The Volkswagen T-Roc concept will preview the German brand’s vision for a Golf-sized crossover model when it debuts at next week’s Geneva motor show.

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Though strictly a concept, Volkswagen says it pictures a sub-compact SUV inspired by the T-Roc slotting into its future line-up between the pint-sized Taigun and the larger Tiguan SUVs.

At 4179mm long, 1831mm wide and 1501mm tall, the Volkswagen T-Roc concept is 248mm shorter and 22mm wider than the Tiguan, and has a roofline that sits 185mm closer to the ground. Despite being almost a foot shorter from nose to tail, the T-Roc’s 2595mm wheelbase is just 10mm shorter than that of the Tiguan. The three-door concept tips the scales at 1420kg, giving it a similar mass to the Nissan Juke AWD.

The T-Roc concept is based on the car maker’s flexible MQB platform, and rumours suggest a production version could share its underpinnings with the forthcoming Audi Q1, which is due to enter production in 2016.

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The concept teams a 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre engine borrowed from the Golf GTD with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which sends power to all four wheels via Volkswagen’s 4Motion system.

The T-Roc claims a 6.9-second 0-100km/h sprint and combined cycle fuel consumption of 4.9 litres per 100km.

The selectable driving modes – Street, Off-road, and Snow – alter the characteristics of the car’s AWD system, throttle response, transmission, ABS, and hill start and descent assist functions.

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The T-Roc concept displays the latest evolution of Volkswagen’s SUV design language. Headlights incorporated into the wide horizontal grille (in a style reminiscent of the Range Rover Evoque), muscular wheel arches, strong bonnet and side panel contours, and a wide rear end with angular LED tail-lights hint at the design direction of the brand’s future crossovers.

Less likely to take the leap from show car to showroom is the concept’s targa-style twin removable roof panels, which can be stowed in the boot when the weather is fine.

Cameras mounted in the headlights and at the rear allow drivers to monitor off-road terrain, with images transmitted to a large removable tablet display in the centre console.

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Other highlights of the T-Roc concept’s four-seat cabin include the Blue Splash metallic trim that lines the dashboard, console and doors, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display that adapts according to the selected drive mode, and a digital climate control system that allows occupants to set a ‘perceived temperature’ – not just the temperature of the air stream – for different areas of the body.

The Volkswagen T-Roc concept will debut in Geneva on March 4.

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