Starting from $40,490 before on-road costs, the T-Roc 140TSI 4Motion (all-wheel drive) Sport doesn’t really have a Golf specification equivalent, since it’s priced between the latter's $35,000 110TSI Highline and $47,000 GTI.
Like the Golf hot-hatch legend, the 140TSI uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine and dual-clutch transmission (dubbed DSG in VW-speak) rather than the former’s 1.4-litre turbo, but brings extra ride height, AWD and, of course, a completely different body and interior.
As a result, you can look at this T-Roc in two ways – as either a cut-price GTI-lite crossover in stilettos or – since you can’t buy a Golf with AWD unless it’s a wagon with the Alltrack badge on the back – the brand’s cheapest new SUV with AWD, for now. The Tiguan equivalent costs $3500 more. 4Motion also includes an Off-road mode in this instance, adding another feather to the VW’s capability cap.
Not that the 140TSI 4Motion Sport looks like it’s ready to go bush, not with its standard R-Line body kit, 18-inch alloys, lowered suspension and dark window tinting. Finished in a fetching Flash Red (a standard solid colour, along with Pure white; the metallics add $600), the T-Roc appears set for the urban streetscape.
Equipment levels are frankly impressive. A full suite of safety is included, along with adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam acceleration/braking assist and a gentle lane-keep nudge at higher speeds, rear-cross traffic alert, automatic parking, auto on/off wipers and LED headlights with auto high beam, digital multi-screen instrumentation, 8.0-inch touchscreen housing sat-nav, reverse camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry/start, folding door mirrors, ambient cabin lighting and leather wheel with paddle shifters.
Niceties like a panoramic sunroof, leather, heated front seats and a powered tailgate (conveniently bundled as part of a $3500 Luxury Package) weren’t fitted to our utterly standard test vehicle. Seriously, even without these though, our T-Roc looked like a $50K-plus proposition. Which brings us to value.
By their very nature of being essentially small-car based, crossovers put a bit more emphasis on style and desirability compared to big boxy SUVs, so getting your head around finding suitable rivals for the I40TSI 4Motion Sport requires some deeper thinking.
We’d include the Toyota C-HR Turbo Koba AWD (from $37,665), Mazda CX-30 G25 Touring AWD (from $38,490), Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD (from $39,490), Hyundai Kona Highlander AWD (from $40,200), Ford Escape ST-Line AWD (from $40,990) and Kia Seltos GT-Line AWD (from $41,400).
Yet the T-Roc transcends these in terms of perceived quality and presentation, to also bother far-pricier like-sized luxury-branded crossovers, such as the Lexus UX, Volvo XC40, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X2.