DRIVEN | Here's what Volkswagen's new T-Roc is all about: a car for the bold

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

• Volkswagen SA has finally launched its new T-Roc SUV.

• The new model slots in between the T-Cross and the Tiguan.

• Pricing starts off from R489 400 for the base 1.4-litre TSI Design model. 

• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.

VW has fought a tough battle to bring the T-Roc to SA; now, the highly-anticipated compact SUV is finally here. If you're wondering if the T-Roc has a chance of taking up space in the market when the T-Cross is already so popular, its more than 400 pre-ordered sales should speak volumes as customers await the first deliveries to take place from the end of November.

Volkswagen has longtime figured out a winning formula with each new vehicle it launches, and its strong and loyal brand following is another trump card up its alley. 

The T-Roc is the fifth member of Volkswagen's SUV range and slots in between the T-Cross and Tiguan if you're comparing size and pricing, but in essence, you're looking at similar dimensions as the Golf. It now joins VW's SUV Range which consists of the T-Cross, Tiguan, Tiguan AllSpace, and the mighty Touareg.

The automaker says the T-Roc is a car for the brave, for those who are defiant right from the beginning: "The T-Roc is a car that stands apart and is driven by those who understand that only the boldest among us have the courage to live it their way. Why follow when you can lead?"

I love Volkswagen's bold approach with their new campaign: "for the defiant from the beginning", or #DriveToDefy because it genuinely encapsulates everything this car is all about. Just as it so wonderfully uses two black South African women who has embraced success through their own defiance. Major Mandisa Mfeka and the exceptional Kitty Phetla are the heroes of their campaign. And after you have heard their stories, and then driven the new T-Roc it all meshes so beautifully. They could not have come up with a better concept that utterly defines a product. 

vw troc 1.4, vw t-roc design
The new VW T-Roc 1.4 TSI Design

And as pretty awesome as this new car is, with all its great features, it's expensive and will be out of reach for most consumers. You're looking at almost half a bar for the "entry-level" model, and R593 600 for the range-topper - and that's without even one of the many items on the long list of optional niceties.

Does it matter? Of course not, because slap a VW badge on any car, and it's bound to do well, even if it's pricey. 

While the T-Cross is more affordable and accessible to buyers who are looking for a premium compact crossover, the new T-Roc's model range starts quite steep with a price tag of R489 400. There are three models in the range, with two petrol engine options being the 1.4 TSI and the 2.0-litre DSG models. There are two derivatives available Design only on the 1.4 and Design and R-Line for the 2.0-litre models.

What do you think of the new Volkswagen T-Roc? Would you buy one if you could? Please email us your thoughts, or share your car pictures and stories. Or, please use the comment section at the bottom of this article.

The 1.4-litre TSI engine is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox is good for 110kW from 5000 to 6000rpm and 250Nm from 1500 to 3500rpm. It goes from zero to 100km/h in 8.4-seconds and has a top speed of 205km/h, and a claimed average fuel consumption of 6.9-litres/100km.

The 2.0-litre TSI engine is all new and is mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission, and also available with the brand's 4Motion (all-wheel drive). It produces 140kW from 4500 to 6200rpm and a yummy 320Nm from 1500 to 4400rpm. Zero to 100km/h sprint takes 7.2 seconds, and you can expect to pay a bit more for fuel with an average, claimed fuel consumption of 8.3-litres/100km.

vw troc 1.4, vw t-roc design
The new Volkswagen T-Roc SUV sporting the new VW badge.

But how does it drive?

Bladdy lovely, of course. We all know that DSG box of Volkswagen is what happy meals are made of, and add that to that lekker new 2.0-litre engine with permanent four-wheel drive in the top-of-the-range model, and what else could you want? Velvety smooth gear changes, a punchy drive and fantastic dynamics. 

On day two we sampled the 1.4-litre TSI which doesn't disappoint either, and with 30kW less in the base model, you're not missing all that much. It's just as gutsy with 110kW and 250Nm, is more than adequate to overtake on Grabouw's twisty bends, and comfortable to cruise at easy speeds. We were caught in some much-needed albeit freaky rainfall on the way home via Sir Lowry's Pass, and if there's anything I would change on any of the three models, it would be a more sufficient and faster wiper blade system. 

According to the automaker, the T-Roc is the most expressive vehicle in its SUV line-up thanks to its wide grille, sports coupe appearance and roof-line structure. It also has an innovative light signature frame and is available with an optional two-tone colour scheme. There's distinctive lighting which also adds to the car's road stance with unique LED daytime running lights and LED headlights. 

It's also the car with the most features and options, and an indication of that is the ten body colours customers could choose from, along with four two-tone options. That means that there is a total of 20 colour combinations available for the T-Roc.

vw t-roc suv
VW T-Roc Connectivity

vw t-roc suv
VW T-Roc interior trim options.

So what's the big difference in spec between the Design and R-Line versions? The standard spec on both Design models includes LED tail light clusters, climatronic air conditioning, a black visual underbody guard, and front and rear park distance control.

VW T-Roc
VW T-Roc Design specs

The range-topper R-Line has standard goods such as front assist area monitoring with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, automatic post-collision braking system and the lane-keeping system Lane Assist. There's also the light Assist package, LED daytime running lights in the bumper and dynamic cornering lights, 19-inch Suzuka alloy wheels, the latest generation infotainment and display, Keyless entry, adaptive cruise control with front Assist and Vienna leather seats.

vw t-roc wheels, allowys
VW T-Roc wheel options and availability

The range of driver aiding systems also derives from VW's IQ.Drive system which is the company's direction towards autonomous driving.

Optional extras include a panoramic sunroof, an electronic trailer hitch, smoker's package, Discover Pro navigation system with a 9.2-inch screen, the Beats sound system and the Park Package.

VW T-Roc
VW T-Roc R-Line specs

Will the T-Roc impact on the T-Cross sales, or even it's other bread-and-butter products? Volkswagen South Africa does not seem one bit perturbed as they believe the T-Roc now fills a void that was missing. The T-Cross customer is also not the same as those looking for something more bold like the T-Roc.

We're keen to watch the sales of the T-Roc grow in the next few months and to see if the numbers will match VWSA's confidence in their new vehicle. Ten to one, it most probably will.


VW T-Roc,pricing
VW T-Roc Pricing

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24