The highly anticipated Volkswagen T-Roc has arrived in South Africa, making it the fifth SUV in VW’s T SUV line-up. It now looks like this: T-Cross, T-Roc, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, and the Touareg.
In case you’re wondering why so many of SUV vehicles are now in the country: it is the fastest growing segment globally and locally, with an increase of 44% from 2015 to 2019.
VW says the T-Roc is aimed at the “styled performance seeker”. People who are established in their careers, disruptors, seek quality over quantity, place importance on healthy lifestyles and have a good knowledge of vehicles.
I love the look of the T-Roc; it is bold, daring and looks great in red. The T-Roc is also VW’s first SUV to offer two-tone shades, and the second model to feature the new VW logo. The T-Roc is based on the Golf and drives like one; it also takes up the same space on the road as a Golf but it is marginally shorter. This sounds like a winner already for the South African market where the Golf is a fan favourite, and loved by the masses.
VW SA explains that the T-Roc is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) meaning that the T-Roc offers a Golf-like level of ride comfort; it is 80mm longer than the T-Cross and 162mm shorter than the Tiguan. When there are five passengers in the vehicle, the luggage space available is 445 litres but the backrests can be folded down to a 60/40 split, giving you 1290 litres of space.
I have seen comments about SA getting “old stock”; and a rebranded Golf. My opinion about that is there are customers who probably want the ride quality of a Golf but are looking to buy an SUV. In makes sense in Joburg where you can take a drive an hour and a bit out and this car would be suitable.
VW SA said at the launch event last week that more than 700 customers put down deposits for this car, without seeing it physically. That sounds like a good start for the T-Roc brand. Customers will take delivery of their vehicles early in December.
Some other highlights include 17″ Alloy wheels, ambient lighting in white, two-zone climate control, high beam control, and park distance control.
There are two models in the line-up, starting with a 1.4TSI with 110kW and 250Nm of torque (8-speed Tiptronic). It goes from 0-100km/h in 8.4 seconds and has a top speed of 205km. The next level is an all-new 2.0TSI with 140kW and 320Nm of torque (7-speed DSG), 4Motion all-wheel drive. It goes from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 216km. There are are two trim levels, the Design for more styling elements and the R-Line for sportiness.
I drove both, starting with the 1.4L on day one and the 2L the next day, which is how I preferred it in terms of ordering. I like starting with the smaller one, and it was a comfortable drive but at times, given how I drive, I felt it to be slightly underpowered. However, I loved the 2.0L a lot. It was by far the more fun one and if you want to zip around town, this is the one to get.
ALL THE TECH
I’m going to focus on the tech of the T-Roc as you know, this is my thing. The connectivity highlights as per VW is Active Info Display, 8-inch infotainment display, inductive mobile charging, app connect and We Connect Go. Unfortunately, none of the launch models had the inductive mobile charging like the T-Cross. The wireless charging feature is standard on the R-Line.
The T-Roc comes standard with the 8-inch infotainment colour display and two USB-C ports. App Connect enables you to pair your phone to the infotainment system wirelessly, and the T-Roc has this as a wireless feature so you don’t need a cable to pair it. This feature is with the Discover Media System. Navigation is also available as an extra.
I have a post about We Connect Go, when I tested the DataPlug, which I absolutely loved. You pair your phone to the car to access vehicle data, which includes a fuel monitor, gives the driver an overview of the condition of the vehicle; among other things it records trips, calculates the efficiency of the way you drive and provides notifications for servicing and tyre changes. It also has a fun feature that earns you badges for skill on the road, safe driving habits.
The digital instrument cluster has an optional Active Info Display digital cluster. It allows the 11.7-inch screen to display them how you want with various views available. It’s worth playing around and finding something that would suit you based on the info that’s important to you. I just drove an eGolf recently for a month and kept toggling the screens for various info based on where I was going.
Safety features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Park Distance Control, LED Headlights, Light and Vision Package, Blind Spot Monitor and Fatigue Detection. The T-Roc has I.Q Drive technologies like Park Assist, Emergency Assist, Front Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist.
The entry-level 1.4L has these tech features as standard: 8″ touchscreen radio composition media, 6 speakers, Bluetooth, USB interface for iPhone and iPod; App Connect; Smartphone connectivity 4x USB in total in the vehicle; and voice control. These are optional extras: Wireless App Connect; 8″ touchscreen with Navigation and Discover media like Blueooth and USB interface for iPhone; Beats sound system; and wireless charging.
T-Roc 1.4 TSI 110kW Tiptronic Design – R489 400
T-Roc 2.0 TSI 140kW 4MOTION DSG Design – R548 300
T-Roc 2.0 TSI 140kW 4MOTION DSG R-Line – R593 600
8″ touchscreen with nav – R17 300
Inductive charging – R4000
Beats sound system – R9500
The T-Roc comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty, 5 year/ 90 000km Volkswagen Service Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000km.
I loved the look and feel of this car and what it stands for. I enjoyed driving the 2L more than the 1.4L obviously, so it gets my vote. I found the layout comfortable and easy to access what I needed to. It has loads of tech available, even though a lot is optional. This isn’t an entry-level SUV, the T-Cross fits that bracket. The T-Roc is a car for someone who is stylish, established, wants to stand out but also wants something more than just going from A to B. If you like attention on the road, I think it might be worth getting the two tone option because that’s definitely going to make people look. I think if you drive a Golf and are having difficulty letting go, this could be your next option.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 14 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org