Volkswagen Teases Sporty T-Roc R Crossover Via Nurburgring Hot Lap Video
The performance crossover may pose a new threat to the quintessential hot-hatch.
Move over hot-hatches, here comes a new class of cars: performance crossovers. Volkswagen is taking full advantage of booming crossover sales in the United States by launching a compact SUV called the T-Roc. In a video teaser, VW announced that it will append its coveted R badging to a souped-up version of the vehicle, aptly naming it the T-Roc R.
The T-Roc will seemingly fill the market space between the Tiguan and the Golf; enabling a little more room for those who need it. In 2017, Volkswagen officially axed the Touareg in the United States and introduced the American people to the mid-size Atlas SUV instead. But because the Germans brand the Tiguan as a SUV (not crossover), the void that the Tiguan once filled is empty yet again. This is where the upcoming T-Roc will shine.
No details on the engine or drivetrain have been released, but based on Volkswagen's history of making modularity a staple of its brand, we would expect to find the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Golf R. Being that Volkswagen has recently been keen to dropping the third pedal, it's very likely that the automaker may make an executive decision to ship the T-Roc R with its dual-clutch DSG gearbox, a move seen before with the R32 performance trim. As per usual, the R package will likely include a set of larger brakes, more competent suspension, and a subtle facelift to distinguish it from base models.
Needless to say, VW has the ability to target many segments with the T-Roc. Noteworthy competitors include everyday players like the Mazda CX-3 and Kia Soul, but also niche vehicles such as the Mini Countryman and Volvo XC40. Volkswagen is also giving it a cabriolet option, so lovers of the long-defunct Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and Range Rover Evoque will now have something to lust over once again.
Volkswagen may be on to something with the T-Roc R, exposing a new market segment that would otherwise leave enthusiasts stuck with something drab and boring. Ford recently took a similar approach with the Edge ST, albeit a larger SUV, in order to show that big vehicles can be fun too. But if the performance subset of crossovers and SUVs become prevalent, it may coup the station wagon revolution.