Could this new Volkswagen outsell the Golf?

New small SUV coming to Ireland in November as diesel scandal continues to swirl

Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess was left in the unusual position of having to play down the potential success of his newest car, at the launch of the VW T-Roc. The small crossover, set to get its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, will become a cornerstone VW's plans to dramatically expand its SUV lineup. That lineup will include a new Touareg, set to go on sale later this year, and the seven-seat version of the Tiguan, amongst others.

Many commentators were suggesting that the T-Roc, a competitor to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, could become VW’s best-selling model, given the current clamour for all things SUV. Diess dampened that speculation, though, saying that “the Golf will remain the heart of VW brand.”

The T-Roc (an unusual name, where the T is derived from the larger Tiguan and Touareg, and the Roc from, well, rocks) could well give the Golf a bit of a hard time in the sales charts not least because it’s more practical. Unlike some rival small crossovers, space in the back is impressive, and the boot can swallow around a quarter again as much as that of the Golf hatchback (albeit it’s much smaller than the cavernous Golf estate).

Volkswagen is heavily touting the T-Roc’s appeal to younger buyers, with the option of two-tone paintwork, and a 400-watt Beats stereo system. It will also be very safe, with even the base model coming with Front Assist area monitoring with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and the lane keeping system Lane Assist.


Also part of the base specification are details such as air-conditioning, the Composition Colour infotainment touchscreen, LED rear lights, underbody sump guard, and LED daytime running lights in the bumper. More ‘youth’ appeal (if that’s really a thing) comes from the ability to connect the car to your phone and the wider wired world through Volkswagen Car Net and VW’s ‘Security & Service’ package.

Here in Ireland, while prices will not be announced until later in the year, we know that the T-Roc will come in the familiar Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline specs with a choice of six engines. Three of those are diesels, which is in some ways a surprise - some commentators had been thinking that, given the T-Roc's urban runabout nature, and the continuing and deepening diesel scandal, VW might take the step of offering it as petrol-only.

Continuing strong diesel sales in rural Ireland, though, have nixed that idea so the T-Roc will come with both DERV and petrol derivatives, with a plugin-hybrid GTE model due soon too.

"The T-Roc sets a new benchmark in the booming SUV segment. With its functionality, dynamic handling and technology, the T-Roc embodies all good Volkswagen qualities. It marks a milestone in our SUV offensive" said Diess at the launch in Italy.

We’ll see just how much of a milestone when the T-Roc arrives on these shores in November.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring