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Geneva show: VW teases forthcoming Juke rival

T-Rock on: This funky number gives a guide to what we can expect from Volkswagen's future rival for the Nissan Juke.

Volkswagen will soon offer a city-sized crossover SUV inspired by new T-ROC concept


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28 Feb 2014

VOLKSWAGEN will use next week’s Geneva motor show to premiere a concept vehicle that outlines the next step in its plan to boost the number of SUVs in its range from two to at least six.

The concept car in question will be a city-sized two-door crossover called the T-ROC, and these computer-generated images supplied by Volkswagen give a guide to how the car will look.

Volkswagen calls the T-ROC an “SUV concept vehicle one down from the Tiguan in the Golf format, for more than just urban driving,” seemingly confirming plans to produce a jacked-up rival for the Nissan Juke – a booming segment in which the VW Group has little presence.

It is the latest in a line of concept cars including the Taigun micro-crossover (targetted at developing markets), CrossBlue seven-seater and the sleeker, Range Rover Evoque-evoking Cross Coupe, each of which previews a different Volkswagen-badged road-going SUV of the future.

The German company has also slipped an interesting tid-bit about this planned roll-out into its release for the T-Roc, stating that the ‘T’ is “a reference to the nomenclature of current and future Volkswagen SUVs such as the Taigun, Tiguan and Touareg”.

Safe to say, then, that the production T-Roc, CrossBlue and Cross Coupe will all have names beginning with the letter ‘T’ when we see them in showrooms.

For such a global behemoth, Volkswagen actually offers relatively few SUVs compared to its main rivals, although its Audi luxury sub-brand is a market-leader at the premium end.

From an Australian perspective, the company is on the record as saying the seven-seat CrossBlue would be a desirable addition if it could get the US- and Chinese-oriented car in right-hand drive. But is has ruled out the Taigun. Any road-going T-Roc would certainly be under local consideration.

The T-ROC sits on the Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform – the same as the Golf, Audi A3, Skoda Octavia and the next-generation VW Tiguan. The car measures 4179mm long, 1831mm wide and 1501mm high – a smidgen longer than a Nissan Juke but smaller than a Holden Trax.

The most obvious differentiator on the T-ROC is, of course, the fact that the sketch shows a car with only three doors and removable roof panels. Expect the production car to offer five doors, though similar outrageous styling is not out of the question considering the wacky Juke’s considerable sales success.

Under the snub nose sits the Golf GTD’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel producing 135kW/380Nm matched to a seven-speed DSG – no wacky futuristic drivetrains here – that consumes only 4.9L/100km yet send the 1420kg crossover from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds.

In fact, the underpinning across the board seem production-ready, with the diesel engine sending power through the DSG to all four (19-inch) wheels via Volkswagen’s familiar front-axle-biased 4MOTION system with Haldex coupling that allocates torque depending on slip.

There are three driver-selected modes that adjust engine, transmission, hill-start and hill-descent parameters. Street mode directs power to the rear axle only if necessary, Off-Road mode presets power balance at 50:50 front:rear and activates off-road assistance systems, and Snow re-maps the engine and transmission for slipperier surfaces.

The design, led by Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff, adds a honeycomb design to the VW ‘letterbox’ grille, which incorporates active-turning LED headlights and sits above prominent round fog-lights, the housing for which also features a forward-mounted camera for off-roading.

There are aggressive diffusers front and rear, a high waist-line and prominent flares above each wheel-arch to lend a low, aggressive and distinctly sporty appearance – a design given credence by the relatively wide 1578mm front and 1564mm rear track widths.

The cabin includes a 12.3-inch colour screen, blue highlights and a digital instrument panel with integrated sat-nav relay. Volkswagen has cheekily called the Anthracite seats ‘Adamantium Dark’, inspired no doubt by X-Men comics.

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