Volkswagen’s impressive roster of revitalised R performance machines keeps on rolling in, with the introduction during spring of the 221kW/400Nm T-Roc R. It’s the ‘Baby R’ with bite.
The vehicular landscape is constantly changing. What were the ‘go to’ forms of passenger transport 30 years ago have, in some instances, been thoroughly kicked to the margins, replaced by other formats that didn’t exist back then.
Take the compact crossover SUV, for example: it’s the fastest growing segment of the passenger vehicle market in New Zealand.
Smaller in size than a traditional SUV but retaining a higher ride-height than a sedan, coupled with the nimble dexterity of a hatchback, compact crossover SUVs tick a lot of different boxes for a lot of different drivers.
Now, with the T-Roc R, Volkswagen has added “sportscar attitude” to what was already a pretty compelling equation.
Kiwis have already seen the latest generation of the iconic Golf R arrive here earlier in 2022, followed closely by the mid-size Tiguan R, the most powerful Tiguan ever produced.
And now it’s the turn of the T-Roc.
The entire T-Roc crossover line-up has been comprehensively updated, with TSI Life and R-Line front-wheel-drive models also available. But it’s the range-topping T-Roc R that is firmly the sporty star of the show.
To make sure there really is plenty of ‘show’ to complement all that ‘go’, the T-Roc R arrives with plenty of exclusive R elements that ensure it stands out from the crowd. Exclusive exterior R details include unique front and rear bumpers and air intakes, clever IQ Matrix LED headlights and an LED lightbar which runs across the front grille, a body-coloured roof spoiler and blue ‘r’ brake calipers sitting inside 19” Estoril design alloy wheels.
The T-Roc R even gives allows for the option of selecting an amazing Akrapovič titanium sports exhaust upgrade, which adds all the dramatic pops and crackles you’d expect from a racy performance-focused machine wearing the R badge.
The extra R features are more than skin deep however: this is no simple dress-up exercise. Instead, Volkswagen has added plenty of tangible hardware and software that all work together to deliver dynamic thrills on the road.
For a start, the T-Roc R boasts double the power of the other versions in the range, with its 2.0-litre TSI turbo delivering an impressive 221kW peak power and 400Nm of torque – that’s up from the 250Nm of torque available in the TSI Life and R-Line versions.
The new T-Roc R also features advance dynamic chassis control, which replaces the standard suspension with an active damper. Different drive modes can be selected, depending upon what sort of terrain the driver is traversing, including an off-road driving mode.
That’s possible because the R version is also Volkswagen’s all-wheel drive T-Roc, with the manufacturer’s well-regarded 4Motion system constantly monitoring driving conditions and delivering traction to the wheels with the most grip.
Taken together, the dynamic advances the R iteration makes to the T-Roc template results in one slick crossover suv totally attuned to city living, yet one that retains the driver engagement and power to make any backroad a blast as well.
Regardless of the road ahead, a premium T-Roc interior with a sporty R edge awaits inside the cabin. This halo version features exclusive ‘Nappa’ leather appointed front sports seats, paddle shifters with which to manually change gears, aluminium scuff plates, blue ambient lighting accents in keeping with that famed R badge and a leather covered multifunction steering wheel that’s exclusive to the T-Roc R in the range.
Just like in its hot hatch sibling, the Golf R, the steering wheel features an R button on it. Standing for ‘race’ and allowing the driver to access ‘race mode’, this simple button pushes the sporty abilities of the T-Roc R front and centre, changing drive parameters such as suspension and steering feel to suit an engaging experience behind the wheel.
As you’d expect from a halo Volkswagen model, there is also plenty of technology on offer in the cabin designed to make the journey comfortable and connected as well. Standard convenience features include a 9.2” touchscreen display system with built-in Discover Pro satellite navigation, handy wireless app connect for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink, Bluetooth phone connectivity and voice recognition software.
The 5-Star ANCAP safety rated T-Roc R also features the same advanced safety systems you’d expect from any current generation Volkswagen. This includes an impressive array of modern day active and passive safety technology, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control with Travel Assist and Lane Keep, and Hill Start and Hill Descent Control, to cherry pick just a few highlights.
The compact crossover SUV segment is the fastest moving part of the Kiwi new car market. And with the Volkswagen T-Roc R compact crossover – the ‘Baby R’ – you definitely will be moving fast.