Volkswagen says it’s “ready to Roc” the compact SUV market with its new T-Roc, which was revealed on Wednesday night.

Built around the company’s flexible MQB architecture and sharing much of its DNA with the Audi Q2, the new contender is set to go up against rivals like the Toyota C-HR and Nissan Qashqai.

A spokesperson at VWSA has told us that the T-Roc is destined for South Africa, although the timing has yet to be confirmed. 

In our experience that’s code for “not anytime soon”, but will it be worth the wait? Let’s see what the T-Roc has got going for it, on paper at least:

1. Cheaper than a Tiguan, but still practical

Although it’ll be a long time before we know local pricing, Volkswagen does state that it’ll be positioned below the Tiguan, which would make sense given that it is 252mm shorter.

And yet it’s not impractical, with full seating for five and a boot capacity of 445 litres with all seats in place, which is among the largest in its class. 

2. Personalised design and many flavours

Although the T-Roc’s styling is not outlandish like Toyota’s C-HR is, it manages to combine that straightforward VW elegance with some muscular SUV design traits, like those flared wheel arches, swept-back C-pillar and beefy diffuser, and there are some funky personalisation options available.

VW will offer this vehicle in three flavours: the standard T-Roc, T-Roc Style and T-Roc Sport. The Style comes standard with a two-tone exterior colour scheme with contrasting roof, while the sport offers that as an option. Both upper trim grades also offer a variety of wheel colour options and the pair can be pimped further with an R-Line exterior package. 

Moving inside, those opting for the T-Roc Style can choose from four trim panel colours.

3. Cabin goes big on digital

Like the all-new Polo, the T-Roc will be available with VW’s latest-generation, 30cm digital instrument cluster called Active Info Display, and featuring 133 dpi graphics. Moving to the centre, a 16.5cm Colour Composition touchscreen is standard on all models, but buyers can opt for infotainment systems measuring up to 20cm and with a large, glass-encased surface.

The digital instrument cluster and infotainment systems were designed from the ground up to sync with a wide variety of apps and other online services via smartphone and VW’s Car-Net. However, buyers will need to opt for the larger 20cm infotainment systems to receive App Connect, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Various ‘guide and inform’ services are offered too, with everything from fuel stations to news, weather and traffic info.

Other neat features available include inductive smartphone charging and a 300-watt Beats premium sound system.

4. Wide range of VW’s latest engines

Of course, this one comes with a disclaimer, as with all the aforementioned cabin gadgets, as it’s too early to say which features and engines will be offered to South African customers.

However, chances are that we’ll get a decent portion of the drivetrain configurations that are available to European customers. All are turbocharged.

Petrol engines:

1.0 TSI85kW200Nm6-speed manualFront-wheel-drive
1.5 TSI110kW250Nm6-speed manualFront-wheel-drive
1.5 TSI110kW250Nm7-speed DSGFront-wheel-drive
1.5 TSI110kW250Nm7-speed DSGAll-wheel-drive
2.0 TSI140kW320Nm7-speed DSGAll-wheel-drive

Diesel engines:

1.6 TDI85kW250Nm6-speed manualFront-wheel-drive
2.0 TDI110kW340Nm6-speed manualFront-wheel-drive
2.0 TDI110kW340Nm6-speed manualAll-wheel-drive
2.0 TDI110kW340Nm7-speed DSGFront-wheel-drive
2.0 TDI110kW340Nm7-speed DSGAll-wheel-drive
2.0 TDI140kW400Nm7-speed DSGAll-wheel-drive

5. Widely available, multi-mode all-wheel drive 

As you'll have seen above, just over half of the models are front-wheel-driven, but VW is at least offering a good spread of 4Motion all-wheel-drive derivatives. 

This permanent all-wheel-drive system operates like most in its class, driving the front wheels under most circumstances to boost efficiency, but roping the back axle in when extra traction is needed. 

Drivers will also have the choice of four modes: Street, Snow, Offroad and Offroad Individual, with the latter offering variable settings.

6. Advanced driving technologies galore

The T-Roc offers a long list of technologies that assist the driver and make things more comfortable, some of which you wouldn’t expect to find in this class.

For starters, adaptive damping is offered as an option, as is adaptive cruise control. The characteristics of those, along with the steering and DSG gearbox, can be adapted to the driver’s preference through a five-mode driving profile selection system.

There’s an impressively long list of driver-assisting safety gadgets too, and some of them are standard, including City Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Monitoring, Lane Assist. 

Other available features include Lane Change System with Rear Traffic Alert, Traffic Jam Assist, Light Assist main-beam control and many more.

IOL Motoring