Saturday Star

T-roc rocks all the right moves


THERE’S a myriad of options for people looking to get behind the wheel of a new car and as buyers leave traditiona­l saloon cars in droves for more Suv-type vehicles, manufactur­ers have obviously stepped up their variations on the theme to cover every niche within that market.

As the world’s largest automaker, Volkswagen have covered that segment well, too well according to some commentato­rs, including the T-roc 2.0 4Motion R line on test here.

The T-roc sits between the hugely popular T-cross and the Tiguan and has two engine variations with a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol and the 2.0-litre turbocharg­ed one we drove which is a “detuned” version of the one found in the GTI, delivering 140kw and 320Nm to all four wheels with VW’S 4Motion set-up via a seven-speed DSG transmissi­on.

It’s an eye-catcher to be sure and a showcase for modern design and in R line guise 19-inch Suzuka alloys, “R” badges strategica­lly placed and chrome detailing around the grille and rear bumper, and a variety of paint finishers while LED daytime running lights deliver a good dollop of street cred.

Inside it’s very much the same with Vienna leather seats, optional 11.4-inch high-resolution Active Info Display digital cluster, leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel, and an easy to reach and operate switchgear. The white contoured seats and pin stripes in the door panels round off a pleasant place to spend time. If there’s one criticism, though, it’s the hard plastics on the door panel and dash that don’t do the almost R600 000 price tag justice.

While the loadspace is pegged at 392 litres and 1 237 litres with the rear seats down, rear passenger space is rather limited. I had the driver’s seat set forward enough for me to be comfortabl­e enough and asked my son, a strapping 17-year-old, to sit behind me. A 30km drive he said was okay, but any long road trip would be decidedly uncomforta­ble, especially if there was another passenger.

The T-roc’s road manners are a pleasure thanks in part to a ground clearance of 158mm that does however limit your ability to go too far off the black stuff, but I doubt potential owners have much more in mind than the occasional trip to a game farm.

There’s virtually no turbo lag with a brisk take off and the engine invites vigorous driving, especially when using the paddles in its sportier mode. Because of its lower centre of gravity, it corners deceptivel­y well with minimal body roll. Steering is direct and aided well by the allwheel drive system. While the suspension is on the firm side it will gladly even out slight road imperfecti­ons, but the 19-inch alloys with low profile tyres make pot holes and corrugatio­n on smooth dirt rather harsh.

During highway driving the T-roc cruises along effortless­ly, the DSG transmissi­on moving up and down without the slightest effort, and thanks to the low down torque passing slower traffic is a cinch.

The list of standard features and safety specificat­ions is what you’ve come to expect from a premium VW product including adaptive cruise control which I think is probably the best invention since the internal combustion engine.

The T-roc 2.0 4Motion R line is an outstandin­g package but it’s somewhat limited by rear passenger space if you want to cart a family along, and while the all-wheel-drive and 2.0-litre engine add a sense of excitement and dynamic driving, I wonder whether the 1.4-litre TSI front wheel drive isn’t a more sensible option.

It comes with a threeyear/120 000km warranty fiveyear/90 000km service plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

T-roc 1.4 110 kw Tiptronic

Design: R489 900

T-roc 2.0 140 kw 4Motion DSG

Design: R548 300

T-roc 2.0 140 kw 4Motion

DSG R-line: R593 600

 ??  ?? THE T-roc is an eye-catcher with its modern design.
THE T-roc is an eye-catcher with its modern design.

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