Monday August 28, 2017
By Richard Bosselman
HIGH interest from more inportant international markets means it is unlikely Volkswagen’s long-awaited baby crossover will get here before 2019.
This today from Volkswagen New Zealand is respect to the T-Roc, revealed in Germany last week as a prelude to its full public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.
A spokesperson for the Auckland-headquartered brand says the sub-Tiguan model has every chance of being to be a huge sales star here, given the big lift in compact crossover sales in the past year.
She agrees the car, which is set to front internationally in three specification levels and equip with six powertrain choices – including a techy new 1.5-litre petrol turbo four-cylinder cited for future integration into the Golf and Tiguan – has potential to outsell the mainstay Golf and Polo hatches combined in this country.
However, there's a challenge: That emergent interest in chic small crossovers isn't just restricted to NZ. It's a worldwide trend. Accordingly, VW here has already been advised that, due to commitment to serving bigger volume markets first, we are going to wait a while for this car – in all likelihood until 2019.
That’s in marked contrast with VW Australia, which has apparently told media across the ditch to expect to see T-Roc there in the first half of 2018.
The VW NZ spokesperson admitted surprise when told of this.
“Oh, really? That’s definitely unlikely for our market … at the moment it is highly unlikely we will be getting it next year.
“Obviously we are pushing for consistency with the release (timing) … we are working with the factory, but at this stage they are indicating a later date.
“There is high demand in other places, in the left-hand-drive markets, so we just have to wait and see. That’s what we are working on at the moment.”
The timing does have a silver lining, in that it gives the brand opportunity to give careful consideration to how best to tailor T-Roc for local interest.
One subject of particular scrutiny is whether a diesel is even a good fit any longer, given that new petrols are virtually as efficient. Also, does VW NZ need delve fully into the drivetrain options, which span a combination of manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions and front- and all-wheel drive.
One thing T-Roc won’t be short of is competition: The Toyota CH-R, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Holden Trax, Mitsubishi ASX, Peugeot 2008 and impending Hyundai Kona are all considered rivals.
The car is set to stand out from the crowd, of course, having maintained almost all the design cues that were first seen on a same-name concept unveiled at the 2014 Geneva motor show.
The sweeping A- and C-pillars lend a coupe-like appearance, which the maker has enhanced by providing a two-tone paint combination with contrasting roof, said to be a first for Volkswagen.
The interior has all the usual Volkswagen design cues including the steering wheel and air-conditioning switchgear, while also featuring a digital instrument cluster to go with the infotainment system.
VW has used a two-tone colour scheme for the cabin, specifically on the doors, dashboard and centre console and as well as contrast stitching.
The T-Roc can accommodate 445 litres of cargo space with the 60/40 split fold rear seats upright, increasing to 1290 litres when folded.
The base version is called T-Roc and there are also higher-end Sport and Style configurations.
Standard driver assistance systems include automatic post-collision braking, lane keep assist and front assist with pedestrian monitoring and city emergency braking.
Optional systems include adaptive cruise control, reversing camera, rear traffic alert, blind spot monitor, lane keeping system, park assist, traffic jam assist and emergency assist.