Volkswagen T Roc Driven


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Volkswagen T Roc, is Volkswagen’s Sub Compact Crossover SUV, which sits above the T Cross/Taigun (coming soon) and below the eldest Sibling Tiguan All Space. Let me put some numbers in perspective for the T Roc, it is 4234 mm in Length, 1819 mm in Width, 1573 mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2590 mm, which is 81 mm shorter in length, 19 mm smaller in width, 72 mm lesser in height and 20 mm narrower in wheelbase, compared to the New Hyundai Creta & the Kia Seltos.

Simply put, it will carry one person less at all times, as compared to the Korean Rivals, and is still approximately 20% expensive as compared to them. Both the Creta & the Seltos, come loaded with features to the brim and straight away come across a Value For Money, not only from the perspective of the features that they offer, but also from price to size ratio.

So why should some one buy the T Roc, was a question lingering in my mind, before the T Roc came to our garage. And then, the T Roc came-by in this stunning colour that Volkswagen calls Kurkuma Yellow. The first thing that you notice is the quality of paint, it is top notch, may be the photos won’t do justice to what I am trying to say. The second thing that you notice is the build quality, the shut lines and the consistent panel gaps, they scream perfection. And the third thing that you will notice is the premiumness (especially if you love all-black interiors), the T Roc oozes it inside out. But does that justify the price? Well that is something that I will leave for you all to decide. Coz if you say Price to Size Ratio matters to you, then T Roc, may not cut the case for you.

But what I will definitely say is, if you are someone who doesn’t gives price to size ratio a serious consideration, or if you are someone who who wants to explore & enjoy the lethal TSi/DSG Combination at an affordable price, or if you are someone who loves to be behind the wheel, or if you are someone with nuclear family and/or if you are someone who is a sucker for tank like quality built quality, then T Roc should adorn your garage.

Why am I saying so, let’s explore together.

But before that, a quick look at some brief history of the T-Roc. Well, T-Roc was showcased as a concept car in 2014, and was eventually launched in late 2017 for the European market, in Italy first. It is based on the same MQB platform, on which we have the Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia.

Now, shall we have a look at the T-Roc

Design Language - Exteriors

Well, the first thing that you will notice when you look at the T-Roc, that it is unmistakably Volkswagen. The build quality blows your mind away. Panel gaps are consistent, shut lines are extremely tight, and you know for a fact that, the T Roc, comes across as expensive, for a reason. So if you are someone who enjoys quality, and loves to spend for it, you will know you have spent money on the right product.

Upfront, it is a typical Volkswagen. The dual slate grille design, with the Volkswagen logo sitting proudly in the centre, reminds you that this is a Volkswagen. Headlights are LED and have brilliant illumination in the night and now the DRL’s are not integrated within the headlight cluster, but sit below on the bumper fenders and also include turn indicators. While they look, uber cool, but are going to be a pain to maintain considering Indian Driving Conditions. Volkswagen has used chrome generously up-front to give the compact SUV that much more upmarket look and to appeal wider audience.

Overall, the front is absolutely sharp, just like any other product from the VAG Group.

Moving to the sides, there is a strong shoulder line which starts at the front wheel arch and integrates into the rising fender towards the rear. The black cladding on the bottom and wheel arches give the much needed macho look to the otherwise looking cross-overish SUV. The 17 inch diamond cut alloys further enhance the over side profile and I personally loved the sporty design on the alloys. Black coloured exterior mirrors, blackened glass roof with silver anodised roof rails, give the T-Roc the much needed stance.

On the rear, I must say, the T Roc impresses with its design philosophy with the way everything just comes together seamlessly, without having unnecessary criss-cross lines. May be the Koreans and Japanese can take some lessons on geometric designs as they look fab and how. The highlight at the rear has to be the tail-light assembly. Yes it is all LED, but the way it illuminates in the night, leaves a mighty impression in the mind of the person trailing you behind in traffic. The Volkswagen Logo, once again takes the centre-stage and in true Volkswagen style, has the rear camera integrated within the logo to ensure that on the muckier days, the camera is not soiled. The rear has right elements of chrome, fibre and metal which give it a seamless look.

Overall the T-Roc is an handsome SUV, which will not only impress your missus for its build quality but also will be an envy for your neighbours, as they will know, the independent you makes right choices in life.

Now shall we get in the T Roc

Design Language- Interiors

Let me begin with asking, have you been inside of any other Volkswagen Product- say the Volkswagen Tiguan All Space or say the Volkswagen Passat? If the answer to that question is yes, you will be happy as well as sad. Happy coz you get the same quality in T Roc, that you get in the Passat or the Tiguan All Space, now mind you, these cars are twice the price of the T Roc. So that is a good thing to happen. However, you may get sad, because the dashboard layout is identical to them. So there is nothing new there, or is there?

Upfront, the steering wheel is lovely to hold, it is leather wrapped and has nice flat bottom design to it. Fits perfectly well in your hands. Buttons on your left are to control the audio and on the right are for the menus. Behind, you have a crisp and rather sharp looking Digital Cockpit with active display. There are three different ways in which the display changes. While the T Roc gets start-stop and paddle shifts at this price point, but misses out on cruise control. This is a sore miss, as on highways, with AT at your disposal, cruise control could have been an handy feature to have, for that much sense of comfort. Nevertheless there are plenty other features that will keep you occupied once inside the T Roc, For starters you have Dual Zone AC, auto dimming mirrors, auto headlamps, auto rain sensing wipers, LED reading lights all around, cooled glove box, heated front seats, 6 airbags all around, auto hold, electronic park and the list goes on and on. Considering, the T Roc is a CBU, it gets active lane assist and frontal collision auto brake sensors. There is one feature inspite of laundry list of features is sore miss at this price point, electric front seats, if not memory seats. Manual seat adjustments is not justified at this price point. And may be ambient lights? Am I nitpicking here?

