We drove the new VW T-Roc 1.0 TSI 115 HP Style: A car standing out like a rock…

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VW has an enviable reputation of building rock solid cars, which truly stand the test of time. They just launched another one here, aptly named T-ROC. Standing strong on its longer legs, it carries state of the art 3-cylinder petrol engine technology, together with a host of very clever infotainment and other electronics. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The T-ROC establishes further the strong presence of the German automaker in the compact SUV segment, where it has already some formidable irons in the fire, like the Audi Q2 for instance.

People are nowadays looking for a car with a bolder stance, sitting somewhat higher on its wheels and looking and feeling somewhat more solid. The VW engineers and styling people truly delivered. The T-ROC breathes the more angular and sharper edged styling language which is fashionable and timelessly proportioned, looking good from any angle.

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In the cabin one finds back the time tested VW recipes for excellent ergonomics, and all the familiar knobs and handles.

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Recently VW has put the standard of workmanship, finish and the quality of the used materials up to premium level, and the dashboard shines with polished gleaming surfaces and optional led lighting around cabin contours.

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All the function knobs are on the familiar places, with state of the art virtual instrument display now adorning the cluster ahead of the driver. Indeed, one can now opt for the map to be displayed in the eyesight of the driver, a setup we loved very much. The only indications which demand your further attention are then the digital display of the driven speed and the gearchange indicator. Neat and clever.

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A smooth, well honed drive…

The premium character of the T-ROC does not end with its looks, touch and feel. This subtle and pleasant feeling continues when you push the starting knob. The smooth 3-cylinder 1 liter petrol engine jumps to life, and you barely hear and feel it.

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We already described the good qualities of this engine in our test of the Polo, and this time it comes into the top 115 HP tune instead of the 95 HP guise, and is now coupled to the 6 speed manual gearbox instead of the clever DSG.

The manual box let us feel even more clearly the excellent elasticity and good torque delivery of this engine. We were able to potter around with velvety smoothness at 30 km/h in third gear, with enough torque to accelerate out of any given traffic situation without having to change down. Constant speed driving at 50 km/h on urban circular roads can easily be done in fifth gear, and these low revs mean that you can achieve consumptions around the 6 liter mark even in very tight urban traffic. Urban consumption is officially 6,1 l/100 km, extra-urban 4,5 l/100 km and the combined figure is 5,1 l/100 km. CO2 emissions are a creditworthy 117 g/km.

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Driving briskly (average speed 74 km) on a very congested motorway to the airport cost only 5,4 l/100 km… 

You guessed it, only when an electric vehicle is charged using exclusively renewable energy is E-power more Eco friendly. And then we a not talking about the extra ecological footprint caused by building an E-car and especially its batteries, nor do we consider the extra pollution when disposing of it.

So does is building and using this T-ROC ecologically sensible for the coming decade(s)? Abolutely!

Amazing how well this 1 liter (999 cc to be exact) engine takes this extra power in its stride, the 115 HP version is by no means less smooth or silent than the 95 HP version. These state of the art engines can marry docility with power and high torque to a degree which is so far unseen. Torque of 200 Nm is available across a very wide rev range between 2000 and 3500 rpm, whereas maximum power of 115 HP is reached between 5000 and 5500 rpm.

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All this translates in very good overall liveliness, and this VW T-ROC never feels underpowered. Of course, when you are in a more sporting mood, you will enjoy the pleasant staccato when you rev this unit up, and you will delight in flicking through the gears with this manual gearbox.

Performance is up to the mark, with an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 10,1 seconds, and a top speed of 187 km/h.

Responsive and comfortable

The platform of the T-Roc is the well known MQB platform, which it shares with the VW Golf, Audi A3, so you can expect top notch handling and road behavior. The handling is everything you would ever want of a compact SUV.

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The T-Roc steers with precision, cornering at high speeds is totally without fuss, straight line stability is perfect, road surface feedback is excellent and the T-Roc is also rock stable in the wet.

The race and competition proven technology combines with the mass production experience, as this platform and suspension is shared by all the brands of the VW group, and is the basis of a very wide range of models. Comfort is also flawless, as is the support and “ideal” firmness of the seats, and the T-Roc offers all the roominess you can expect in this segment. Indeed, the T-Roc is bigger than the Golf. Boot space is equally generous with 445 liter with both rear backrests up, and can be expanded to not less than 1532 liter.

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Conclusion

Stylish, superbly built and finished, adorned with state of the art technology, ideally suited to modern environmental times and today’s (urban) mobility and driving conditions, this T-Roc really stands out.

It will be your frugal and reliable companion for years or decades to come, and indeed we regretted to part from it. There is one consolation however: there are also some more potent engine versions available for the T-Roc, both in petrol and diesel form, and for example the 1,5 liter TSI EVO engine will be a reason to sit behind the wheel of this lovely compact SUV again…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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