ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC

T-ROC a name that would be in harmony with a heavy metal group; there is a metal connection but with the new well sculptured compact SUV Crossover from Volkswagen.

Coming in under the Tiguan and comparable in size to the Golf, the newcomer is yet another SUV in the armoury of the giant German carmaker and there is more to come. The T-CROSS will be smaller than the T-ROC and will be even trendier and looking even further ahead an all electric SUV, the I.D. CRUZZ.

Volkswagen sold six million vehicles worldwide last year and amongst their many goals is to reach one million sales of electric cars.  With the new T-ROC, the emphasis is on personalisation with a number of bold new colours. Of course for the more conservative in our midst, there are the more traditional colours that we have come to expect from this manufacturer.

To match the well styled exterior, bold interiors finished to a high standard and depending on the version chosen an array of onboard goodies

Variants initially on offer, S, SE, Design and SEL with an R-Line version joining the range mid 2018. I did venture the question as to regards a GT version and the response from a Volkswagen representative; “never say never”. (I was prompted to ask the question after having driven the most powerful petrol version.)

Amidst snow and slush I came away impressed with the newcomer, especially in the handling department. A team responsible for the more performance geared Golf range were left to develop the T-ROC in this respect led by an ex-Porsche specialist- need I say any more?

The front suspension set up, coil springs with telescopic shocks and at the rear gas filled shocks and separate springs.  Stopping power is courtesy of ventilated front discs up front with rear discs and I feel that brakes are on the sharpish side, no complaint from me in this respect.

Amongst the options is Dynamic Chassis Control, with a choice of suspension settings, Sport, Comfort and Normal.  A wide range of both petrol and diesel versions will offer maximum customer choice and as I tend to favour the sportier things in life, on this occasion I majored on an SEL two litre TSI 4MOTION with a useful 190PS. Performance is delivered seamlessly courtesy of the DSG gearbox, which I first experienced on the original AUDI TT in Italy. Since then a fair amount of refining and tuning has left this to be one of the best transmissions available.

Certainly the 4MOTION all wheel drive system came into its own amidst the wintry conditions;  2WD is offered and will no doubt count for the majority of sales.

Worth noting Volkswagen predict that seventy percent of sales will be to the retail sector.

Returning to performance and with the SEL two litre TFSI, rest to 62mph (100kph) in 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 134mph (215kph). With such handling qualities fingers crossed that they do produce a GT version at least.

As regards the rest of the range even the one litre 115PS offers reasonable performance, I did manage a few miles in one; but I have to admit I was already sold on the two litre SEL.

When it comes to technology, it is premium in this sector; with the use of second generation Active Info Display as well as high end infotainment and state-of-the-art assistance systems. Regarding the practical side, load carrying ability, with the rear seats up – 392 litres and with the seats folded – 1237 litres.

The SEL two litre TFSI 4MOTION comes in at £31,485, (€35,745), however as often the case on press launches, a number of options brings the final tally to £35,690, (€ 40.519),N.I., which is a hefty sum. In the R.O.I, prices start at €24,750, with the 2.0 TDI SCR 4MOTION DSG starting at €36,695.

Earlier I did mention personalisation, included in the list of options is a Sport pack which delivers front sports seats, stainless steel pedals and red brake calipers; I would certainly put this pack on my shopping list.

There is a youthful air to the T-ROC, not for one minute am I suggesting that it has re-invented the SUV, but it takes it in a new direction.