There's a reason why everyone seems to have an SUV these days – these all-rounders take on city and country driving with ease. But not all do it with the flair of the new Volkswagen T-Roc. Dale Campisi took the T-Roc down to Peppermint Bay for a spin.
Setting out to test drive the 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc on a daytrip to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, I’m immediately struck by its compactness. By measurement, it’s barely bigger than the Volkswagen Golf. But it’s bigger where it makes a discernible difference – in height from the ground.
My partner Mike is all over the interior features: dual-zone climate control, 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen including navigation and app-connect, and adjustable sport seats with ample room for long legs and a high-riding position.
Things get a little tighter in the back. As our six-foot-plus photographer travelling companion puts it, it’s not so small that you’ve got to get out to change your mind, but a drive to Launceston with the lads might get a bit long for those who draw the back seat.
Still, he concedes, it’s roomy enough for getting around town and short day trips like our destination, Peppermint Bay. And parents will have no problem buckling and unbuckling their little ones or tucking a pram in the boot.
The T-Roc takes the Southern Outlet incline in its stride. Soon enough we’re sailing past the Margate Train, through sleepy Snug and into the Channel’s scenic rural landscapes. Behind the wheel, driving is sublime thanks to VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive and lane assist systems. There’s kick in the engine when you want it, but that won’t help you achieve Volkswagen’s claim of 7.2L/100km fuel efficiency.
Popping into the Oyster Cove Store for fresh apples – where you’ll also find all you need for a harvest picnic – we started to get a real sense of the T-Roc’s aesthetic appeal. Everywhere we stopped, someone had a comment to make, including the local coppers. It’s sleek, confident and just a little flashy too.
The T-Roc handled the Kettering bends effortlessly. For a moment I wished our destination were further afield so I could enjoy the driving experience a little longer.
Arriving at Peppermint Bay we couldn’t resist a cruise around the sea-level Woodbridge Jetty Road before pulling up in the hotel carpark.
“Are you sure you want to park next to me?” Our friend the editor joked, observing the T-Roc’s sleekness, as we stepped out of the car beside his dusty Mazda 2.
Mike and I first visited Peppermint Bay Hotel in 2003 – the year it opened – on one of its daily ferry transfers from Hobart. Seventeen years later the place still feels new and special, such is the power of its design. And then there’s the view across the Channel to Bruny Island.
We start with coffees in the sun as we peruse the seasonal menu by head chef Toby Annear. Some of the produce comes from the hotel’s own kitchen garden, which you can inspect for yourself. Given the location, you can’t go past a seafood lunch – from classic crumbed fish and chips to Basque seafood stew. There’s something for everyone on the wine list, where Tassie producers dominate.
The serene setting calms busy minds, so don’t be surprised by the desire to stay longer than planned. A little after lunch we take a wander around the grounds and Woodbridge township, which yields photo opportunities aplenty with its quaint gift stores and a monthly market in the old town hall. We squeeze in the five-minute drive further south to Five Bob Farm, where visitors can take a walk along the sculpture trail and through a working cut flower and native pepper farm.
Back in the T-Roc, we test out the 300-watt Beats premium audio system, which delivers impressively smooth sound to match the drive back to Hobart, reaching a crescendo with the diamond-studded view of the Derwent Estuary as we descend Tolmans Hill.
Model: 140TSI Sport
Pricing: Driveaway from $45,295*
Engine Type: 2.0 litre TSI BlueMotion Technology turbocharged 4 cylinder
Max. Torque: 320Nm @ 1500 to 4800rpm
Max. Power: 140kW @ 4900 to 6000rpm
Performance 0-100km/h: 7.2 seconds
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG
Drive type: 4MOTION all-wheel drive
Fuel type: Premium unleaded
Fuel consumption (combined): 7.2l / 100km
*Driveaway pricing based on MSRP and on-road costs.