By Mike Torpey on 2018-09-02 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Volkswagen T-Roc 1.5
TSI Evo Design
HE may look charmingly lifelike, but the little hero of Volkswagen's T-Roc compact SUV advert was created entirely in computer graphics.
Known as Bam, the confident baby ram with the black wool and mature horns is there to underpin the 'Born Confident' message of the TV commercial.
The timing is all important here because Volkswagen believes that over the next ten years the annual global sales volume of the small SUV sector will grow from around 6.4 million vehiclesto nearer 10.6 million.
And with the T-Roc arriving late to the party, it's vital the model makes an instant impact, where all-comers - including Bam - will meet their match.
Not that the German brand doesn't have experience with SUVs in general - the T-Roc actually sits beneath the established Tiguan and above the upcoming new T-Cross model.
But it fills a gap not previously plugged by VW, one majoring on design, practicality, adventure and personalisation.
There's an emphasis on technology too, even the T-Roc's entry level S trim including the likes of Front Assist, featuring Predictive Pedestrian Protection, City Emergency Braking and Lane Assist as standard while moving up to SE adds Adaptive Cruise Control and parking sensors.
Go higher and in comes a driver alert set-up to detect driver fatigue.
As is reflected in the price range of £18,950 to £31,485, the T-Roc is a premium vehicle and, for the time being at least, is powered predominantly by petrol engines, with front or four-wheel drive.
So buyers get a choice of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0-litre TSI petrol units with just a single diesel - a 2.0 TDI available only in top spec SEL trim and 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
The tested 1.5 TSI EVO variant in Design trim and with a six-speed manual gearbox is a model that should prove popular in that it's lively to drive with 150bhp on tap, very economical even if the claimed 53.3mpg average fuel figure is pushing it and offers extensive kit for the cash.
Stylish from every angle, the T-Roc also adds a touch of ruggedness with some extra body protection around the wheel arches and sills to go with the car's wide stance.
Eye-catching colours like orange and yellow with contrasting roof shades plus coloured alloy wheels all add to the effect, which continues inside with the choice of four fascia colour options.
Personalisation also provides for saving more than 100 infotainment, convenience and assistance settings.
Inside, the cabin feels spacious with ample room for five plus their luggage, the boot checking out at 445 litres, extending to 1,290 litres with the rear seats folded.
Volkswagen T-Roc 1.5 TSI Evo Design
Mechanical: 150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 53.3
Insurance Group: 16
C02 emissions: 120g/km
Bik rating: 25%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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