Volkswagen is still battling with tight supply on its hottest models, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to try getting more cars in Australia.
One of those tricks is creating specials like the T-Roc R Grid Edition.
300 units are coming to Australia in the first shipment, with a starting price $5000 lower than that of the regular go-fast T-Roc R.
Although it’s missing some luxury and active safety equipment, the T-Roc R Grid hasn’t lost any performance to save cash. It’s still powered by a pumped-up 2.0-litre turbo making 221kW, it’s still all-wheel drive, and it’s still available in flagship Lapiz Blue metallic paint.
In other words, it still ticks a lot of boxes for performance buyers on a budget.
How much does the Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition cost?
The T-Roc R Grid Edition is priced from $54,300 before on-roads, undercutting the regular T-Roc R by $6000.
It’s also $9690 less expensive than its bigger brother, the Tiguan R Grid Edition, and a whopping $12,690 less than the Golf R hatchback.
There are a few other big differences, led by the fact you can actually get a T-Roc R.
Hot crossovers and hatches are hard to come by across the board right now, from Honda to Hyundai, but you can actually get a regular T-Roc R in Australia at the moment thanks to a big supply deal confirmed by Volkswagen in January.
2023 Volkswagen T-Roc R pricing:
- Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition: $54,300
- Volkswagen T-Roc R: $60,300
Prices exclude on-road costs
What is the Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition like on the inside?
The big change to the T-Roc R Grid Edition is the seats. Rather than the Nappa leather-trimmed sports seats from the standard car, you get fabric and suede-trimmed versions of the same pews up front.
They aren’t heated, but they do look excellent. They’re also even grippier than the leather units in the corners, and the extra pop of colour they bring is nicely in keeping with the T-Roc’s more youthful bent alongside the the Golf and Tiguan.
Otherwise, the cabin is the same functional, comfortable, and high-tech space we know and love from the regular T-Roc.
The driver grasps a leather-trimmed steering wheel that feels great, but features silly capacitive buttons that are too easy to accidentally press if you’re having a crack. Between the R button and the heated steering wheel button, you’ll be adjusting settings by accident constantly.
The touchscreen sitting proud of the dashboard features the same infotainment software offered in the Tiguan, with clean graphics and quick responses. Wireless Apple CarPlay features, although you can plug into the USB-C ports, and the menus are all logically laid out.
The 10.25-inch digital driver’s display remains a class-leader, too. It’s easy to read on the move, and offers plenty of information for data nerds.
Volkswagen has even stuck with a proper climate control pod, rather than burying those controls in the central screen.
Storage space around the cabin is generally pretty good. Along with the wireless charger at the base of the dashboard, there are cupholders, decent door pockets, and a compact bin beneath the central armrest.
It doesn’t feel like a small car up front, the T-Roc.
Rear seat space is decent, although anyone lugging a family around will want to look at the Tiguan R.
Adults will be able to get comfortable back there on shorter trips, thanks to solid headroom and legroom, and the inclusion of air vents and USB-C ports is a win for anyone sitting back there. ISOFIX points feature on the outboard rear seats, and there are three top-tether points for child seats.
Boot space is a claimed 392 litres with the rear seats in place, which expands to 1237 litres with them folded.
What’s under the bonnet?
Power in the T-Roc R Grid Edition comes from the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that features in the regular model, making the same 221kW (5300-6600rpm) and 400Nm (2000-5300rpm).
It’s mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and a 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
The claimed 100km/h sprint time is 4.9 seconds, and claimed fuel economy is 8.3 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. The T-Roc R drinks 98 RON premium unleaded, and has a 55L fuel tank.
It’s fitted with a petrol particular filter (PPF), making it particularly important owners don’t try to save a buck by filling with cheaper fuel that may clog that filter and necessitate expensive repairs.
How does the Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition drive?
The Grid wants for nothing in the performance stakes relative to the regular R.
It’s still a turbo tearaway with plenty of traction, that feels more hot hatch than hot SUV. In other words, it’s plenty of fun.
The turbocharged four-cylinder engine packs a healthy punch low in the rev range, and rips through to the mid-range to redline.
When you aren’t in a hurry it just shuffles around, leaning on its muscular torque reserves, but push harder and the DSG drops a gear (or three) and dumps you directly into the meat of the engine’s power band.
