VW’s T-ROC concept has T-tops and crawls over rocks, get it? You’ll still want one

Volkswagen’s SUVs all start with T. There’s the big Touareg and the smaller Tiguan. Now, there’s the T-ROC compact SUV concept.

While the Touareg is named for a nomadic peoples and the Tiguan is an amalgam of Tiger and Iguana (I wish I were making that up), the T-ROC moniker is a bit different. The “T” in T-ROC comes from the CUV’s T-top roof. And the “ROC” reflects the car’s off-road aspirations.

The three-door T-ROC is powered by a 2.0-liter TDI engine ripped from the frame rails of the Golf GTD, the diesel-powered version of the GTI. The torque-y little diesel four-banger rumbles out 181 horsepower. A bit light on power, the engine will still glide the T-ROC up to 62 mph from a dead standstill in 6.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 130 mph.

You might never know how fast you’re actually going, though. The all-digital instrument cluster speedometer tops out at 50 mph when in “offroad” mode. I guess VW doesn’t want you taking the T-ROC off any sweet, high-speed back-road jumps.

Volkswagen T ROC concept interior front

Although the T-ROC is rather small, and shares its platform with the mk7 Golf GTI, it’s hailed as an off-road dynamo. Accordingly, it sends its power to all four wheels through VW’s 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive system with a Haldex-5 coupling. Don’t worry yourself if you don’t know what a Haldex-5 coupling is; you don’t need to. You’ll just be glad you have one when you’re fording African rivers in T-top style.

The T-ROC isn’t just for German hillbillies looking for a T-top off-roader, though; it’s also a high-tech four-seater coupe. The cabin features the aforementioned all-digital instrument cluster, as well as an all-digital climate control system. And in the center of the dash is an infotainment unit that doubles as a removable smart tablet.

When clicked into place, the upper two-thirds of the tablet jut out of the dash. Flip the T-ROC into “offroad” mode and the tablet screen lights up with the images of the forward-facing digital cameras, which are surrounded by LED spotlights.

Those cameras and spotlights are cleverly concealed behind a headlight setup that conjures recollections of the classic Karman Ghia, proving the T-ROC will delight vintage vee-dub fans, as well as modern tech-savvy ones.

I am really on the fence when it comes to the T-ROC. I love many of its features and it’s a sight better than the Dune Beetle concept from the Detroit Auto Show. Being better than the Beetle isn’t enough, though. I fear – if put into production – most of the best of the T-ROC’s features will be left on the design floor.

The full-tilt all-wheel drive system, for instance, I am sure will be scrapped by the VW moneymen. The coupe shape, too, will likely be extended and neutralized to appeal to a wider audience. Also, I am wholly confident the tablet infotainment unit would be replaced with a standard in-dash touch screen. The first time you leave your infotainment tablet at home on a long road trip, you’ll be cursing VW’s name.

And lastly – and perhaps most importantly – I am convinced the T-tops would be immediately sealed for good, ensuring safety regulation compliance.

Forgoing those unknowns, though, the T-ROC is the kind of car I really want. It’s got style, tech, off-road prowess, and turbocharged diesel efficiency. Maybe VW is crazy enough to make a car that I – and I alone – would buy. I can only hope.

(Images © Volkswagen)


The OnePlus 6T could launch on T-Mobile in October, report says

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. The report notes that the phone could launch on T-Mobile.
Home Theater

Let your vinyl sound even better with one of the best phono preamps

Whether you're looking for a quick fix to set up your first turntable or a long-term audio upgrade for higher-quality sound, here are the best phono preamps you can buy that won't empty out your wallet.

T-Mobile partners with Live Nation, Pandora to offer customers more perks

T-Mobile made a few other announcements today: Not only has the carrier partnered up with Live Nation to provide offers, but customers will also be getting a free year of Pandora Plus.

T-Mobile wants to reinvent customer service with a ‘Team of Experts’

To reinvent how it approaches customer care, T-Mobile announced its Team of Experts. Whenever a customer contacts T-Mobile, they're given direct access to the same team members each time without being put on hold or transferred.

Live out your Steve McQueen fantasies with this souped-up Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford tuner Steeda teamed up with Chad McQueen, son of Steve McQueen to create the ultimate 'Bullitt' tribute car. It's an upgraded version of the recently launched 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.

Volvo leverages the power of software to build more dynamic cars

Volvo has asked sister company Polestar to make its cars more dynamic to drive through a software update. Offered at an extra cost, the AWD optimization upgrade sends more power to the rear wheels when the driver turns on dynamic mode.
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

Can BMW’s rebooted 3 Series regain gold standard for sport sedans?

The BMW 3 Series lost its way in 2012; once the gold standard in the sport sedan segment, it disappointed by not living up to BMW's promise of delivering the ultimate driving machine. Can the new model right those wrongs?

Learn how Ford trains the test drivers who develop its hottest performance cars

Out of 11,000 Ford test drivers, only about 20 have achieved the elite "tier-four" status that qualifies them to work on performance cars. Here's how those drivers earn their stripes.

Sporty electrified Infiniti Prototype 10 concept headed to Pebble Beach

Infiniti will unveil a new concept car at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Nissan luxury brand won't say much, but promises an electrified powertrain and an emphasis on performance.

Ford’s Mustang Cobra Jet strikes as quickly as its venomous namesake

The 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is a purpose-built drag racer that will run the quarter mile in around eight seconds, according to Ford. It will be as rare as it is quick, with just 68 cars planned.
Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.