The 2018 Volkswagen T-Roc is cute-ute forbidden fruit

As older models grow in size with every new generation, this continual super-sizing creates vacuums in certain segments. Volkswagen's Tiguan, now a big boy, leaves VW without a compact ute for urban commutes. Enter the T-Roc.

Surprisingly little changed between the T-Roc concept and the production version. It still sports slim headlights that blend with an also-slim grille. Its fender flares are still well defined, and there's a dash of off-color cladding surrounds the wheel wells and covers the side skirts. In fact, it'll be the first VW you can order with a two-tone paint job -- you can get a second color on the roof, A-pillars and mirror caps.

It's the same story out back. The tailpipes are mounted high, and the taillights are reminiscent of the LED units in the new Tiguan. Of course, the T-Roc concept's convertible roof didn't make it to production, but it wasn't ever really assumed that it would.

The interior is pretty close to most modern Vee-dubs, with a few major differences. There's a major dose of color that makes its way down the center console and around the entire front half of the car. There's a big infotainment screen in the middle, as well as another screen replacing the gauge cluster. A mode switch beneath the shifter will offer different ways to get over various terrains with the T-Roc's optional all-wheel drive.

Speaking of powertrain things, the T-Roc will come with a whole bunch of engine options. Europeans will get to choose between three different gas engines and three different diesels, some of which are available with a manual transmission. Front-wheel drive is available for buyers who don't want or need AWD.

In terms of safety systems, the gang's all here. Standard features on all T-Roc models include autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and a post-collision braking system that keeps you from starting a chain reaction after being rear-ended. Adaptive cruise control and parking assist are optional.

While VW would be wise to capitalize on America's burgeoning subcompact crossover craze, it appears more and more unlikely that we'll get something as small as the T-Roc. Perhaps when Volkswagen grows it into the T-Roc Plus in a generation or two, maybe then. But for now, Volkswagen has only promised that the T-Roc will launch in Europe this November.

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