What is it?
If we’re chatting casually as friends, the Volkswagen T-Roc is Volkswagen's Golf SUV, or perhaps its Qashqai - but the brand won’t thank you for either description, because it wants this new model to have its own, more playful identity.
The T-Roc is late to the family SUV party, of course, and that only makes VW's desire to seek a point of difference greater. Just how late it lands is emphasised by the fact it is based on the T-Roc concept car that was revealed as long ago as 2014, albeit presented in the lesser-seen (Range Rover Evoque Convertible aside) format of a convertible SUV.
Crucially, however, many of the more detailed designs of that concept can be seen even on this prototype, and so too can some of its slightly zany spirit: the T-Roc is here to usher in a new era of more 'emotional' Volkswagens that tug at the heart strings slightly harder than today’s defiantly rational line-up. There’s even talk of two-tone paint schemes.
Zany is also one word to explain how the car found its name: T is to link it to its bigger brothers, the Tiguan and Touareg, and Roc is a modification of the word rock, which, and I quote VW: “on the one hand refers to the off-road character of the vehicle and on the other reflects the powerful and avant-garde image of a crossover design”. Before we all wrinkle our faces in consternation, though, it’s worth a moment pondering the origins of Qashqai, Seat Ateca, Vauxhall Mokka X et al.