Although the Volkswagen T-ROC’s name sounds like it means this concept car is a mix between the 2004 Volkswagen Concept T and today’s Scirocco hatchback, VW has a slightly different explanation. The first part of the name puts this concept in line with other Volkswagen crossovers (Taigun, Tiguan, Touareg), while the second part references the fact that it’s meant for traversing rocky terrain.
Naming conventions aside, the Volkswagen T-ROC concept that debuts publicly at the 2014 Geneva auto show is said to show is said to preview the direction of future Volkswagen crossovers. That includes a wide, honeycomb black grille, 19-inch wheels pushed to the far corners of the body, clever LED headlights, hood vents, and blacked-out trim around the roof. At 164.5 inches long, 72.1 inches wide, and 3131 pounds in mass, the T-ROC is nearly a foot shorter and around 300 pounds lighter than a Tiguan crossover.
Intriguingly, the roof panels can be removed to transform the Volkswagen T-ROC concept into a convertible. Out back, look for the narrow liftgate to reach wide, narrow LED taillights. Two large circular openings house cameras, below which sit the aluminum exhaust tips that are framed in a carbon-fiber surround.
At front, a pair of large round openings house cameras and a special spotlight. The lights serve as white LED running lights, but automatically switch to amber to function as turn signals. In the car’s off-road mode, these lights serve as spotlights to illuminate the car’s path, while integrated cameras turn to follow the steering direction and relay those images to a tablet computer affixed to the T-ROC’s center stack. In the rear, two more cameras also relay images to the touchscreen, giving drivers a clear view all around the vehicle.
The Inner Parts
The Volkswagen T-ROC concept is based on the MQB flexible architecture that will be used for a wide range of new Volkswagen Group products, including the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 that are already on sale. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-four engine good for 182 hp, 280 lb-ft of torque, and the equivalent of 48 mpg combined. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive send power to the wheels. The car comes with three driving modes, Street, Off-road, and Snow, that adjust the all-wheel drive, ABS, engine, and transmission to suit various types of driving.
As for the cabin, Volkswagen says the T-ROC is “designed for adventure,” pointing to its four-seat layout and the fact that an HD video camera is built into the rear-view mirror. The horizontal Blue-Splash Metallic dashboard matches trim pieces on the doors, center console, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel. A touchscreen tablet computer is removable, but when installed in the car it shows the views from the aforementioned front and rear cameras, and controls the infotainment system. The instrument cluster is a 12.3-inch color screen that dynamically adapts and shows animations as the driver changes modes. In “Snow” mode, for instance, the top speed shown on the speedometer falls from 260 km/h (about 162 mph) to a more reasonable 80 km/h (about 50 mph). Finally, the climate controls take the form of a bright AMOLED touchscreen that lets passengers choose a different temperate for each part of their body.
While it’s clear the Volkswagen T-ROC is a whimsical show car, not all of its ideas are that far-fetched. Volkswagen already widely uses a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, the dual-clutch transmission exists, and the 2016 Audi TT will employ a similar large fully-digital instrument cluster. While we don’t expect removable roof panels and scanning cameras, expect that Volkswagen will eventually launch a small crossover that closely follows the generally idea demonstrated by this T-ROC concept.