Volkswagen T-Toc is one of those SUVs that come to India via the CBU (Completely Built Unit) route. To avoid the homologation process, only a restricted quantity (1,000 units) of the T-Roc can be imported in India by Volkswagen in a year. However, the T-Roc fails to stay true to characteristics that are considered as baselines while designing an SUV. It is compact, the ground clearance stands at 150 mm only, and there’s no AWD layout either. Moreover, this SUV hardly justifies its price tag of Rs. 19.99 lakh for the dimensions it boasts. However, by the time you are reading this review, the first batch of 1,000 units is already sold out. So let's find out the formula that Volkswagen got right with the T-Roc.
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Review – Exterior
Just one glance at the T-Roc is enough to understand how small it is. It measures 4,342 mm in length, 1,819 mm in width and 1,573 mm in height. To put things into perspective, it is as tall as a Hyundai Venue. However, its length and width are evident when looked at in flesh. For the styling, the T-Roc uses a minimalistic approach with the right amount of curves and creases to stay connected to Volkswagen’s family design language. On the front, there’s a sleek yet wide grille, which merges into LED headlamps giving it a single-piece effect. Below the headlamps, there are bullet-shaped LED DRLs, and they do double-up as turn indicators. Around the chin, the T-Roc gets a solid-looking skid plate, and the fog lamps are housed in the black cladding itself.
The side profile of the T-Roc looks sporty. Raking front and rear windscreen aid it with a coupe-SUV-like stance. The black cladding runs across its length, giving it the SUVish character. Helping in this aspect furthermore are the dual-tone roof rails. The T-Roc sits on a set of 17-inch rims, which look sporty and are good at filling the haunched-up wheel arches. Also, the T-Roc comes with a black roof, irrespective of the colour option you wish to go with. But, the C-pillar here is not blacked-out, which again is another design highlight.
The rear profile of the T-Roc looks elegant too. The boot lid gets just two creases, which are as straight as a ruler. The Volkswagen logo in the centre is the switch for the boot lid and also doubles up as a backup camera. The tail lamps here are all-LED units, and their glow-pattern can easily confuse some un-trained eyes for an Audi. The dual-tone bumper looks sporty, but Volkswagen designers could’ve done without the faux exhaust. All in all, the Volkswagen T-Roc looks appealing and strange but surely grabs a lot of attention.
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Review – Interior
The T-Roc feels small from the outside, but from the driver side, its width is apparent. Also, what else is evident is the build quality. The first thought that struck our mind after stepping in the T-Roc is that it feels very Audi-ish in many aspects. Starting with the instrument console, it feels like a direct lift from the 2019 Audi A6. It is 10.25 inches in dimensions and is highly customizable. The dashboard too is nicely laid out and boasts of a great design, which comprises of panels running along its length. However, the plastics used for the dash feel hard and scratchy.
In the centre of the dashboard, there is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The sound output from the system is good too. Beneath the infotainment screen, there are switches to operate the dual-zone climate control. Also, there are enough storage spaces in the cabin to keep your phone and other knick-knacks tight and handy.
Talking of the seats, the front ones are snug and comfy. They can accommodate the largest of the occupants with ease. Unfortunately, they lack electric adjustability and ventilation function. However, the view of the road from these seats is panoramic. Moving over to the rear bench, it is well-padded too. However, tall occupants would run short of headroom and knee room. If you plan to seat three here, they would also run out of shoulder room. Therefore, it is best to use it with just two occupants with the centre armrest folded down.
The T-Roc features a tri-colour theme for the upholstery. The milder colour tones do make the cabin feel airy. Moreover, there’s a full-size panoramic sunroof to alleviate the claustrophobic feel, if in case anyone does. In terms of equipment, the T-Roc comes fitted with six airbags, electronic parking brake, front & rear parking sensors, heated ORVMs, lane-keep assist, head-on collision warning and more. The trunk volume of the T-Roc stands at 445 litres. It isn’t the best in the segment but can stow away the luggage of four for a weekend getaway.
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Review – Engine & Gearbox
In the Indian market, Volkswagen is offering the T-Roc with just one engine-gearbox combination – 1.5L TSI Evo engine with a 7-speed DSG. This 1.5L TSI motor boasts of a 4-cylinder layout and uses a turbocharger for improved volumetric efficiency. Interestingly, this motor feels like if it’s working in a theoretically-ideal condition. The lower-end feels just adequate, but it is the mid-range where the power and torque start to leap northwards. This motor revs all the way up to its 6,500 rpm redline, where it puts out 150 PS of peak power. The max torque, however, is rated at 250 Nm.
With the 7-speed DSG unit, this motor feels tractable in almost every part of its rev-range. Moreover, the 7-speed gearbox is fast at shifting gears, and it also offers the option of Sports mode and manual mode. To use the latter, the driver can either utilize the steering-mounted paddle shifters or can rock the gear shift lever up and down. In the Sports mode, the gearbox holds the revs till redline and is always eager to downshift. With one spirited drive around the twisties in both of these modes; we could understand that a human cannot outperform this gearbox in making the right decision about the gear that T-Roc should be in.
Talking of the NVH levels, they are well controlled. The engine feels refined at every point of the rev-range. At idle, there are no vibrations to observe, and the suite is followed till the redline. Also, we never saw the temperature bar rising over to a point where we felt the need to pull over. Although, the throttle body valve was wide open all the time. Another good aspect this motor possesses is the way it sounds. There’s a typical inline-4 whine in the higher rpms. Also, this is quite frugal, and it can de-activate two of its cylinders when coasting or pondering around city roads with easy-going traffic.
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Review – Ride & Handling
Volkswagen has imported the T-Roc as is to the Indian shores. The suspension tuning remains the same as on the Euro-spec model. Thus, it offers a lot more feedback than other SUVs in its price range. The suspension is capable of handling bad roads with grace and poise, and it can absorb the impacts of large potholes too. Moreover, when going through the tight bends, the body-roll is well-controlled and inspires immense confidence.
Moving over to the steering wheel, it is rich in feel and feedback. Also, it is well-balanced and direct. However, we found it to be lighter than our liking at high speeds. On the flip side, the lightness is a boon in tight parking spaces. The T-Roc comes with disc brakes at all of its ends. The response and feedback from this setup are appreciable. Volkswagen has also managed to fit the lane-keep assist and front collision warning here.
Furthermore, the 215-section tyres offer loads of grip. Therefore, pushing the car around the corners is not a scary job. It is fun, instead. Since the T-Roc is shorter than all of its rivals, this aspect works in its favour when considering its driving dynamics. The centre of gravity sits lower here, and the long wheelbase and wide tracks offer a lot of mechanical grip. In simpler words, the T-Roc is one of the best-handling SUVs that are currently on sale in the country.
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Review – Verdict
Volkswagen T-Roc is on sale in India at a starting price of Rs. 19.99 lakh. However, this compact-SUV is already sold out for the year 2020. A big reason for this response from the Indian audience goes to its superior build quality, great driving dynamics, and appealing looks. Furthermore, it is loaded in terms of features that can keep the occupants safe, entertained, and happy. Talking of the rivals, the T-Roc competes against the likes of Jeep Compass, Skoda Karoq and more. And, it is capable of being differentiated from its rivals. Our final call would be, if you are in the market to buy a German SUV and can’t afford one of the three big German badges, Volkswagen T-Roc is the car to go for.