The introduction of the Volkswagen T-Roc compact family car rounds off the Wolfsburg-based brand’s range of crossovers and SUVs in Mzansi. Here are the 6 coolest aspects you need to know about the trendsetting T-Roc.
1. Fresh contender for a changing market
“Oh no, not another SUV”, some of you might you say, but although many segments of the new-vehicle market have steadily declined over the past 5 years, South Africa’s SUV market grew by 44% between 2015 and 2019. What’s more, there’s little to suggest the “SUV boom” will subside in the foreseeable future – international experts estimate global demand for compact SUVs will almost double over the next decade. That’s why, barely a year after introducing the T-Cross, Volkswagen South Africa has launched another attractive model into the compact crossover/SUV space.
The T-Roc sets a new benchmark in the compact crossover segment with its functionality, dynamic handling and technology. It slots in above the T-Cross and below the Tiguan in the Volkswagen SUV range, offers maximum personalisation, innovative digitalisation, perfect connectivity, class-leading driver assistance systems, dynamic engines and, above all, a modern and expressive design.
Incidentally, the launch of the T-Roc coincides with new naming for the trim lines under Volkswagen's "Y" structure line up. The Design line is aimed at customers looking for more styling elements, while the eye-catching R-Line is aimed at customers looking for sportier levels of specification.
2. Distinctive exterior design
Compared with the appearance of its fun-loving, but fundamentally sensible, T-Cross compact family car sibling, the stylish T-Roc positively exudes non-conformist appeal and its packaging (both inside and out) is packed with standout design details.
A wide radiator grille, flanked by integrated dual headlights, dominate the look of the front-end and the resulting repositioned lighting signature makes the T-Roc’s nose unmistakable, even at night. In profile, the newcomer’s elongated silhouette is emphasised by a striking chrome element that stretches from the A-pillars all the way to the C-pillars (across the entire roofline) – it’s clearly a deliberate coupe-like design cue!
To add a sense of purpose to the off-roader-inspired look, dark plastic trim, applied around the wheel arches and side sills, as well as the vehicle's front and rear, serves to protect the bodywork. The rear bumper styling, in turn, is aimed to frame the tailgate and give the T-Roc a sportier look.
And, remember what we said about trendsetting? The T-Roc is the first Volkswagen SUV that can be ordered with 2-tone paintwork – in other words, with a roof section (including the A-pillars and exterior mirror housings) that contrasts with the rest of the vehicle’s paintwork…
On the Design derivatives, customers have a choice of pure white, red and black on the roof and exterior mirror housings. These roof and exterior mirror housings can, in turn, be paired with various exterior colours, thus giving T-Roc customers 26 different colour options (with 21 on the R-Line).
3. Customisable interior
The T-Roc is based on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB), which means the newcomer offers a Golf-like level of ride comfort; it is 80-mm longer than the T-Cross compact family car and 162 mm shorter than the Tiguan family car. It offers a high driving position (but no shortage of headroom) and the cabin is eminently practical, with ample storage spaces in the centre cubby, door pockets, glovebox and under the front armrest.
The T-Roc’s claimed luggage capacity is 445 litres, but if you fold the 60.40-split rear backrest down, up to 1 290 litres of utility space is freed up. You can specify a load-through hatch for long loads or height-adjustable luggage compartment floor, the latter of which will avail with you a completely flat loading surface. The optional electric tailgate is easy to open from the driver’s seat or using the remote key fob.
Suffice to say the T-Roc’s interior reflects the sophisticated exterior design; it’s slick, modern and elegant, yet retains a robust SUV feel combined with Volkswagen’s characteristic build quality.
To further enhance the individual offering, the Design derivatives, which feature a Limestone Grey dashboard, fascia/centre console and door inserts, can be specified with 3 optional interior accent colours: Ceramique, Curcuma Yellow and Ravenna Blue. The standard comfort cloth seats (including lumbar-support adjustment) feature a Tracks 4 pattern, but if a buyer selects one of optional accent colours, that hue is duplicated in the pattern of the seat fabric.
The standard interior accent colour in the top-of-the-range R-Line derivative is Caribou Grey, which is complemented by luxurious Vienna Leather Quartz/Ceramique upholstery (which is optional on the Design derivatives). The R-Line has sports front seats with a heating function (as well as lumbar support) and the cabin features tasteful red, as opposed to the standard white, LED ambient interior lighting.
In terms of convenience features, the T-Roc comes with a 3-spoke leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, voice control, electrically adjustable and heated side mirrors (they can also fold in the R-Line), high-beam assist, a rain sensor, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, height- and length-adjustable front armrest (with a storage box, 2 air vents, 2 cup holders and rear 12V socket), plus PDC all round.
What's more, there are a number of options with which to upgrade the Volkswagen’s interior, including – inter alia – the customisable digital instrument cluster (Active Info Display), a panoramic sunroof, the Beats by Dre audio system (which includes 6 speakers, a subwoofer and an 8-channel digital amplifier), keyless entry, a Park Package (parallel-parking assistant “Park Assist” with reverse-view camera) and an electrically-detachable, mechanically-swivelling tow hitch.
