Look-a-like: VW T-Roc and…

The new VW T-Roc has brought a breath of fresh air to VW’s design, and unlike the most recent batch of Audis, or the new VW Arteon, it has done so without relying on an exaggerated grille. That said, while it all comes together very nicely, there are parts of the T-Roc’s design that immediately reminded me of cars that have come before it.

First, the grille and lights assembly on the T-Roc looks a lot like that of the facelifted third-generation Toyota Highlander in the US. There is single straight line that joins the lights and grille, giving the car an aggressive “brow”, while the grill itself has a stretched hexagonal shape with the bottom part reaching lower than the lights do, allowing the latter to be thin and aggressive-looking. Luckily for the T-Roc, its better overall proportions and other detailing at the front (e.g. the cool LED running lights) gives the car an altogether different look than the much larger Toyota family-hauler. It is also a nice illustration of how, if you want to give your car an aggressive look, blacked-out grille and lights with chrome detailing look much better than then lighter color on the Highlander.

The other detail on the T-Roc that has appeared previously on another car is the chrome line that runs only above the side windows, creating a swoop that goes all the way down to the windowline, framing that back window. In particular, Jeep used this detail to inject the new Compass with a bit more character, though in that case the chrome strips from either side of the car connect under the rear window. And while this chrome swoop looks better on the T-Roc than on the Compass, in my opinion, both are preferable to the “split rear pillar” treatment so beloved of some designers these days (think Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Nissan Murano and Maxima, Suzuki Swift etc.)

  1. There are only so many lines and curves and bumps that can be drawn on so many cars before some similarity gets noticed.

  2. Two materials for the newest german shitbox who cares.I want to see on this site the data about european market in august.Let’s make carsalesbase great again!

  3. Wtf.. You forgot to say that it also has 4 wheels like most of the other cars in the world.

    Such a stupid article.

  4. Charles, Funny guy, John – these are meant to be light-hearted articles, and you really should not read too much into them. If you have something productive or insightful to share with others, please do, but if my “look-a-like” articles don’t tickle your fancy you can always skip them. And we’ll bring you the latest sales data whenever they are out, we promise!

  5. Great article, glad I found this site.

    I enjoy the Look-a-like articles. My co-worker and I actually spend quite a bit of time discussing cars and similarities.

    It’s true that “only so many lines and curves and bumps that can be drawn,” yet somehow most car companies seem to be able to come up with some sort of distinctive design element that makes their products stand out.

    If you are going to bring a new product into a segment, you can do lots of things to distinguish it from the competitors.

    Kia Optima went from a clone of the Accord to a very distinctive looking sedan. The Ford Escape went from something that looked like a poor man’s Jeep to something that didn’t look like any other small SUV on the road – sadly now it appears to be morphing into a Hyundai Santa Fe as Ford and Hyundai appear to be getting their front grilles from the same parts bin.

    Hyundai took the Elantra from an egg shaped sedan and turned it into a swoopy and sporty looking compact car that looked nothing like the Civic, Corolla, Focus or Sentra that it was competing against. Kia took the Forte and changed it from a clone of the Civic in 2010 and made it a clone of the Focus in 2014!

    It really doesn’t take much to change a grille, headlights or taillights to make your car stand out from the rest.

    1. @BillT – welcome to our site, glad you’re enjoying CSB so far – it really is a labor of love 🙂

      Also, I’m happy to hear from another person who’s view is similar to mine – yes, it is very easy to make cars look similar, but that does not mean that carmakers who do it should get a pass. In the case of the T-Roc it may be a case of VW thinking it can use similar lines as the Highlander and crib some details from the Compass because it all combines to a different whole. And funny you should mention the Elantra – I have an article coming soon that may upset some fans of a certain high-end German brand. Stay tuned!

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