In 2020, Volkswagen launched the T-Roc to take on the massive wave of SUVs in the Indian market. In India, most buyers consider an SUV to be large with proper road presence. And customers obviously expect their SUVs to be priced according to their size. Even crossovers these days are expected to be butch-looking with a good ground clearance, height and cladding all around to give it that all-important SUV stance. Hatchbacks too, are beginning to grow larger. But a lot of SUVs are slowly turning towards only petrol engines, while diesels power only a minority of them. The Volkswagen T-Roc can’t be referred to as an SUV but more of a crossover, with its low-slung roof, 1.5-litre petrol engine and its rather expensive price of 20 lakh rupees and above. When it was first launched, we thought there wouldn’t be a market for such a product, but after Volkswagen sold out its entire first batch of the T-Roc, it proved us wrong. Despite being a costly CBU, it has found many buyers. We take a closer look at the brand’s successful crossover.
A crossover-like coupe?
The Volkswagen T-Roc appears lower than most compact SUVs and can be mistaken for a premium hatchback. But the width and the wheelbase give it a great stance on the road. The silhouette is unmistakably identical to that of a hatch with a sloping bonnet and raked front and rear windscreens. We can’t deny that it’s a stylish looking car. Up-ahead, it gets nicely done LED running light signatures, below which sit the fog lights. You will also note a large honeycomb air dam and a brushed silver skid plate. Cladding all around is evident and it gets some nice, sharp lines over the bonnet, along the sides, particularly over the wheel arches. Move to the back and you will see cladding on the bumper and faux exhaust borderings. There’s even ‘T-Roc’ featured in bold letters on the tail gate. The sloping roof would be more fitting on a coupe-SUV, and every colour you opt for, comes with a gloss black roof and door pillars, ensures Volkswagen Cars. The roof rails are there to complete the look. And the 17-inch alloy wheels look great.
A folks wagon?
The cabin is very typical of what you’d find on a range of Volkswagen Cars. So you get a dark theme with a lot of crisp lines; every panel is well built. Soft-touch plastics can’t be spotted though and the textured hard plastics are of good quality. It gets a piano black trim, with the central console facing more towards the driver. The Volkswagen T-Roc also features tri-tone Vienna leather upholstery. When it comes to the seating, the ones at the front offer good adjustment and lumber support for the driver. The seats are heated but not ventilated and powered. The seats are big and visibility out-front is good. At the back, there is a slight compromise on space. Knee room isn’t great and headroom isn’t sufficient for tall occupants. Also, the rear seats not being high-set, tend to make you feel a bit cramped. The sunroof, thank fully, will have you feeling better. The central armrest is always useful and under-thigh support is good. At 445 litres, boot space isn’t bad at all.
When it comes to equipment, the Volkswagen T-Roc gets an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tyre pressure monitoring, a 10.25-inch digital instrument display, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, lane-keep assist, head-on collision warning system and six airbags.
Taking the wheel
You do feel like you’re seated in something huge, mainly because of its width. Thanks to the stiff chassis and suspension from the European model, it maintains great poise on the tarmac. The ride is firm on bumps at low speeds, but it begins to flatten them out once you start picking up speed. The car remains stable at high speeds and through corners, and we’re happy to report that the steering is full of feedback. We couldn’t feel body roll and it feels solid at all times. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it’s easy to drive in the city. The 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine is paired to a 7-speed DSG. The engine makes 147bhp and 250Nm of torque. We found performance to be better than that of the Skoda Karoq’s. The engine has a strong mid-range and it loves to rev. The car closes in on its redline in sport and manual.