Why is the VW T-ROC the most amazing car to buy in 2021!
Back in 2020, Volkswagen gave us a rather unusual surprise in the form of a FULLY IMPORTED compact SUV, the T-ROC. A name that sounds like it has been derived T-REX's cooler brother who listens to Linkin Park. But that is where the funny part of the story ends, because this is serious business. Volkswagen has been struggling to get a better car in the country that supplies to the demand of the consumers over here. With slowly diminishing popularity of luxury sedans in India, the Jetta and the Passat made lesser sense and they have been grappling to find new buyers till the time they existed in the stock yards. So, Volkswagen India 2.0 strategy brings in cars that we Indians buy in heaps! SUVs.
After the great success of the Tiguan in India, Volkswagen decided to break cover of the all-new T-ROC which is essentially based on the Golf, has more room on the inside, it is higher off the ground and it gives Indian consumers the bragging rights of owning a fully imported SUV at the price of a top of the line Hyundai Creta, or a mid-spec 2WD Jeep Compass both of which the VW T-ROC is cometing against. Volkswagen India, is taking advantage of the relaxed import norms that allow automakers to import up to 2,500 new vehicles without homologating them in India a year, so they imported 1,000 T-ROCs last year and we thought it will take the entire year for them to slide these units out of their showroom. But Voila! 3 months down and all the T-ROCs are fully sold out!!! And hence I've been left with a massive question mark in my head, 'What is with the T-ROC that Indian consumers loved it so much?'.
The T-ROC might look like a mini-Tiguan, which it is and it isn't a bad thing at all, but when you see it in flesh, the sillhouette is very coupe-like. If you look at it in the dark, it does give slight hints of a Porsche Macan which is incredible. The front of the T-ROC is muscular and aggressive, those beefy lines on the hood makes it one of the most handsome front ends under Rs. 30 lakh price tag. The fat wheel arches and a well designed blacked out plastic cladding makes the car look purposeful.
The side profile has very clean lines with subtle display of muscle, nothing that looks too ostentatious like what all we have today in the market. The window lines are sharp and the thicc rear wheel arch makes it look like a car derived from the World Rally Championship format. Come to the rear like you do, the design remains efforlessly clean, with wide tail-lamp assembly, a large VW logo in the middle and like every other car in the segment, name written with spaced out letterings. There are a couple of fake vents here, but they get discounted as they are not pretending to be exhaust pipes and also because your eyes do notice that heavily raked rear windshield with a aero spoiler on top.
Step inside and you will be greeted by a high quality cabin that shouts 'Ich Bin Aus Deutschland' (I am from Germany) on your face. The dashboard looks great with attention to detail in every shut line you see, the silver painted panels on top of the dashboard and door panels make the theme very sporty and subtle. What makes this interior stand out are its ergonomics, which are sportscar standard. The entire centre console is inclined mildly towards the driver, the steering is dead centre to the driver and the foot pedal reach for a 5 ft 8 in male like myself is very good.
The seats on the other hand are a class apart, there is a generous amount of side bolstering for both back and thighs and they have a heating function too, which was quite a boon when I was doing long distace journeys in the winter months here in the northern India. The seat adjustments however are manual, which is quite a miss at this price point btu if you look at it rationally, it actually makes a lot more sense to keep the costs of maintaining this car over a longer period considerably down as that module will be abused quite a lot.
The T-ROC comes standard with a large 8 inch touch screen infotainment system which boasts high resolution graphics, helpful for running maps and Apple CarPlay + Andoid Auto fitted as well. The system is well integrated on top of the dashboard for a greater viewing angle and the screen does not reflect under intense sunlight either. The sound quality from the speakers of the T-ROC is exceptionally good as well, giving the BOSE stereo of the Koreans and the JBL fitted on the TATA a run for its money!
The backseat however, has a different story. The rear seats are strictly for 2 adults the thrid one is a quite a squeeze and won't be very comfortable on any journey longer than an hour or so. I took my parents on a 1300 km road trip from Delhi to Lucknow and back and with their average height of 5 ft 6 inches they were pretty comfortable being cruised around sitting at the back. But, factually, any person above 6 ft would have a bit of a struggle to fit in with some my height driving the car. The seat cushioning however is very good indeed. There is quite a lot of support from the side bolsters and the adjustable rear headrests are very cushy as well.
There is a panoramic roof that is fitted as standard in the T-ROC but it doesn't extend all the way to the back of the cabin, although it does help in lightening up the visuals of space on the inside.
Drivetrain and Drive Experience.
The Volkswagen T-ROC is fitted with a 1.5 litre turbocharged stratified injection petrol engine with 4 cylinders producing 150 bhp of max power and 250 Nm of max torque which is available at a low 1500rpm. This ultra-smooth engine is mated to our long favourite 7-speed DSG gearbox which can be shifted manually through the gearstick in the manual mode or paddle shifters behind the steering.
The engine management system is also fitted with an incredibly useful cylinder deactivation system, yes! a cylinder deactivation system in a small 4 cylinder engine. We saw a great deal of use for this system everytime we were cruising on the highway, as it shuts 2 cylinders and pushes the car with the other 2 cylinders only, making this one of the most fuel efficient compact SUVs in the market right now. But what we missed thoroughly is the ommision of a cruise control system which as rumours say is going to be added in the 2021 units that are coming into the country very soon.
The visibility of the environment from the driver's seat is what makes the T-ROC one of the most driver focused car in the segment right now. Everything feels solid and grippy to hold and touch. Lane-keeping assist is also a standard fittment in the T-ROC which makes driving on the highways in thick fog conditions a breeze. The power to weight ratio of the car is amazing as well, with a kerb weight of 1300 kgs, the T-ROC feels pretty quick on its feet, which is enhanced by the 215/55 R17 continental tyres that to a brilliant job of building up the SUV's pace and poise on any road you may take.
The T-ROC indeed is a very enthusiastic car to drive considering its great built quality, excellent mechanical setup and ergonomics. There is nothing that comes close to it in terms of giving a great quality experience of a fully imported SUV at a nominal price. Add to it, the fuel economy is one of the best we've got in the segment with 15.6 kmpl in the city and 21.1 kmpl on the highway. The T-ROC then, makes itself the best car to buy in 2021 because it ticks all the boxes for a person who is looking for something enthusiastic, practical, safe, efficient and robust to run effortlessly in the Indian Road conditions. Everyone loves it at our office and it certainly is something that I am really anticipating to get relaunched with even more kit on-board.