Performance – Volkswagen has dropped diesels and I was sceptical about the 1.5 TSI Evo motor filling in the shoes of the torquey and efficient oil burner. However, this engine has surprised and how! Using turbocharging and direct injection, the 1.5 TSI gasoline mill comes from the same family as the 1.0 TSI, 1.2 TSI and 1.4 TSI but is the latest, offering the best of both worlds – performance when you need it and economy when you go easy on the gas. Producing 150 PS of power and 250 Nm of torque, the engine is supremely refined with lag well contained and a strong mid-range, it does get vocal when you push it past the mid-range but in a good way as it has a sporty note.
The turbocharged petrol motor offers punchy performance, has great pulling power and a strong mid-range
Redline comes up at around 6500 RPM but the motor doesn’t feel stressed at any given moment. 0-100 km/hr takes just 8.4 seconds while the top speed is rated at 210 km/hr although we did manage to touch 216 km/hr with ease on the derestricted German Autobahn, so the engine does punch much more than the displacement would suggest, that’s how impressive the TSI powertrain is! But it’s not just performance where it shines, our high-speed driving resulted in the car returning 12.5 km/l (with no AC) but in India, it should give anywhere between 12 (city) – 18 (highway) km/l. Part of this stunning mileage can also be attributed to Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) which shuts two cylinders when you are driving sedately, thereby activating Eco mode. Our test car was paired to a 6-speed manual box with a light clutch and slightly notchy shifts but the T-Roc in India gets a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox only.
Driving Dynamics – The Volkswagen T-Roc is underpinned by the MQB platform and feels quite light and agile. The steering is direct and responsive but not the most feel-some at higher speeds although it does inspire confidence to drive at high speeds where the car remains glued to the road, even though our test car was running on winter tyres. However, wind noise is a lot and so is tyre noise past 150 km/hr. The car gets active lane keep assist which makes steering movement to keep the car in lane, it also gets automatic emergency braking. The suspension is on the stiffer side which was good for high-speed highway driving but the stiffness could be felt on bad roads. Volkswagen has tweaked the suspension for the Indian model to comply with our bad roads. Braking performance is excellent with a sure-footed bite on the pedal.