As is the case with other less powerful Volkswagen T-Roc models, the T-Roc R does not receive a power boost during this mid-life facelift. Still, it does receive several outward aesthetic tweaks and interior enhancements that combine to give it a more current appearance and feel than before.

It retains a delicious sense of urgency, with a raspy exhaust sound that bursts and crackles on the overrun in Race driving mode, providing the complete auditory experience of a performance vehicle when desired.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine exhibits some lag as induction builds at the bottom of the rev range. Nonetheless, it is pretty determined and relatively smooth in the mid-range, which is sensitive and eager.

Volkswagen's seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG) transmission is faster and more refined than before. It makes quick upshifts in automated mode and is just as eager when operated manually through the R-specific paddles placed on the steering wheel.

All four wheels receive power from a fifth-generation version of Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive technology. Although it is not as complex as the current Volkswagen Golf R technology, the Volkswagen T-Roc R's ability to alter the amount of power given to the front and rear wheels gives excellent traction.

You can confidently deploy the 221kW and 400Nm in wet and dry conditions. Predictably, considering the absence of any mechanical modifications, the 0-100km/h time remains unchanged at 4.9 seconds, as does the limited speed of 250km/h. However, do not be put off by this. The overall season performance has been powerful.

When the throttle is lowered, the engine exhibits a range of characteristics depending on whether it is in Eco, Comfort, or Normal mode. This results in relatively comfortable and polished driving characteristics, both in town and at highway cruising speeds in higher ratios.

The 1560kg Volkswagen T-Roc R is confident on more challenging routes. Progressive steering, which adjusts the degree of assistance based on speed, is characterized by its lightness and lack of communication. It does, however, get a high-geared ratio, which imparts the car with a quick turn-in and nice all-around agility, if not much real feel.

The front MacPherson strut and rear four-link suspensions have been lowered by 20mm and tightened significantly compared to previous T-Roc models to improve body control, erring toward hard in Race mode. It is OK on flat ground but contributes considerably to vertical movement and bump thud on rougher roads.

The facelifted Volkswagen T-Roc R retains its distinct aesthetic cues from the less powerful T-Roc models. A more strongly structured front bumper with high-gloss black accents, vertically stacked daytime running lights (similar to those found on the newest Golf R), and a more comprehensive central air duct than on ordinary T-Rocs.

Other R styling cues include standard 18-inch Jerez alloy wheels; aluminum-look door mirror housings; a larger spoiler integrated into the top of the tailgate; darkened tail-light lenses with new-look LED graphics; and a new rear bumper with high-gloss black detailing an integrated diffuser, and quad tailpipes.

Inside, the dashboard's top is now covered in a soft-touch material rather than the previously employed hard plastic. Additionally, a new standard 8.0-inch Digital Cockpit instrument display and a 9.2-inch) infotainment touchscreen is available, the latter of which has a new tiled interface and revised aesthetics as part of a third-generation MIB overhaul.

Traffic sign recognition, conversational voice control, optional Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and an inbuilt SIM card for access to Volkswagen's WeConnect streaming services are among the new or upgraded features.

The Volkswagen T-Roc also features a thicker-rimmed flat-bottomed R steering wheel with an integrated R mode button, R-specific instrument graphics, stainless-steel pedal caps and footrest, more heavily contoured R seats, and a series of R-specific driving-monitor functions on the touchscreen, among other distinctive features.

Overall, the Volkswagen T-Roc R is a likable crossover with the horsepower, dynamics, and features necessary to compete with conventional hot hatches and the newer, more brutish breed of hyper hatches. @via Volkswagen.


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