Volkswagen T-Roc Debut Reveals a More Traditional Crossover

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen t roc debut reveals a more traditional crossover

Opening with a query as to whether or not the audience was, “Ready to Roc” or not, Volkswagen showcased the production version of the T-Roc today in Italy. However, the model that arrived on stage didn’t quite resemble the compact crossover concept vehicle we’ve grown accustomed to.

While shorter in appearance than a traditional baby SUV, the T-Roc isn’t the coupe-adjacent vehicle we were led to believe it might be. True to form, VW played it safe.

There are some notable exceptions, however. The bi-color design allows the roofline to be mismatched with the bodywork and the interior has some fun color options — both in its lighting and trim. But it lacks the swept-back roofline and lowered stance of the prototype. The upside to this is superior interior volume and more traditional SUV characteristics that the public will be less likely to shy away from. Volkswagen wants volume, after all.

“People appreciate the special SUV package, the high seating position, and the modern and sporty appearance,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen’s board of management. He continued by stating the goal of the T-Roc, and VW as a whole, is to integrate cutting edge technology and superior quality at a reasonable price.

While we didn’t receive a specific figure, Diess stated the small crossover would be aimed at the 20,000 euro segment, which translates to about $23,600 USD. He said VW anticipates all SUV segments to double in size by 2027, and that the automaker will have 19 models to meet that demand — reminding the audience that Volkswagen is “a big market brand.”

“The T-Roc sets a new benchmark in the booming SUV segment,” Diess stated in a separate press release. “With its functionality, dynamic handling and technology the T-Roc embodies all good Volkswagen qualities and will give our SUV offensive added momentum.”

Claiming that SUVs embody the promise of freedom, the chairman explained that the T-Roc will be highly customizable. “People want to stand out from the crowd,” he said. “For example, [by owning] an SUV.” In addition to the previously mentioned color options, the crossover’s settings can personalized, with the vehicle remembering the driver’s presets via a phone app.

Based on the Golf’s MQB platform, the T-Roc comes in front-wheel drive or 4Motion AWD and will offer 6 engine options globally — with the strongest being a turbocharged unit with 190 horsepower. However, automaker wasn’t ready to discuss displacements.

Instead, the automaker is touting connectivity features and high-tech safety. The crossover boasts a fairly impressive list of crash avoidance systems, including front assist and lane assist as standard, with optional traffic jam crawling. It also boasts an entirely digital dashboard and a 8-inch media display. The automaker says it has crammed the center console with all the connectivity features it could muster while providing online services and apps via smartphone and Volkswagen Car-Net.

At 166.7 inches long, the crossover is about 10 inches shorter than the first-generation Tiguan. It has a 102.5-inch wheelbase, width is 71.6-inch (without mirrors), and its height is 70 inches. Oddly, VW prattled on about the vehicle’s “low roof structure,” even though it’s fairly tall when compared to a Honda Honda CR-V, and would absolutely tower above Mazda’s CX-3.

VW said the five-seater provides 16 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats and almost 46 cubes with the seat folded. We wager you can get plenty more than that if you’re willing to make use of that higher roofline and obstruct your rearward visibility.

The T-Roc’s trims are undecided but Volkswagen hinted at a base model, followed by two others — denoted as “Style” and “Sport.” Deliveries begin in Europe this November with North America likely to follow if VW can get its ducks in a row.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.