New Volkswagen T-Roc SUV

From £20,425

Gearbox

Automatic or Manual

Seats

5

Doors

5

Boot size

830 litres

The Auto Trader verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
3.6
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.

Pros

  • Eye-catching exterior
  • Comfortable ride and sharp handling
  • Typical Volkswagen quality feel

Cons

  • Expensive top models
  • Uncomfortable rear seat
  • Lack of cabin storage

Full review

By Ivan Aistrop   Tuesday 24 October 2017

How good does it look?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Volkswagen has made a big fuss about the exterior of the T-Roc, knowing full well at this end of the market, looks and image are a big influence on buying decisions. That explains the relatively bold exterior looks, which are considerably more radical than the usual conservatism you might expect from the brand. Although its dimensions mean it is relatively compact, it has big presence on the road.

Sitting on 17-inch wheels as a minimum, a raised ride height and grey body cladding all around the sills of the T-Roc give it purpose and a strong stance. It’s designed to look tough, but in a thoroughly non-threatening way. The T-Roc also throws in some more coupe-like details, particularly in the way the windows become shallower towards the rear of the car. With the choice of several bold paint schemes too, the overall effect is a car that can be as distinctive as you like.

What's the interior like?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

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.

The materials used inside the T-Roc are a little mixed in quality. The important contact points like the steering wheel and gearknob are finished in leather, and the seats are swathed in leather or cloth and are nice to touch. Many of the plastics used are however hard, although they feel sufficiently robust to survive family life.

The T-Roc’s cabin has a central 8.0-inch touch-screen to navigate the infotainment system, while the climate control is operated by more conventional rotary and button controls. Getting a good driving position should be easy for all shapes and sizes too. Although the raised ride height gives a slightly higher view out, it is still possible to lower the driver’s seat down for maximum head-room.

How practical is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
2/5

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. In the rear, leg-room is acceptable for average height, although head-room is cleverly maximised by a curved rooflining. The rear bench is clearly optimised for two rather than three passengers, as the middle seat is uncomfortable and has less head-room.

You can fold the seats through the rear doors or boot – which is a sensible shape with no awkward bits. The T-Roc also comes with a removable boot floor as standard, which can be fitted into two positions (it is worth noting cars with the Beats audio system or 4Motion four-wheel-drive cannot make use of the lowest position). Storage space in the car is below the class best also, with only a small cubby between the front seats and two cupholders too shallow to hold anything but the smallest drinks.

What's it like to drive?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

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.

How powerful is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

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 the 2.0-litre diesel is available in two power outputs. All engine options use turbocharging to maximise efficiency and performance.

The 2.0-litre 150PS diesel version we tested was fitted 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.

Switch the car into the Normal or Sport modes and it is more eager to respond. The combination of the highly efficient gearbox and unstressed diesel engine makes the T-Roc a relaxing car to drive, rarely being caught in the wrong gear and always with plenty of acceleration available to serve the driver. Cruising is especially comfortable, with the engine happy to operate at low revs while still making good progress.

How much will it cost me?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

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 150PS 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.

How reliable is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

Recent Volkswagen SUVs have had mixed results in terms of reliability, falling somewhere in the middle of Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. However, the T-Roc shares a lot of parts from the latest generation of Volkswagens, so that should improve things somewhat.

How safe is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

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. With closely related models achieving a five-star rating under the Euro NCAP tests, the expectation is the T-Roc will achieve the same.

How much equipment do I get?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

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, smartphone integration, and radar-guided cruise control among the highlights. The mid-level Design trim adds exterior and interior detailing rather than any significant equipment highlights, but the top spec SEL model brings larger alloy wheels, LED headlights, front sports seats, an upgraded infotainment system, a digital instrument display, and the driving programme selection system.

Why buy?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Because you want a small car with a distinctive look in the popular SUV style, and are less concerned about practicality and running costs.

Our recommendations

From the range of the new Volkswagen T-Roc, these are the ones we suggest you look at

Pick of the range
1.5 TSI Design manual
Best balance of performance and economy with good equipment levels.
Most economical
1.0 TSI SE
Comparable fuel economy with the diesel engines, with advantage of cheaper fuel.
Best avoided
2.0 TSI SEL DSG 4Motion
Almost a Golf GTI in disguise, but expensive for a car of this class.
Choose your Volkswagen T-Roc

Information regarding the vehicle advertised is obtained from various sources, whilst we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, changes in pricing and the vehicle specification may have occurred since the content was published. Always check with the Dealer before entering into any agreement.