As a car you can fit into your life, rather than the other way round, the T-Roc is impressive. It makes a strong style statement both inside and out, and surprises with the amount of driving pleasure on offer. While it’s not cheap, and has some practical compromises, it is still a desirable choice.
The T-Roc is more expensive than most of its mainstream rivals and, based on price alone, it’s more comparable to premium competitors from Audi and Mini. For the 2.0-litre 150 horsepower diesel version, fuel consumption and emissions are class competitive if not the best available, while running costs are similarly mid-table rather than outstanding, although very close to its chief rivals. Volkswagen models typically perform above the average in terms of residual values, with the same expected of the T-Roc. Its standard warranty offers a typical three-year/60,000 miles cover, with four- and five-year extended policies available at extra cost.
Expert rating: 3/5
Reliability of a Volkswagen T-Roc
Recent Volkswagen SUVs have had mixed results in terms of reliability, falling somewhere in the middle of Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. A more recent indication of quality is the most recent JD Power vehicle Dependability Study, which saw VW score better than the industry average, The T-Roc shares a lot of parts from the latest generation of Volkswagens, so that should improve things somewhat.
Expert rating: 4/5
Safety for a Volkswagen T-Roc
The T-Roc comes with above average levels of safety equipment, including active cruise control, city emergency braking, side assist and lane assist fitted as standard on all models. It scored the maximum five-star score when crash tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP, which rated it as the best small off-road car of 2017.
Expert rating: 5/5
How comfortable is the Volkswagen T-Roc
The T-Roc has a very impressive ride quality. Although riding on larger alloy wheels generally has a negative impact on this, the T-Roc deals with large and medium bumps well, filtering out the worst bits. Smaller, sharper imperfections are not dealt with quite so well, but for a car this size, the vast majority of buyers should find it more than comfortable in town and on the open road. Better still, this ride comfort does not mean the T-Roc can’t cope with tight and twisting bends. Should you choose to push it through a corner, it responds with impressive composure and eagerness. The steering is quick to respond but not too sharp, and there is very little body roll even through tighter corners. The T-Roc never feels out of its depth, and provides a surprising amount of fun to a keen driver.
Those sat in the front should have no issues getting comfortable, with head, leg and elbow-room sufficient to suit those more than six foot tall. In the rear, leg-room is acceptable for average height, although the rear bench is clearly optimised for two rather than three passengers, as the middle seat is uncomfortable and has less head-room. Storage space in the car is below the class best, with only a small cubby between the front seats and two cupholders too shallow to hold anything but the smallest drinks.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Volkswagen T-Roc
The standard specification for the entry-level T-Roc is slightly above the class average, offering climate control, an 8.0-inch touch-screen with DAB and USB input among the highlights. Upgrade to SE and you'll get adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and smartphone integration.
The mid-level Design trim adds exterior and interior detailing and plenty of colour customisation options, rather than any significant equipment highlights, but the SEL is well loaded with kit. The top spec R-Line model brings sports seats and a general sportier demeanour, with sports suspension included too. Options include a Beats sound system, keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof and an electric boot lid.
Unlike many other cars in the class, there has been a clear effort to bring some of the style and impact of the exterior to the interior. On all but the entry-level SE model, large panels on the dashboard and the doors are finished in the same shade as the exterior colour, making a welcome change of the usual mass of dark grey plastic. It does mean it is worth giving the exterior colour choice a little more thought than usual.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Volkswagen T-Roc
The T-Roc is offered with a wide choice of engine and gearbox combinations, including the option of two- or four-wheel-drive depending on the model. There are three petrol engines available in 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre forms, and two diesels. For performance fans there’s even a 300 horsepower, hot-hatch chasing T-Roc R too, wrapping the spirit of the critically acclaimed Golf R in more fashionable crossover packaging.
Of the diesel range, we tried the 2.0-litre 150 horsepower version with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive. It starts quietly with no diesel rumble, but initial acceleration can seem a little sluggish. Although the engine offers good power low down, the accelerator can require a significant push to deliver decent progress, although it is fitted with a system to maximise economy and in Normal or Sport modes it’s more eager to respond.
We've also tried the little 1.0-litre petrol engine with the manual gearbox, which makes for impressive fuel economy and straightforward progress most of the time, but sometimes feels underpowered and requires a lot of gear shifting to get the most out of it. For someone on their own in the car it'll be fine, but if you regularly carry passengers or like more power, you may find it a bit lacking.