear seats are set at a height of 618mm. Nominal boot capacity is put at 445 litres, which is 65 litres more than that offered by the Golf but a significant 170 litres shy of the Tiguan. With the standard 60/40 configured rear seat folded, capacity extends to 1290 litres.
The list of optional equipment is extensive. Included is the latest version of VW’s 11.3-inch active info display digital instrument pack, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display that comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, an inductive smartphone charge plate and a 300-watt, eight-channel Bose sound system.
In a bid to provide broad appeal, the T-Roc will be sold with a choice of five turbocharged engines, including three petrol units and two diesel engines. Depending on the model, buyers get to choose between a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual shift automatic gearbox, and either front or 4Motion four-wheel drive.
For the UK market, the petrol engines expected include a 115hp, 1.0-litre three-cylinder, VW’s newly introduced 150hp, 1.5-litre four-cylinder, and a 190hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The diesels include an 115hp, 1.6-litre four-cylinder and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, which develops either 150hp or 190hp.
A total of four models come with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive as standard. The 2.0 TSI and more powerful version of the 2.0 TDI come exclusively with a seven-speed ducal shift gearbox and 4Motion four-wheel drive – a combination that can also be ordered as an option on the 1.5 TSI and lower-powered 2.0 TDI.
T-Roc models equipped with 4Motion four-wheel drive receive a so-called active control function. It provides the choice between two on-road modes, street and snow, as well as two off-road modes, off-road and off-road individual. An optional feature on front-wheel-drive models, the 4Motion four-wheel-drive models also receive a driver profile function as standard. It allows the driver to choose between five modes: comfort, normal, sport, eco and individual.
VW claims the T-Roc leads its class in terms of driver assistant systems. Standard equipment on all models include automatic post-collision braking, active land keeping and a front monitoring system – the latter incorporating pedestrian monitoring and emergency braking. High-end models also receive a driver alert system.
Buyers can option the new SUV with additional functions, including road sign display, adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, blind spot monitoring, traffic jam assist, emergency assist, proactive occupant protection, main beam assist and park assist.
Also see the 2017 Volkswagen T-Roc image gallery.