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There's An Obvious Reason Why VW's Hot SUV Won't Come To The US

Opinion / 8 Comments

Even though it looks great.

The grass always seems greener over in Europe whenever the US denied the latest awesome performance hatchback or wagon. In this latest case, Europe is set to receive a new performance crossover from Volkswagen called the T-Roc R, as well as a convertible version called the T-Roc Cabriolet. Judging by the failures of the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and Range Rover Evoque Convertible, the Cabriolet doesn't seem like a major loss, but the R seems like the type of product that would be perfect for VW in the US.

After putting the Golf R on hiatus for the 2019 model year, the Golf GTI will stand as the only high-performance vehicle in VW's lineup. The T-Roc R shares its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with the Golf R, producing 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque – which sounds like a recipe for fun, but there's a very simple explanation for why it won't come to the US.

In a word, it all comes down to pricing. Following the T-Roc R's reveal at Geneva, VW has released pricing for its hot crossover. The R model starts at €43,995, which roughly translates to just under $49,000. For comparison, a base Golf R starts at just over $40,000. At this price, VW evidently feels it wouldn't be able to sell enough units to justify offering the T-Roc R in the US.

The T-Roc is smaller than VW's current smallest SUV in the US, the Tiguan, and the performance-oriented R model costs around the same as a fully-loaded three-row Atlas SEL V6 Premium, so the value proposition would be a tough sell. VW says the T-Roc R can hit 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds on its way to a 155 mph top speed. In Germany, this performance might be appreciated, but in the US, customers would likely opt for the size and practicality of an Atlas or Tiguan.

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Of course, this price comparison is only based on loose currency conversion and the T-Roc R could be slightly cheaper if it was ever sold in the US. But based on the starting price of a Golf R and the value offered in the Tiguan and Atlas, we can't see it happening any time soon.

The T-Roc R's base price doesn't even include optional extras like a titanium exhaust, 19-inch wheels, Dynamic Chassis Control, and a Beats sound system. For just a few thousand dollars more, there are plenty of performance-oriented SUVs from luxury automakers such as the Audi SQ5 and the BMW X3, which is why chances seem slim that VW will bring the T-Roc R to the US.