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Future models - Volkswagen - T-Roc

Volkswagen poised to sign-off on budget Evoque rival

Sneak peek: The T-Roc concept may not be some flight of fancy, but the precursor to a genuine three-door VW convertible crossover, according to one global board member.

A road-going, open-topped Volkswagen three-door SUV could arrive as soon as 2016

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Volkswagen logo6 Mar 2014

By MIKE COSTELLO

VOLKSWAGEN said this week its forthcoming 2016 sports SUV, previewed this week in Geneva by the T-Roc concept, will likely come in both three- and five-door configurations and could maintain the show car’s novel detachable roof.

Badged as a ‘lifestyle’ crossover, the T-Roc looks poised to slot into the VW range inside three years between the miniature (and soon-to-be-released) Taigun and familiar Tiguan, as the German giant seeks to grow its comparatively small SUV stocks.

In turn, the more conventional Tiguan will also grow over the current model to make room for T-Roc in the range, and to address the current model’s below-par cargo capacity.

The T-Roc, or whatever ‘T’ badge the eventual production car wears, will be based on the Golf’s ‘MQB’ platform and pitched at the youth market with atypically aggressive and funky styling.

The three- or five-door configurations theoretically make it a cut-price Range Rover Evoque. It will also almost certainly come to Australia once production is confirmed, as it is expected it will be.

Volkswagen Australia general manager of public relations Karl Gehling told GoAuto last week that the company’s local arm would be interested in bringing the T-Roc here -- unlike the developing market Taigun -- “if” it made production.

Volkswagen Group board member of head of powertrain development Heinz-Jakob Neusser told GoAuto this week that the company wanted to build the car on the proviso that public reaction in Geneva was positive, and once it “pushed the button” would release the road version “in something between 2.5 and 3 years”.

“We would like to build it and we are just here to get the response from press and potential customers if they are interested in this,” he said.

“It fits very well below the Tiguan, which is larger, and between the Taigun - which we fit at the lower end,” he said. “From size-wise it’s somewhere around the Golf, and since it’s on that car’s MQB platform, we can use the same powertrains so we are very efficient.”

When asked if the concept T-Roc’s unusual three-door layout would make way for a more conventional and practical five-door configuration -- concept cars are sometimes just generalised styling exercises, after all -- Dr Neusser surprisingly said VW may well offer both.

“We haven't decided it up to now but it perhaps makes sense to have both, due to the fact that we have a very sporty design feature with the roof which can be opened, and all these things are just more emotional on the two-door than a four-door,” he said.

Asked if Volkswagen has taken inspiration from potential rivals such as the Nissan Juke, Dr Neusser insisted the T-Roc was “absolutely different”. But it is similar in one regard to the Nissan - both models are aimed at luring young buyers to their respective brands.

“These sharp lines and steep angles, aggressive style, is in our VW DNA, but we’ve made it more progressive and this should appeal to the lifestyle-oriented clientele who should be interested in these sort of cars,” said Dr Neusser.

“It could be a worldwide model, because the segment is very steep growing in Europe, China, the US and South America. (Also) when we do it we do it s both LHD and RHD.”

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