Volkswagen T-Roc Review: Value for Money SUV but in an Unconventional Way
Volkswagen T-Roc. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
In length, The Volkswagen T-Roc is slightly smaller than a Hyundai Creta. In height, it’s pretty much at par with some of the sub-4 metre compact SUVs that we have in our market and yet, this car costs Rs 19.99 lakh (ex-showroom). It also has a really interesting story about it and because of which, the T-Roc is already sold out in our country. So why are we talking about it? Well, simply put, this is perhaps one of the best Volkswagens to ever make it on our roads.
The interesting story that we spoke of, is that Volkswagen imports this car to India as a Completely Built-up Unit (CBU) as a part of the government’s new relaxed import regulations which states that, a company can bring in 2,500 units of any vehicle to the country without the need for having it homologated.
In short, the T-Roc is a straight-up import but with a lower price tag. Now yes, Rs 19.99 lakh isn’t low by any margin but if the T-Roc had gone through homologation, then this price would have been way higher. Having said that, only 1,000 units of the T-Roc were allotted to India and all of them got sold in about 40 days, making it the fastest-selling VW in our country.
So what makes it so special? Well, let’s start with the design. The car, as we said, is quite compact but what adds to the appeal is that the car is wide. And being not so tall and long, the T-Roc has great proportions and a confident stance. I especially like the LED daytime running lights which double up as turn indicators. Other than that, you get a blacked-out roof, body cladding all around the car and the car’s named spelt out on the middle of the boot lid and thankfully, it doesn’t look tacky. I’m looking at you, MG Gloster.
It also gets 17-inch alloy wheels which fill up the wheel arches really well. Also, it wears some high profile tyres which go a long way in absorbing the bumps and undulations of our roads and add comfort to the ride quality.
In short, the T-Roc looks really smart and the design grows on you the more you look at it.
And this smartness carries on to the inside as well.
Once you step inside the Volkswagen T-Roc, well, the first thing that is evident is just how big the car feels from inside the cabin. So despite having smaller proportions on the outside, it excels in giving you that big car feels from inside the cabin. A big reason for that is that the car is really wide. As a result, you have a big dash laid out in front of you and when you add the fact that you have brilliant visibility, well, the cabin feel goes to a different level altogether.
Now, coming to the cabin design itself, well, it is all very business-y with the typical Volkswagen design language. However, they have made use of several different shades of well, grey. But it still manages to make it look funky, modern and the highlight of the cabin is, of course, the big 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
This comes with touch-based controls all around giving the entire console a flush look. The touch response is really nice, the screen feels really smooth to use and it also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. So it gets full marks in that department.
Other than that, you also get a fully digital instrument cluster that is really crisp to look at. Great colours on it and has fantastic visibility.
All in all, the T-Roc not only gives you the feeling of a big car but it also feels properly premium on the front seat. It is also very high on practicality with ample storage spaces all across the cabin. The boot space too is pretty big.
But once you sit here at the back of the Volkswagen T-Roc, well, the story is a little bit different. Gone is the big SUV feel as in terms of the sheer amount of space that you get, well, let’s just say it is decent at best and you can get a lot more spacious cabins in this price bracket.
However, the airy feeling is still aplenty as you have large glass panels and a big panoramic sunroof up top. However, when it comes to being seated at the back, I would recommend not more than two people, as the third person who would be seated in the middle, the scooped out seat with the big transmission tunnel would make them feel squeezed. But if you have two people seated, you can make use of the generously sized armrest which comes with adjustable cup holders, I mean, how good of attention to detail is that.
Overall, you get a really comfortable seating position. This is one of the most comfortable seats I’ve sat in, in this segment. So long rides at the back of the Volkswagen T-Roc, for two people at least, won’t be a problem.
And speaking of long rides, the T-Roc has a good amount of boot space as well. And it has a massive 59-litre fuel tank which will give you over 700 km of range when full.
But now let’s come to the best part about the T-Roc, which is the way it drives.
This is powered by a new 1.5-litre petrol engine that is turbocharged and makes 150 PS of power and 250 Nm of torque. It may not seem like a lot but when you consider the size of the T-Roc, well, it’s more than enough. The engine is extremely refined and has a good spread of power down low in the RPM band which eliminates the dreadful feeling of having turbo-lag. Hit the mid-range and you’ll be served with oodles of performance and the engine is happy to rev all the way to 6,500 RPM.
Interestingly, the engine also has a cylinder-deactivation system which shuts down two of the four cylinders when you are cruising around, to save you fuel. And gets back on in an instant when you need it to. And since the engine is so refined, you wouldn’t even realise when this entire process happens.
Also, Volkswagen has given it the 7-speed DSG gearbox which is the gold-standard of dual-clutch gearboxes and it impresses in the T-Roc as well with smooth and precise gear shifts.
Also, since the T-Roc is properly European, the suspension is actually meant for European roads too. As a result, it’s not very calm and composed over potholes of our Indian roads. But once you start driving a bit faster, you will thoroughly enjoy driving this car. A well-balanced chassis, a direct-feeling steering and absolutely fantastic brakes make the car such a hoot to drive. This is definitely for the drivers and not for the chauffeur-driven.
So to sum it all up, having driven it for over 300 km in a variety of different driving conditions, I can say that the T-Roc is a special car and a big reason for that, is that you get the exact same car in this exact same form as if you were to buy it in Europe. That adds a particular flavour to the car that you do not get to see in other offerings in the segment.
At this point, I would have asked you to go out and take a drive in the car and take a closer look at it but as of now, the bookings for the T-Roc is closed. I’m fairly confident that Volkswagen will open it up again and if you’re in the market looking for a car that helps you stand out while being good in almost every driving condition, the T-Roc is a highly recommended option.