This is the VW T-Roc, and you only need to take one look at the design sketches to see where that streetwise name has sprung up from. This chopped-roof, three-door crossover is part mini-Tiguan, part high-riding Scirocco coupe.
So VW is planning a trendy new crossover?
Not so fast. VW claims that the T-Roc isn’t set for production itself. Rather, it’s a collection of design cues and detail trinkets that will influence all future VW SUVs, right up to the Porsche Cayenne-based Touareg.
Tell me more about the VW T-Roc concept
Convertible SUVs never tend to be a good idea, as the Suzuki X90 and Nissan Murano convertible prove. Still, that’s not put VW off: the centre section of the T-Roc’s roof lifts out in two pieces and can be stored in the boot. The roof is made from lightweight carbonfibre, making it easier to manhandle, and slightly lowering the tall-toes coupe’s centre of gravity.
The T-Roc is a handspan longer than a Nissan Juke, but much wider and lower, at only 1501mm tall. The chopped boxy profile and 19in wheels mean this is very much an about-town SUV, not a splash-happy mud-plugger.
No taking this VW off-road, then?
VW has made a play of giving the T-Roc so utilitarian joie de vivre. It uses exterior-mounted camera to beam images of the road (or track) ahead into the cabin’s 12.3in main screen, helping the driver look out for nasty potholes or cavernous crevices.
Three driving modes (Street, Offroad and Snow) tune the engine response, traction assists systems and ‘running gear parameters’, according to VW.
Pulling the 1420kg T-Roc concept along is a 182bhp, 280lb ft 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. Sound familiar? It’s the same oiler used in the Golf GTD hot hatch, allied here to VW’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
VW claims the concept car could hit 62mph in just 6.9sec, and top out at 130mph, though we’d rather not figure this hand-built, multi-million-quid one-off ourselves. VW estimates the 57.6mpg and 129g/km of CO2 for the T-Roc.
Under the skin
No surprises here: the T-Roc is (yet) another showcase for the modular MQB platform that underpins the VW Golf, Audi A3, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia.
The 2014 Geneva show is where it really starts to flex its muscles, however: MQB not only supports this bluff SUV, but also the far sleeker new Audi TT. Talk about one-size-fits-all...