OPINION | Volkswagen's T-Roc is a missed opportunity at being truly unique

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• The Volkswagen T-Roc was launched in South Africa in late 2020.

• The T-Roc is built on VW's MQB platform.

• The T-Roc was first launched in 2017.

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It's a no-brainer for Volkswagen because the Golf has been a success story since its inception in 1974. Though the car has grown and matured over the years, the T-Roc is another rendition of its success story. As such, the T-Roc is destined to build forth on this success and establish itself as a formidable product in VW South Africa's lineup.

Improving on the Golf recipe

For more than four decades, South Africans flocked to the Golf as their preferred vehicle of choice. But over the last decade or two, a swing towards SUVs have taken flight across the globe. For Volkswagen, offering an SUV on its MQB platform - in fact, several of its SUVs are based on MQB - creates a sense that the Golf is available in various applications.

And why not, because the MQB platform affords the vehicles built on it with a superb ride quality and impressive driving dynamics. In addition, the T-Roc sports a wider track than the Golf, which gives it a sturdier and more compliant ride quality.

In terms of practicality, the SUV is slightly wider, longer, and higher than the Golf, and offers a larger boot. As a whole, the cabin reminds strongly of the Golf and do you feel cocooned in a very familiar space.

Volkswagen T-Roc
2021 Volkswagen T-Roc

But here's the thing…

Interestingly, while the T-Roc is a rather refreshing, hip-looking SUV, it is not the most inspiring. In truth, the SUV is more than three-years-old and did we, the South African market, receive a car that's coming up for a facelift in the near future. There is little about the SUV's overall offering that warrants 1) its price and 2) the (genuine) excitement that accompanied its arrival.

On paper, the T-Roc makes absolute sense, but it fails to differentiate itself from the Golf. It would have counted in its favour if, for instance, the interior had its own unique identity. Or if the ride quality was as inspiring as the exuberant exterior.

While I rate the Golf highly, the T-Roc does not garner the same praise. Despite the increased size and practical gains, the SUV missed an opportunity to have been truly unique.

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Quick stats: 2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0TSI 140kW 4Motion R-Line

Price: R593 600

Engine: 2.0-litre, turbo petrol

Power: 162kW @ 4500-6200rpm

Torque: 320Nm @ 1500-4400rpm

Gears: Six-speed automatic

Drive: All-wheel-drive

0-100km/h: 7.2 seconds

Top speed: 216km/h

Economy: 7.2-litres/100km

Service Plan: Five-years or 90 000km

Warranty: Three-years or 120 000km

Volkswagen T-Roc
2021 Volkswagen T-Roc
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