Driven: Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI

It just feels like. One day. All cars will be SUVs.

I get it, they make sense. Better visibility, greater compliance and ground clearance, potentially safer for reasons that includes larger crumple zones – SUVs make a ton of sense. Wait. What was my point? Well, that here’s another one. A Golf on stilts. It’s what the people want.

What is it?
In short, a new compact SUV from VW that fits in its T-monikered SUV range above the T-Cross and below the Tiguan. It’s sportier than the latter car, a groovy urban whip built on the Golf MQB platform. It’s Wider than the Golf and T-Cross so roomier. And you can get it in eight colours, or if you’re looking after something more bespoke, a two-tone paint scheme unlocks 20 different body/roof combinations. Also you can get one powered by a 1.4l turbocharged petrol engine, or the familiar 2.0l TSI.

How does it look?
In a word, great. In two words, quite funky. It features the new VW logo as well as the new 4motion logo. The profile is that of a sports coupe and can be had in two tone. There are in fact 20 colour combinations thanks to eight body colors and then there’s the roof accents. I like the outlines around all the light clusters and even the daytime running lamps. You’ve got two trim levels, Design and R Line, with the base car getting standard issue 17″ inch Mayfield alloys, while the R-Line gets a specific 19″ inch Suzuka wheel. The Design model can also be specced with an optional 18″ inch wheel. But they’re all fairly handsome. There’s plenty of colour options in the cabin too should you really feel like personalising your T-Roc.

What about living with it?
Its an attractive enough cabin for sure, but scratch (literally) a bit deeper and you’ll notice hard touch surfaces that land short of the premium feel we know VW are aiming for. Connectivity options abound in what is a well appointed living space. It includes active info display, an 8″ inch infotainment screen, App connect, We Connect Go and inductive mobile charging. You can even spec the Beats audio system if you really want to make some noise. Standard issue inludes driver assistance, IQ drive, adaptive cruise control plus front, lane, park assist and rear traffic assist. You also have two zone climate control, white ambient lighting (the R-Line gets red), high beam control and PDCs. the R-Line is further blessed with awd and with it 4motion activity control with driving profiles. What else? Oh, keyless entry and an active tailgate. So, a lot hey.

How does it go?
You have a choice btween a 1.4TSI model with 110kW and 250Nm paired to its 8-speed Tiptronic auto, or a 2.0 TSI with 150kW and 320Nm with a 7 speed DSG ‘box. It has VW’s 4motion awd and judging by the stats offers hot hatch performance, circa Golf GTI of five years ago. In truth, foot to the mat, it doesn’t feel quite as urgent as that, but there’s plenty here to keep you engaged. Smiilarly, handling feels like a marginally taller Golf and the ride quality is Tiguan supple.

Should you buy one?
Well, now look. yes. You should if you’re not put off by its sticker price between R490k and R590k. Taken out of context it might seem expensive but that’s the going rate for SUVs in this segment, and the T-Roc is a great challenger in the segment. That is a stylish alternative to the more family-oriented Tiguan. If anything, you’ll be comparing it to the Golf, which is now a lesser car in most regards. Funny that.

Quick Stats: VW T-Roc R-Line 2.0
Powertrain: 2.0l awd,  150kW, 320Nm, 7-speed DSG auto

VW T-Roc Pricing
R489,400 Design 1.4 (110kW/250Nm)
R548,300 Design 2.0 (150kW/320Nm)
R593,600 R-Line 2.0 (150kW/320Nm)

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