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Volkswagen T-Roc review: The popular SUV gets a sporty facelift

By Kathryn Chung

Volkswagen T-Roc review: The popular SUV gets a sporty facelift
Pack your picnic bags and laid-back beach weekend essentials in the updated Volkswagen T-Roc.

These days, our vehicles serve more purpose than simply getting from A to B; they are an extension of our lifestyle. For many Kiwis, that means having a mode of transport that can easily transition between our weekday and weekend lives, as both an easy get-around vehicle and a powerful, comfortable ride for longer journeys.

With its newly improved T-Roc range, Volkswagen aims to broaden the SUV’s appeal, delivering a car that moves with the modern New Zealand lifestyle. In its three new models – the T-Roc R-Line 2WD, T-Roc Life 2WD and T-Roc R AWD – the German car maker has given its popular SUV a sporty facelift, along with enhanced performance and nifty tech features.

“We know it’s going to be a hit,” says Greg Leet, General Manager of Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles, “attracting a new audience with its balanced sport and style credentials paired with perfect performance.” What better way to test out the T-Roc’s performance cred than on a weekend road trip to the beach…

The drive

For the weekend test drive, I was handed the keys to a T-Roc R-Line 2WD. Between the 110km/h Waikato Expressway and the winding country roads that lead to the west coast, the two-hour journey to Raglan from Auckland was the perfect opportunity to put the T-Roc to the test.

Overall, the driving experience felt smooth, the vehicle hugging the tarmac while delivering enough torque to power through on the open roads.

While it’s fun and sporty to drive, the T-Roc’s enhanced safety features also make you feel confident behind the wheel. Across all three models you’ll find the latest safety features, including Travel Assist with lane keeping and adaptive cruise control, and an Autonomous Emergency Braking System which can recognise hazards such as pedestrians and vehicles and automatically brake in emergencies to avoid an accident.

The look

Volkswagen has given the new T-Roc line a stylish facelift, with sharpened exteriors and refined finishes inside. Size wise, it’s a small SUV that is a nice balance between spacious and sporty, with the massive sun roof making it feel extra roomy.

Design elements such as LED headlights, light bar and 19-inch alloy wheels add to its sporty appeal. There’s even an option for a titanium sports exhaust to add a more powerful, ‘throatier’ sound to the driving experience.

The interior finishes feel premium with soft ‘Nappa’ leather and stitching detailing while extra touches don’t go unnoticed. I love the idea of the heated steering wheel and seats for those chillier days.

The features

A good sound system is essential for any roadie and the new entertainment features in the T-Roc make for a fantastic listening experience. Available in the optional Tech Package for the R-Line and R is a Beats premium sound system, delivering extra bass and surround sound through the six high-end loudspeakers.

A nifty feature is the ability to isolate the sounds to different areas of the vehicle. The 10.25-inch display is easy to use and features all modern functions you need, and wireless connection is easy with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built in, along with bluetooth, and voice control.

I often find the small, thoughtful features the most memorable when test driving new cars. Vehicle makers are becoming more and more intuitive, and Volkswagen is no exception. I particularly loved the boot that opens with a simple wave of your foot (useful when carrying surfboards, picnic bags and other summer essentials), while the wireless phone charging feature took away the worry of my device running out of juice.

A high beam that automatically dips for approaching cars worked seamlessly and made the night-time driving experience on the country roads much more enjoyable.



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