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How 300bhp T-Roc 'R' crossover delivers on punch and poise

First Drive: Volkswagen T-ROC R

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It's a cracker: Volkswagen's T-Roc R is a hot crossover

It's a cracker: Volkswagen's T-Roc R is a hot crossover

Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc

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It's a cracker: Volkswagen's T-Roc R is a hot crossover

The T-Roc R is Volkswagen's take on what a hot compact crossover should look like, feel like and, most importantly, do.

In the main, it does what it promises.

It would be strange if it didn't, considering it's got 300bhp on tap. Yes, 300bhp in a relatively small crossover.

But lots of cars that have loads of power can lack the balance and blend of punch and poise. This doesn't; not by a long shot.

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Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc

The only thing is I wonder if a suburban crossover is such a come-on for someone who would rather the dynamic conventional hatchback Golf R or the more iconic GTi with performance sewn in. That is a key question I asked myself on a few fruitful drives.

This 'R' had wonderful pace, near-immaculate road-holding and conjured an exhaust sound I instantly loved.

However, touches and insignias slotted here and there, inside and out, didn't herald or roar 'performance' at me.

I wondered if I'd be entitled to expect more in the cabin where quality materials are on display - but do they create enough distinction from your more humble everyday crossover considering the price of this R version? My instinct says no.

Yet it is a car that performed; it was swift, solid and secure on twists and turns.

I loved the balance of the chassis - a real sign of the serious engineering underpinning it all.

So maybe we should, at least momentarily, cast aside our preconceptions about what this small-family crossover should be like.

As already alluded to, the 300bhp 2-litre TSi engine we know from the Golf R.

As well as that 300bhp punch, there is a huge torque (pulling power) figure of 400Nm.

It has a madly illegal top speed of 250kmh but you should be able to sprint (where legal) to 100kmh from a standing start in 4.8 seconds. It felt a tad faster even though its Launch Control ensured quick, but smooth, acceleration.

I was thankful for having the Volkswagen group's all-wheel-drive 4MOTION system as standard too on a couple of tricky patches.

There is no manual transmission; the excellent 7spd DSG transmission is standard. I used the steering-wheel panels to get up and down the rev range to great effect.

Safety equipment includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist, AEB etc.

It's a car that definitely grew on me. Obviously there is a major price tag which is where the discussion about a more traditional Golf R arises.

But if practicality in a performance T-Roc is a consideration then this beats the hatchback for space front, aft and in the boot. Considering the level of expenditure involved overall, that may be a relatively minor plus.

Ultimately, I have to say I enjoyed this car a lot. I liked its ability to excite and to execute that excitement.

 

Factfile

* Volkswagen T Roc R, 2-litre petrol 300bhp, 4M, 192 g/km, €750 road tax.

* From €53,895; delivery/related charges €800. Standard spec includes 18ins alloys, 'R' design rear bumper, R-specific info display - speedo up to 320kmh, black brake callipers, dark red LED rear taillights, aluminium gearshift knob lever handle, air curtains surrounded by glossy black blades,

* 'R' styled four-pipe exhaust.

* Optional extras: technology upgrade ('discover media' nav), rear view camera, panoramic sunroof, we-connect, 19ins alloys. Total price €57,916.

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