VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC R
MOTOR Magazine Australia|December 2021
Wolfsburg’s ready to rock with sporty SUV
DAN GARDNER

APPLES, THE EXPRESSION says, should only be compared with apples, but how much scope for variation is permitted within a genotype while still allowing an accurate and credible account?

Can the tart and verdant Granny Smith really go head-to-head with a succulent and sherbet-like Cox’s Orange Pippin and expect a fair fight? And if cider is your game I challenge anyone to find a finer specimen than the Kingston Black with its complex tannins, high sugar levels and puckering astringency decidedly wiping the floor with any dessert apple under the sun.

Speaking of tempting treats, here is the Volkswagen T-Roc R presented in Lapiz Blue, ripe for the tasting. Think of it as the same attractive small-to-mid-sized SUV package you get from the existing T-Roc range but with a serpent’s sales pitch and something a little more sinful for good measure.

Instead of the milder 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines common to the rest of the family, the R denotes something more exciting under the bonnet and the same 2.0-litre turbocharged powertrain you’ll find powering the potent Golf R along with a host of accompanying refinements and additions to warrant the Volkswagen performance halo branding.

It won’t arrive on Australian shores until about July 2022 but when it does, it’ll go up against other classy high-performance go-anywhere models including the closely related Audi SQ2 as well as the Mini Countryman JCW, BMW X2 M235i, Jaguar E-Pace P300, Mercedes-AMG GLA35 and Volvo XC40 T5. Or will it?

My first drive of the T-Roc R’s twin-under-the-skin SQ2 was in the vaulting mountains of the Austrian Alps and in the name of context and consistency I’ve returned to the stunning scenery for a first blast in the Dub, because it’s okay to compare a Pink Lady with a Sundowner as long as they were picked in the same orchard.

Volkswagen is yet to confirm pricing for Australia but it will almost certainly be a giant-killing bargain by comparison. The current T-Roc flagship – the 140TSI Sport – costs $41,000 before on-roads and it too gets a 2.0-litre bolted to AWD. If the R comes in at even $15,000 more it’ll still be cheaper than anything remotely similar and substantially less expensive than every rival with comparable power – but let’s wait and see.

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