The Volkswagen T-ROC SUV teased at Geneva will go on sale later in 2017 as a sub-Tiguan, Golf-sized crossover
Volkswagen will unveil a Golf-based T-ROC this summer as part of its plan to roll out more ‘emotional’ crossovers over the next 18 months, having arrived relatively late to try and capitalise on the sales success of the crossover SUV class.
The German marque has been contemplating a Golf-inspired SUV ever since the T-ROC concept was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014, but plans to debut a production car at Geneva this year were eventually scrapped in favour of a launch closer to its on-sale date at the end of 2017.
The VW T-ROC will join the line-up below the Tiguan and sitting alongside the Golf as Volkswagen seeks to target buyers who want practicality and a raised ride height, but who might otherwise be put off by the increased footprint of an SUV.
Although the T-ROC wasn’t present at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, an image of it was displayed during Volkswagen’s press conference as a teaser of what to expect. A boxier stance, squared-off wheelarches, bulky C-pillars and prominent shoulder line set it apart from the Tiguan.
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Mechanically, the T-ROC will share most of its DNA with the Audi Q2. In fact, the T-ROC is likely to be similar in length to the Audi, at around 4.2 metres, and measure 1.8m wide. The same version of the VW Group’s versatile MQB platform that underpins the Q2 and SEAT Ateca will form the basis of the T-ROC, so a wheelbase of around 2.6m is expected; that’s similar to the standard Golf hatchback’s, too.
The similarities with the hatch won’t end there, either, because engine and gearbox options available in the T-ROC are expected to be taken wholesale from the Golf range. That means an entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo with around 115bhp, while the 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI EVO turbo petrol engine that was first seen in the facelifted Golf will also be available.
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VW boss Herbert Diess had previously called into question the future of small-displacement diesel engines in compact cars, but the T-ROC will be unaffected by this change; diesel engines are expected to make up the bulk of sales for the new SUV.
We should see 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines in the T-ROC, with power ranging from 115bhp to 148bhp. Six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG gearboxes will be offered across most engine options.
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Entry-level versions will be front-wheel drive only, but it’s likely VW will make its 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system available on higher-spec diesel versions. In the Tiguan, more than 70 per cent of models sold in the UK are ordered with four-wheel drive. VW also has the ability, if it desires, to launch a range of variants of the T-ROC. Many of the crossover’s powertrains will be shared with the Golf, so there is the possibility of GTI, GTE plug-in, GTD and R versions in the future. A fully electric version is unlikely, because the company will pool all of its future electric cars under the new I.D. brand.
Following the new T-ROC into dealers later this year will be a new flagship Touareg SUV. After that, a small crossover based on the next Polo will be launched, as a rival to the forthcoming SEAT Arona and Nissan Juke.