4. Innovative digital offering
To say connectivity is at the heart of the T-Roc in-car experience is a huge understatement! The T-Roc comes standard with the “Composition Media” infotainment system, which comprises an 8-inch colour touchscreen, a DAB digital radio receiver, Multi-device Interface (MDI) and USB connections (2 ports at the front and another pair – for charging devices – in the rear. In addition to availing Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming functionality, the system can play music from WMA and MP3 files, simultaneously pair with 2 compatible devices, and cast your smartphone onto the touchscreen via MirrorLink apps, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (all of which comes courtesy of App-Connect).
The optional 8-inch “Discover Media” Navigation infotainment system builds on the Composition Media setup by adding music management, navigation data and vehicle information. The system’s navigation data is displayed via 2D/3D map on the ‘screen, offering a choice of Fast, Short and Eco routes. Dynamic navigation is based on TMC+, branded points of interest and Speed Limit Display.
Buyers that upgrade to the “Discover Media” setup also benefit from Wireless App-Connect, which eliminates the need to connect your smartphone to the USB port to access the system. While a wireless charging pad is standard on the R-Line, it can be ordered for the Design derivatives.
Lastly, We Connect Go is a standard app-driven feature that conveniently pairs the T-Roc with a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth courtesy of the vehicle’s onboard DataPlug. The We Connect Go app functionality includes the following: vehicle data, access to the nearest or preferred Volkswagen dealers and the ability to automatically record and track trips (for tax logbooks, for example).
5. I.Q Drive technologies
In terms of standard features, all T-Roc derivatives have ABS, electronic stability control, dual front, -side and curtain airbags, a blind-spot monitor, fatigue detection, ISOfix attachment points (for mounting child seats on the rear bench), as well as a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
Furthermore, the newcomer also incorporates several IQ.Drive technologies, which support Volkswagen's journey to autonomous driving and assist the driver in terms of parking, driving and security. These features can be specified in groups via the optional IQ.Drive Small or Big Packs.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC with stop & go function) prevents you from exceeding a pre-set top speed and enables you to maintain a minimum distance to the vehicle in front. And in traffic jams, this means that your T-Roc can brake and pull off again completely automatically
Front Assist, which underpins the City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring functions, uses sensors to detect situations where the distance to the vehicle ahead or a person in the road is critical and it helps to shorten the vehicle’s stopping distance. In a dangerous situation, the system alerts the driver by visual and audible signals and can even automatically apply braking in an emergency.
Autonomous Emergency Braking uses a number of technologies in the car to assist the driver when they are unable to, while Traffic Jam Assist utilises functions from the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to enable convenient and safe stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic situations.
Lane Assist, meanwhile, is activated via the multifunction steering wheel and operates from 65 kph. If the vehicle starts to depart from the lane, the Lane Assist function will warn the driver by means of an audible system, vibrating of the steering wheel or a corrective steering intervention.
Blind Spot Monitor Plus can warn you about changing lanes with a corrective steering intervention. This function works from speeds as low as 15 kph and is supplied in conjunction with the Rear Traffic Alert. Rear Traffic Alert is able to detect whether any vehicles start to approach when you are reversing out of a parking space. If you fail to respond to its warning, the system can prevent a collision by applying the brake.
6. Performance & Efficiency
The initial T-Roc product line-up consists of just 3 derivatives, but it nonetheless caters for professional commuters and driving enthusiasts alike.
The entry-level 1.4 TSI Design derivative, for example, is powered by a proven 1.4-litre turbopetrol motor mated with an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. By virtue of its peak outputs of 110 kW and 250 Nm, this – the most affordable derivative – can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in 8.4 sec, yet has an impressive claimed average consumption of just 6.9 L/100 km (aided by Start-Stop with brake-energy recuperation).
The 2.0 TSI Design and R-Line derivatives, by contrast, offers notably more spirited performance courtesy of the quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission, which offers the option of driver-actuated gear shifts via the steering-wheel-mounted paddles on the R-Line, as well as the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, replete Driving Profile Selection (including Eco, Sport, Comfort, Off-road) and Individual profile settings.
The top-of-the-range 2.0 TSI R-Line will appeal particularly to those who value an engaging driving experience... It features LED headlights and DRLs, dynamic cornering lights, 19-inch Suzuka alloy wheels (finished in dark graphite), along with body-coloured R-style bumpers, flared wheel arches, sill extensions and rear spoiler. Not only does it look the part – it’s equipped with a sports suspension. Volkswagen claims the 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI (140 kW/320 Nm) will zip from 0 to 100 kph in 7.2 sec, reach a top speed of 216 kph and consume an average of 8.3 L/100 km.
The T-Roc was designed to be noticed – is a seamless blend of style, comfort and convenience in one beautiful package that shows the world you’ve arrived. Every derivative comes standard with a 3-year/120 000 km warranty, 5-year/90 000 km Volkswagen Service Plan (which can be extended or upgraded to a maintenance plan), as well as a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km.