Lisbon, 02 November 2017
A T-Roc for seven hills
A sightseeing tour of Lisbon with the new Volkswagen T-Roc
6:45 p.m. The evening sun is setting on the horizon where the vast Atlantic Ocean meets the mouth of the Tagus River. The idyllic end to a late summer's day in Lisbon, a day full of adventure. We spent a good seven hours discovering the Portuguese capital in a Volkswagen T-Roc. And if we had crossed the 25 de Abril Bridge – the name commemorates the 1974 Portuguese Carnation Revolution – and headed south we would also have been able to visit the Setúbal plant where the crossover model is built for the European market.
Instead, we succumbed to the unique charm of the city, while Volkswagen's latest model really turned the heads of the Portuguese and their guests from all over the world.
Driver assistance makes for a relaxed tour of the Portuguese capital
The T-Roc 2.0 TSI with a 140 kW/190 PS* engine and 320 Nm of torque quickly covers the short distance from the airport to the historic old heart of the city.
The maze of alleyways that make up the old town lies at the end of a broad boulevard. Patience is what's needed now as we join the never-ending stream of taxis, trams and tourists. Thanks to Front Assist and ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) we relax and go with the flow, enjoying the view of the famous tiled facades through the panoramic glass roof. The 7-speed DSG gearbox takes the strain out of gear shifts. We follow the tracks of the No. 28 tram.
Finally, we find ourselves right in front of the impressive west façade of Sé de Lisboa – Lisbon Cathedral. While we are taking a few quick photos of the oldest church in the city, people are taking snapshots of us, too. The T-Roc in brilliant Energetic Orange is quite an eye-catcher.
Compact design is a boon in narrow alleyways
Uphill, downhill – like Rome, Lisbon was built on seven hills. We slowly wend our way round Castelo de São Jorge. Archeological finds from the 7th century BC indicate this fortress can be considered to be the cradle of Lisbon.
We pass the Panteão Nacional church,and come to Feira da Ladra – the Thieves Market.
There is a flea market here twice a week, and something original, kitsch or vintage is always to be found there.
A winding road takes the T-Roc to Terreiro do Paço, one of Lisbon's most iconic squares, on the banks of the Tagus River. From here, we get our first glimpse of the azure waters of the broad estuary from the waterside promenade. A detour takes us to the Bairro Alto (upper district).
The T-Roc scores top marks again in the narrow alleys. The elevated seating position and the compact dimensions combined with the activated Park Assist guide us through the narrow passages and bends.
Cuts a good figure everywhere
Our tour of the old city comes to an end as the T-Roc circles Rossio Square in Baixa district.
This is the heart of the cosmopolitan center of Lisbon. Lots of pedestrian streets lead off the square. Not only that – another major attraction is just 100 meters away.
The wrought-iron Elevador de Santa Justa is a 45-meter lift built in 1902. We stop the T-Roc for the last time to take some snapshots of this famous postcard motif before we embark on the last leg of our sightseeing tour, heading for the west of Lisbon.
We quickly buy some "pastéis de nata". These egg tart pastries with their crisp puff pastry are one of Lisbon's most famous delicacies and are eaten at any time of the day, from breakfast to dinner – and later.
Rumor has it that the best pastries can be found near the Torre de Belém. This fortified tower originally stood on a small island 200 meters from the northern banks of the Tagus. It was built in the early 16th century as part of a defense system to protect the harbor of the seafaring city. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, it now stands directly on the river bank and is a very popular tourist attraction. Just enough time for a quick photo here – no chance of a coffee break near our T-Roc. Things look better about a kilometer further on, back towards the city center. In the shade of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument, we enjoy our "pastéis de nata".
The view of the monument built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator makes our pastries taste even better!
Long day, fiery design
We drive down the waterside promenade, now a veritable joggers' highway and anglers' paradise in the cool of the evening, under the 25 de Abril bridge towards the harbor. The T-Roc poses for the last time. Once again, passers-by reach for their smartphones and want to know all about the car. This was built by the car maker from Wolfsburg? They would never have guessed that from the design. Enjoy!
We watch the fiery evening sun disappear below the horizon in the west as we look back on our day in Lisbon and all we have experienced. Who needs open country when you can enjoy such an incredible city from the comfort of the Volkswagen T-Roc?
*T-Roc 2.0 TSI 4MOTION DSG, 140 kW / Fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 8.5 – 8.4 / extra urban 5.8 – 5.7 / combined 6.8 – 6.7; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 155 – 152, efficiency class: D - C.