Bet­ter late than never: Volk­swa­gen un­veils the T-Roc com­pact cross­over

The Ger­man gi­ant be­comes the last global player to join the bur­geon­ing com­pact cross­over class.

Bangkok Post - - BUSINESS - By Richard Leu

Bet­ter late than never… Per­haps, as is the case with big au­to­mo­tive play­ers when reach­ing out for new sales ter­ri­tory. Un­veiled in Europe re­cently, the T-Roc is Volk­swa­gen’s an­swer for the com­pact SUV class sit­ting be­low the Tiguan model.

The Ger­man gi­ant has be­come the last ma­jor brand to join the bur­geon­ing com­pact cross­over race af­ter Toy­ota (another au­to­mo­tive ti­tan but from the Far East) rolled out the C-HR, which is be­ing launched around the globe (in­clud­ing Thai­land later this year) to ri­val the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Nis­san Juke.

As with many new edi­tions in­tro­duced this year by ri­val brands, the T-Roc has been de­signed with moder­nity and youth­ful­ness in mind. Note the two-tone ex­te­rior treat­ment and colour-match­ing in­te­rior, high­light­ing the brand’s lat­est dig­i­tal in­stru­ment panel.

By sit­ting on a 2.6m wheel­base, the T-Roc prom­ises com­pet­i­tive cabin space for five peo­ple and their be­long­ings.

Is there a plug-in hy­brid?

VW has an­nounced a range of con­ven­tional TSI petrol and TDI diesel en­gines with out­puts rang­ing from 115hp to 190hp. While a six-speed man­ual gear­box and front-wheel drive fea­ture in cost-ef­fec­tive ver­sions (like the 1.0-litre TSI), more so­phis­ti­cated ones (like the 2.0-litre TDI and the 2.5-litre TSI) get a seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic and 4Mo­tion all-wheel drive.

It’s likely that VW will of­fer a plug-in hy­brid at a later stage be­cause sis­ter brand Audi is also plan­ning one for Q2. Speak­ing of the VW Group, the other two sib­lings of the T-Roc are the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq, both un­veiled ear­lier this year and aim­ing their guns pri­mar­ily in Europe at the Citroen C3 Air­cross, Peu­geot 2008 and Re­nault Cap­tur.

But VW isn’t in­ter­ested in sell­ing it in Thai­land…

In or­der for SUVs of this na­ture to sell in Thai­land, they must be as­sem­bled in Asean be­cause that’s how pop­u­lar mod­els like the HR-V man­age to yield prices of less than 1 million baht.

And since this re­gion is more of a play­ground for Ja­panese car­mak­ers, don’t ex­pect the T-Roc to be made around here — un­less Volk­swa­gen AG springs a sur­prise in Thai in­vest­ment, which is again un­likely.

In fact, the Thai VW agent has re­cently made it clear that it will be fo­cus­ing on just the Car­avelle peo­ple car­rier. It’s the same with Hyundai, whose bread­win­ning model in the coun­try is the H1/Starex, de­spite its lat­est baby SUV called Kona.

Which is quite a pity, be­cause from first im­pres­sions the T-Roc looks to be a promis­ing SUV in its class in terms of styling, func­tion­al­ity and tech­nol­ogy.

TOP TO BOTTO M The most po­tent T- Roc yet has a 190hp petrol en­gine.

The T-Roc sits on a com­pet­i­tive wheel­base of 2.6m.

A dig­i­tal in­stru­ment panel adorns the fas­cia.

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