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Geneva show: VW T-Roc makes new ‘Trax’

Targa-top T-Roc: Volkswagen's light SUV concept adds a little more fun to the norm, with three-door styling and a lift-out roof panel.

Volkswagen previews compact crossover for the city SUV class, but not before 2017

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Volkswagen logo4 Mar 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in GENEVA

VOLKSWAGEN has unveiled a light-sized SUV concept at the Geneva motor show which paves the way for a production model that will reach the market within the next three years.

To slot beneath the next-generation Tiguan due for a global premiere later in 2014, the T-Roc previews the European auto giant’s alternative to the likes of the Holden Trax, Nissan Juke and Ford EcoSport in terms of size, proportion and even silhouette – but not configuration.

This means that the flight-of-fancy two-door removable Targa-style convertible body will make way for a more prosaic five-door wagon shape come production time.

Described as “a Golf-format concept car positioned a step down from the Tiguan”, the T-Roc is likely to be built on the next-generation Polo light car’s MQB-0 platform – a smaller and lighter variation of the scalable MQB-A underpinnings of the latest Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia 5E.

Whether more sophisticated elements of MQB-A – such as a multi-link independent rear suspension system – make it to the crossover is not yet known, although cost-down pressures might result in a cheaper and more space-efficient rear torsion beam configuration.

Along with the next Skoda Yeti, the MQB-0 is almost certain to be twinned with Audi’s long-awaited Q1 crossover.

Measuring in at 4179mm long, 1831mm wide and 1501mm high, the T-Roc is smaller and, at 1420kg, about 80kg lighter than the eight-year-old current-generation Tiguan, making it right-sized for the city SUV set.

It will be one of five crossovers Volkswagen will offer worldwide, sitting above the forthcoming Up-based Taigun that for now is only earmarked for emerging markets, but beneath the larger Tiguan II, Touareg and approaching CrossBlue-based seven-seater wagon.

From a design point of view, the Geneva concept is significant in that it ushers in a fresh face for Volkswagen’s future SUV line-up, with a rugged T-shaped grille and oversized circular driving lights incorporated into the outer edges of the bumper, Nissan Juke-style.

Behind that is a 135kW/380Nm version of the German brand’s ubiquitous 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbo-diesel engine, driving all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a Haldex part-time all-wheel-drive system dubbed 4Motion.

The latter includes three self-explanatory driving modes – Street, Off-road and Snow, all using an array of driver-assist technologies such as the anti-lock braking system, hill-start assist and hill-descent control to keep the T-Roc from coming a cropper.

Low fuel consumption is a priority, with the new lightweight architecture helping the T-Roc achieve an impressive 4.9 litres per 100km on the European combined cycle.

Other show-car features include the Datsun 280ZX-like removable Targa panels that can be stored into the boot area, a pair of integrated front and rear cameras, dark LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 245/45 tyres.

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