The model year 2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style.
The model year 2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style.

Badge alone has the pulling power to inspire SUV buyers

Badge snobbery is alive and well.

Lucky for Volkswagen, the punters see the brand as upward of mainstream — marketing types would call it “aspirational”.

That gives the new T-Roc a mighty headstart despite being late to the packed SUV party. Sedans, wagons and hatches are being left in the wake of a tsunami of SUV popularity, with small and medium-sized versions of the high-riding wagons leading the charge.

The T-Roc comes with impressive lineage. It shares the Golf’s architecture and has the same engine and transmission combination as found in the Mark 8 version of the famed hatch.

Prices start from $38,281 drive-away for the 110TSI Style that we’re testing, which prices it among the upper end of small SUVs.

The model year 2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style.
The model year 2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style.

VALUE

Compared to some rivals, the VW lacks some of the equipment you’d expect at this price point.

Upping the indulgence ante in our car is a luxury package that includes heated seats, a panoramic sunroof and leather trim for $3800. Also fitted is a $2000 sound and vision pack that incorporates a 300W stereo system, digital cockpit with a 10.25-inch instrument cluster, satnav as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Standard gear incorporates 18-inch alloys, dual-zone aircon, push-button start and the smartphone mirroring apps.

White and red with a black roof are complimentary colour options, while metallic blue, grey, black, orange, yellow and white/silver add $600.

Collectively that takes our T-Roc more than $44,800.

Servicing plans are available: five years is covered for $1900 which VW says represents a saving of $768, or three years for $1200 (a saving of $155).

Warranty coverage is five years and unlimited kilometres, with one year of roadside assist. That warranty coverage is similar to most manufactruers, although short by roadside assist standards.

Volkswagen’s T-Roc 110TSI Style with the luxury package that includes heated seats, a panoramic sunroof and leather trim for $3800.
Volkswagen’s T-Roc 110TSI Style with the luxury package that includes heated seats, a panoramic sunroof and leather trim for $3800.

SAFETY

Five stars were awarded to the T-Roc during 2017 courtesy of European testing.

Strong structural integrity was achieved, while the expected modern technology of brakes which can be automatically applied if a frontal collision is detected, radar cruise control to maintain set distances from other vehicles in traffic, as well as rear traffic alert to warn of oncoming traffic when reversing are all standard inclusions.

The emergency braking system doesn’t work in reverse like in some rivals, while the T-Roc also misses out on the junction warning system which can peer around corners to avoid intersection bingles.

The Volkswagen T-Roc’s five-star safety rating comes from overseas testing achieved in 2017.
The Volkswagen T-Roc’s five-star safety rating comes from overseas testing achieved in 2017.

COMFORT

Spacious and thoughtfully laid out, the T-Roc has a cabin which is easily navigated while also offering modern minimalisation.

There’s fast access to aircon controls on the console, while quick-access menu buttons flank the touchscreen.

The optional driver’s configurable digital cockpit adds some complexity to the steering wheel buttons, but after some analysis it’s simple to find your preferred setup, with a range of options for speedo, tacho, satnav and vehicle information.

Vienna leather provides some opulence for those willing to dig deeper into their pocket. Back seat space is good for two adults, and there are air vents along with two USB points. VW has shifted to USB-C ports — adaptors are inexpensive for those who still have a plethora of the larger USB-A cords.

Dual cupholders in the centre console and a pair in the fold-down rear armrest handle takeaway coffees, and each door can handle a bottle.

Hard plastics are used across the doors and dash, although helping to lift the appeal are glossy black finishes around the gear shifter and a leather-bound flat-bottom steering wheel.

Often when SUVs are based on hatch or sedan siblings there are minimal space gains, but that’s not the case in the T-Roc. The boot is 445 litres, which is about 70L better than the Golf.

The rear seats also fold flat for a useful loading area.

An optional feature in the Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style is a digital cockpit.
An optional feature in the Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style is a digital cockpit.

DRIVING

Being the baby of the T-Roc pairing, the 110TSI offers reliable and confident performance.

Minimal road rumble on good surfaces delivers a quiet cabin and it corners with dexterity, while rapid changes in direction are handled comfortably.

All-wheel drive and a punchier 140kW version is available for an extra investment of about $6700, though most drivers will find the base engine responsive and capable in varying conditions. The 0–100km/h sprint time of 8.7 seconds proves it’s no rocket ship, yet this variant uses a conventional eight-speed automatic to drive the front wheels which means no acceleration hesitation sometimes associated with dual-clutch self-shifters found in the up-spec model.

Fuel consumption over nearly 2000km has been 7.7L/100km with a mixture of around-town activities and highway travels, more than a litre higher than the official figure from VW.

Tick a couple of optional extra boxes and the Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style costs more than $40,000 on the road.
Tick a couple of optional extra boxes and the Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style costs more than $40,000 on the road.

HEAD SAYS

Good space, high levels of comfort and it feels typically European capable on the road.

HEART SAYS

Hatches are outdated. SUVs are the new black; this is far groovier than a Golf and the VW badge delivers extra kudos at school drop-off.

ALTERNATIVES

MG ZS T ESSENCE $32,990 D/A

This variant is powered by a 115kW/230Nm 1.3-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol, and while a big step up in price from the base model ZS it’s an equally big improvement in performance and features. You’d pay an extra $10k for similar features with other brands. Doesn’t have the driving prowess of the T-Roc.

HYUNDAI KONA ELITE $40,220 D/A

One of the segment’s biggest sellers, this model comes with much of the equipment that’s optional on the T-Roc. Also has a five-year warranty, powered by a 146kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo, and has all-wheel drive. Boot of 374L.

It’s worth analyses the feature list on the Volkswagen T-Roc to ensure it stacks up to expectations.
It’s worth analyses the feature list on the Volkswagen T-Roc to ensure it stacks up to expectations.

VERDICT

A few friends have turned their nose up at other brands during recent weeks, and VW proved the ‘posh’ chosen option on each occasion. The features list may not be long, but it shines with good looks and driving prowess.



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