Volkswagen says the T-Roc R takes care of the 100km/h sprint in just shy of five seconds, which absolutely feels accurate in the real world. And it’ll do it in essentially any conditions, thanks to the 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
Unlike the new Golf R, the T-Roc doesn’t have a rear differential capable of actively shuffling torque to the outside rear wheel.
But it does have quick steering and a sticky front axle, both of which conspire to make this a car you can really chuck into corners at speed.
Even on tight roads covered in leaf litter and twigs you can push it hard, and feel confident it’ll just hang on.
It doesn’t feel all that adjustable once you’re into a corner – you can’t play with its balance by lifting off the accelerator – but it also isn’t prone to understeer. It just does what you ask of it without fuss.
Although some equipment has been deleted to make the Grid easier to produce, the adaptive dampers standard on the R feature here as well.
In Comfort, they lend the T-Roc a fairly relaxed ride, albeit one that’s still taut enough to remind you it’s a sporty hatch.
In Race, it’s appreciably firmer, but was still compliant enough to handle the worst Victorian back roads could throw at it. The T-Roc doesn’t get deflected by mid-corner bumps, allowing you to stay in the throttle on poor surfaces.
When you aren’t in a hurry, the T-Roc relaxes into city life nicely. Visibility is decent over-the-shoulder, although the loss of blind-spot monitoring does force you to be more vigilant with your head checks, and the smart DSG combines with the torquey engine for effortless low-speed running.
Volkswagen’s suite of driver assists are also very smart. The adaptive cruise control smartly maintains a gap to the car in front, and the lane-keep assist isn’t too hands on.
The main knock on its refinement is road noise, which at highway speeds on Australian back roads is poorly suppressed.
It’s a common complaint with European performance cars, and one that’ll have you cranking up the stereo in the T-Roc.
What do you get?
T-Roc R Grid Edition highlights:
- 19-inch Pretoria alloy wheels
- Adaptive Chassis Control with Race mode
- Progressive steering
- R exterior and interior styling
- LED headlights
- Exterior ambient lighting
- Premium metallic paint
- 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Voice and Gesture control
- Satellite navigation
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Wireless phone charging
- Dual-zone climate control
- Microfleece/cloth seat trim
Is the Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition safe?
While the T-Roc range wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on tests conducted by Euro NCAP in 2017, the T-Roc R is unrated.
It received an adult occupant protection score of 96 per cent, a child occupant protection score of 87 per cent, a pedestrian protection score of 79 per cent, and a safety assist score of 71 per cent.
Compared to the regular T-Roc R, the Grid Edition misses out on blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and proactive occupant protection.
Standard safety features include:
- 6 airbags
- AEB with pedestrian detection
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keep assist
- Travel Assist
- Park Assist (bay and parallel)
- Parking sensors front, rear
- Reversing camera
How much does the Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition cost to run?
The T-Roc, like all new Volkswagen models, is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Scheduled maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres – whichever comes first.
Volkswagen offers three- and five-year Care Plans for all versions of the T-Roc, costing $1700 and $2950 respectively for the R, averaging between $530 and $560 per annum.
CarExpert’s Take on the Volkswagen T-Roc R Grid Edition
The T-Roc R Grid is every bit as good to drive as the regular model, and doesn’t feel like it’s missing much in the equipment stakes either.
The new seats are every bit as supportive as the standard units, and the loss of blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert doesn’t hurt too much in a compact car like this.
Yes, there’ll be people who want them, but the regular T-Roc R still exists for them.
Given it’s so hard to get your hands on a hot hatch in 2023, with supply shortages biting hard, the T-Roc R Grid shapes as a very appealing way for enthusiasts to get their kicks in a relatively compact package.
I’ll have mine in grey, thanks.
MORE: Everything Volkswagen T-Roc
- Looks great on the new wheels
- Grid seats still look and feel excellent
- Every bit as fast and angry as standard
- Missing safety equipment
- Poorly-applied Grid badging
- Just 300 here… for now
Top Line Specs
- Power: 221kW
- Fuel Type: Premium Unleaded Petrol
- Economy: 8.3L/100km
- CO2 Emissions: 191g/km
- ANCAP Safety Rating: Untested
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