With the Atlas, Tiguan and Touareg, Volkswagen already offers buyers a solid slate of SUV options. But the SUV segment continues to grow, and Volkswagen is growing its lineup right along with it. Not a full year after adding the Atlas at the top of that lineup (size-wise), it's sliding the T-Roc in at the base. With compact, urban-friendly packaging, coupe-inspired styling and vibrant color options, the T-Roc sets out to "rock" the small SUV segment.
If the "T-Roc" name sounds familiar, it's because Volkswagen used it on a two-door crossover T-top concept in 2014. Three years later, we have the production T-Roc, a hard-top with four doors.
Based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture that also underpins the Atlas and Tiguan, the T-Roc has a slightly sportier presence than Volkswagen's other SUVs, its shortened dimensions playing host to a swept-back roof line and accentuated wheel arches. The plastic trim that sweeps around the lower edge, up and over the wheel arches, protects the bodywork and provides a visualization of the optional 4Matic all-wheel drive sending power to the corners. Buyers can opt to add some flair by ordering a contrast roof, a first for a VW SUV.
Those that don't need or want the 4Matic will be looking at a front-wheel drive. Supplying power, Volkswagen will offer three TSI petrol and three TDI diesel engine options, along with manual and seven-speed DSG transmissions.
While Volkswagen says that the T-Roc is positioned for all ages of buyer, from young singles to empty nesters, the design clearly has more of the former in mind. The vibrant reveal colors, exterior color-trimmed cockpit with active info display cluster and infotainment widescreen, and options like the Beats audio system don't seem like the types of sights and sounds you expect to see filling your local retirement home parking lot. It is easy to picture a millennial urbanite behind that wheel, though.
Those young city dwellers will have some help in navigating their local roads and highways, as the T-Roc comes standard with pedestrian monitoring, city emergency braking, post-collision auto-brake and active lane keeping. Additional driver assistance options include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear-view reversing camera, traffic jam assist and park assist.
Inside the liftgate, the T-Roc packs 445 liters of cargo space, expandable to a possible 1,290 liters via the 60:40 split-folding seats.
The T-Roc will start rolling to European dealerships in November in three trim levels - base, sport and style. Prices will start at €20,000 (approx. US$23,500) in Germany.
Check out the video for a weird mix of T-Roc footage and parkour.