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Mid-life refresh for Volkswagen T-Roc, law change bans any use of phone while driving, new tech to improve traffic information

Mid-life refresh for Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen has updated its T-Roc small crossover, with a minor restyle, upgraded interior and increased levels of tech being the main headlines.

All models now get LED headlights and darkened tail lights, while five new paint colours and new 17- or 19-inch alloy wheels are available. On the inside, a new dash panel improves cabin quality, while the infotainment screen – either 8.0 or 9.2 inches depending on spec – has been moved nearer the driver’s eyeline and the ventilation controls changed.

Font Assist and Lane Assist safety systems are now fitted as standard, while predictive cruise control is now available, adjusting the car’s speed automatically for speed limit changes, junctions and roundabouts as well as sharp bends. Wireless Appe CarPlay and Android Auto are also offered.

Trim levels now run from the entry model through Life, Style and R-Line trims, and the line-up of five-door, convertible and high-performance T-Roc R models remains, as does the engine line-up of three petrol and two diesel options on the main five-door, and two petrol alternatives on the convertible.

Law change bans any use of phone while driving

The Government has tightened laws around phone use while driving to make use illegal under virtually all circumstances.

Phone drivingThe move catches up with the way phones have changed, with taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games now included in the law that already barred driving from holding a device to make a phone call or text. Offenders will be hit with a £200 fine and six penalty points on their driving licence if caught, although using functions such as satnav hands-free via a secure cradle is still allowed as long as it doesn’t impact upon their driving. The charge of not being in proper control of a vehicle is still open to police if required, and revisions to the Highway Code will make it clear that being stationary in traffic, including motorway traffic jams and traffic lights, counts as driving, so phones must not be used.

An exemption to the new law will cover instances where a phone is required for payment, such as drive-through restaurants or toll roads where the device is used for contactless payment.

New tech to improve traffic information

National Highways, formerly known as Highways England, is to introduced new technology designed to “make sure consistent and reliable information is available on the nation’s motorways and major A roads” over the next five years.

Switching from legacy to cloud infrastructure will supply the latest information to both electronic messaging on the road network and digital journey planning platforms, better sharing up-to-date information on planned roadworks and other delays or congestion.

“This groundbreaking digital transformation will allow us to make positive changes to the way our roads are run and to vastly improve the journeys of road users both today and on the roads of the future,” said National Highways customer service director Melanie Clarke.

The new system will also deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict the condition of roads up to 24 hours in advance, taking into account planned events such as roadworks and sporting events and unplanned incidents such as collisions to help road users better plan journeys.

First Drive: Volkswagen T-Roc


Government plans extension to phone ban while driving