By Otsile Kadiege
About a month after its late introduction to the South African market, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to spend the festive season with Volkswagen’s latest SUV in Mzansi, the all-new Volkswagen T-Roc.
What is it?
It is a compact crossover SUV based on the versatile MQB A1 platform. It is slotted in between other popular Volkswagen SUVs like the bigger Tiguan and slightly smaller T-Cross. It is just above 4 metres in length, 1.8 metres wide and is just under 1.6 metres high.
How does it look?
Being a brand new model at that time, the T-Roc turned the heads of curious onlookers who seemed unsure of what to make of the stunner.
Our range-topper test unit was kitted with the R-Line package, which had a two-tone Ravenna Blue exterior paint with contrasting black roof and mirror caps. A lovely set of 19-inch Suzuka wheels and a sliding panoramic roof were the cherry on top. Contrasting cladding all round and an elevated body highlights that the T-Roc is an SUV.
Technology and interior design
The interior of T-Roc looks familiar to that of the Golf 7.5, which is not a bad thing. Upon entering, the driver is greeted by a flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching and a configurable 10.3 inch instrument cluster, dubbed Active Info Display. It is complemented by an 8-inch touchscreen. The intuitive infotainment system features wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which is a blessing because all four USB ports are type C – we had to purchase an adapter to charge our devices.
Our test car was fitted with Quartzite-Ceramique leatherette seats, which became easily dirty when travelling with unruly children. One of the disappointing things about the T-Roc is the extensive use of hard plastics on the dashboard and door panels, thankfully the armrests are wrapped with cushy leatherette.
Overall, we were able to enjoy lengthy drives to our favourite holiday destinations thanks to the comfy seats, sufficient luggage capacity (445-litres), interior space, panoramic roof and Beats Audio System.
How does it drive?
As mentioned above, we were in the range-topper which is powered by 2.0 litre TSI engine making a healthy 140 kW and 320 Nm and paired with a 7-speed DSG transmission. Power is sent to all four wheels via the automaker’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. It is surprisingly fun to drive thanks to its Golf-like handling and punchy engine, which missed out on the smile-inducing vrrphaa sound. Despite its 19-inch wheels, the ride was fairly comfortable even on uneven roads.
As exciting as it was driving spiritedly, the T-Roc is also enjoyable in its Eco mode. The 55 litre tank gave us just above 760 km of driving range. The petrol engine is surprisingly frugal. We achieved 6.9l/100 km compared to the manufacturer’s claimed 7.2l/100km.
In the ever-growing and highly competitive SUV market, the Volkswagen T-Roc is one good looking compact SUV, especially with the R-Line guise. It is enjoyable to drive and fuel-efficient. Despite its interior quality being too plasticy for our liking, it is a very good compact crossover SUV.
The Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 140kW 4Motion DSG R-Line is priced from R593,600.
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