Overall the dash layout is minimalistic and functional. The 8 inch centre screen is a breeze to use, it has amazing tactile feedback and 10 on 10 times, you will press the right option. It is on par with some of your premium phones today as far as touch quality goes. The dash layout is titled slightly towards the driver to give him control over the SUV at all times.

Speaking about the front seats, they are comfortable place to be in, as they are wrapped in Vienna Leather. The thigh and back support is spot on and keeps you in place should you get naughty behind the wheel and let loose the 150 horses. There is a front armrest which is adjustable to reach and height, again a nifty feature on long journeys.

Moving to the rear, things start getting pricey here. Space is truly at premium and the T Roc is strictly a 4 seater. 5 at all times is going to be a squeeze. Legroom is sparse, however headroom, even though T Roc has a sloping roofline and a panoramic sunroof, is respectable for the size of the SUV. There is a centre arm rest with adjustable cup holders, and while there is a 12V Socket at the rear, it misses out on the USB Port. And like any other German Cars, you can access boot from the rear through an openable hatch. The seats are comfortable with descent recline and bucket like scoops, which come with descent thigh support.

Overall, the compact dimensions on the outside, means on the inside the T Roc is going to be compact. However, having said that, the fit and finish levels of everything around is exemplary, just the way it should be in a Volkswagen and you are going to enjoy the way everything is put and screwed together. The quality levels, even though there are hard plastics around is amongst the best. However, if you are someone who marries price with size, you will have to look else where.

In-Car Entertainment

T Roc comes with crisp looking and operating 8 inch screen at the centre to begin with, as mentioned earlier. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available apart from other connections like bluetooth, USB and Aux. The 6 speaker setup, goes about doing a decent job, however needs some amount of tweaking and tuning through the equaliser. At this price point, I surely think, Volkswagen should have given premium audio setup. 6 Speakers don’t do justice to the price. Volkswagen- Are you listening?

Performance- Engine & Gearbox

Beneath the hood is the VAG groups much famed Tsi technology coupled with a DSG gearbox. The most lethal combination you can go for. For people looking for diesel cars, will have to look elsewhere, at the T Roc comes with Petrol Only Engine Option.

The 1.5 Tsi churns out 150 PS of power and 250 NM of torque, and that torque is available from the word go. Mated to the 7 Speed Gearbox, gear shifts are lightning quick. The progress made is quite brisk and the T Roc darts of the line as if there is no tomorrow. The 7 Speed auto box at all times keeps up with your accelerator inputs by keeping the car slotted in right gears at all times. Whether I was in city traffic, or winding roads or highways, the DSG gearbox, at all times was in right gear to give me right power at right times. Triple Digit Speeds is a breeze in T Roc. The highlight for this engine has to be the Cylinder Deactivation Technology, which switches of 2 cylinders automatically, as and when the system realises that 2 cylinders are enough to make progress. This helps in getting better fuel economy and reduced combustion.

Something that I did not like is the NVH levels, which I felt, could have been tad better. While the cabin is silent most of the times, but not eerily silent. This is something that you come to expect from the petrols.

Like the elder SUV the Tiguan All Space, T Roc, misses out on the drive modes, however you do get a sport mode, which get activated by toggling the gear lever. It aids further to some spirited driving by holding the gears that much longer for you. And should you wish to have more fun, you do get paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Performance- Ride, Handling & Drivability

If you love the feel of what your tires are doing at all time, then you are going to be in the happy space in the T Roc. The T Roc comes with stiffly set up suspensions, riding on the 17 inch alloys which give the SUV point and shoot characteristic. While the suspensions are stiffly set, I would not say the ride is choppy, but yes, you do feel the undulations on the road. Those occasional thuds will filter inside the cabin.

Dimensionally, the T Roc is more squatish as opposed to being longish, this helps in the way she handles. The SUV pretty much handles and drives like a car. Taut chassis coupled with stiff suspension enables T Roc to make quick lane change manoeuvres without unsettling the occupants. What further enhances the T-Rocs drive quality is the tuning of the steering wheel, it does not feel artificial, it weighs up nicely

Overall, the T Roc is absolutely likeable behind the steering wheel, and 9 out of 10 times, you will try and find opportunities to head out on the winding sections of the road with the T Roc.

The Verdict

Where does the T Roc fit the bill now?

Well, have you experienced Turbo Stratified Injection, and Dual Sequential Gearbox Combination, commonly known as the Tsi and DSG combination, earlier? May be in Volkswagen’s own earlier iterations say Volkswagen Polo GT Tsi or say Vento Tsi? Or have you heard your friends/colleagues going ga-ga over this combination? And you always wondered why so much of hype around it? And now you are in the market to buy a 25 lac SUV, Well, then this is your chance for redemption. Right now, this Tsi/DSG Combination in T Roc, is the most affordable bet, as the other SUV to have this combination in this state of tune is the Skoda Karoq, which is further 5 lacs up the hill.

If this doesn’t excite you yet, then how about a sub compact cross-over SUV, which looks outright funky, if bought in right colours, has tactile feedback from steering wheel at all the times, a driver seat, which is the best place to be, oozes German quality all around, carries 4 adults with comfort at all times, looks different in the parking lot as not many will agree that price vs size does not matter, then, the T Roc is definitely the one for you.

On that note, over to the next car for review, and do let us know in comments section if you have read till now, what do you think about the T Roc.

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About Author
Nilesh Sawant
Nilesh Sawant

With an experience of over 3 lac kms of driving across the continents and with extensive experience of driving on the tracks, and passion for technical things around anything on wheels, reviews written by Nilesh are crisp and to the point.  

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