Exclusive. Premium. Driver-centric driving dynamics. Peppy Turbo motor. Rugged European looks. There is so much to like about the Volkswagen T-Roc but all of this used to come at a hefty price tag of INR 19.9 Lakh. Used to because Volkswagen recently announced that all the 2,500 units of the T-Roc which were brought to India are sold out and the bookings are no longer open. It came and it vanished but does the T-Roc manage to deliver an impact? We drove the premium SUV extensively to get all the answers.
Engine and performance
The T-Roc is built on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, is powered by a 1.5-litre EVO TSI engine with cylinder deactivation tech, mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission. The turbo-petrol motor churns out 150 HP and 248 Nm of torque.
The numbers are strikingly similar to that of the Skoda Karoq because both the cars are developed on the same platform and share the same engine. The turbo powertrain is surprisingly a rev-happy unit and the performance numbers are better than most of its rivals. The engine is refined and delivers power in a proper manner after the needle crosses 1600 rpm.
The T-Roc is basically for enthusiasts and one might expect a pronounced kick from the engine to add a bit of a drama. The shove does come after 3500 rpm and the engine doesn’t rest until it reaches its redline. The fun to drive element is reflected in its engine characteristics as well. What’s interesting about this motor is that it comes equipped with VW’s ACT or cylinder deactivation tech which senses the driving pattern and accordingly activates or deactivates 2 cylinders out of 4, resulting in reduced fuel consumption. Even this doesn’t make the T-Roc a frugal SUV. It delivers 8-9 KMPL while dealing with the urban elements but the fuel efficiency goes up to 12-13 KMPL if driven on open roads.
Ride and handling
The Volkswagen T-Roc might be the most driver-centric SUV in its class. It will keep you glued to the driver’s seat as long as you are driving on smooth and winding roads. Things become a bit less pleasant as soon as our infamous pothole-ridden roads come into play. The suspension is set up on the firmer side and the drive is a bit bouncy at slower speeds. It is firm and at times, become a little discomforting as well. The T-Roc is meant to be driven by an enthusiast and if driven otherwise, doesn’t reward the driver that much. It is solidly built though and the feel of the German assurance doesn’t leave your head.
It scores big on the safety front too. It managed to score a perfect 5 Star rating according to NCAP standards. In terms of safety features, it gets 6 airbags as standard with ABS, ESC, rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, all four disc brakes, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Exterior and Interior
In terms of appearance, in typical VW fashion, the T-ROC takes the classy route with its big wheel arches and elegant lines rather than banking on flashy curves or creases. The fascia appears wide and upright thanks to a large central grille which meets the headlights in one single line under the bonnet. Headlights and taillights are lit by LEDs as standard and the T-ROC rides on 17″ ‘Mayfield’ Diamond-cut alloy wheels. In terms of fuel capacity, the tank can swallow 59 litres of petrol at one go. It takes the ‘Subtle yet muscular’ as its primary design philosophy. Another distinctive element about its styling is the chrome lining which runs parallel to the satin silver finished roof rails, creating a symmetric effect. The rear end too gels well with the rest of the car and looks butch with a slanting rear windscreen. With a 445-litre boot, the T-ROC offers ample luggage space.
Things are European once you step inside the cabin. Let’s get done with the feature list first before getting down into the intricacies. It comes loaded with VW’s customizable Virtual cockpit, 8-inch infotainment screen, panoramic sunroof, two-zone climate control and heated seats.
It does look premium with its three-tone finished interiors and ‘Vienna’ leather seats but it doesn’t feel so. We feel that the quality used in forming the dashboard could have been a little better because of the premium it commands over its rivals. It also misses out on some key features which we feel that should have been there, like connected features, 360-degree camera, ventilated seats, wireless charging and a heads up display.
We also had to adjust the front seats quite a lot before setting out for a long drive, to get accommodated comfortably. Even then, the seats proved to be on the firmer side, further accentuated by its suspension setup. The bolstering of the seats is nice but somehow, they didn’t feel as comfortable as they should have. At the rear too, the legroom isn’t segment-leading. The ribbed seats do provide good support though.
Also read: New Volkswagen Taos Compact SUV Teased
When Volkswagen first decided to bring the T-Roc to India, we are sure that they didn’t have high sales number in mind, especially with such a premium price tag. The T-Roc didn’t arrive here to rule our markets, it arrived to present us something which is very distinctive and ‘European’ in its approach. It is definitely a looker and looks nothing like its rivals. It handles like its existence is dependent on it, and if you think about it, it is! With its firm suspension setup, not-so-feature-loaded cabin, it won’t appeal to everyone. But then again, it was brought here to meet the demands of a particular set of customers and given the fact that it is now sold out, seems like it did.