- Compact, yet practical SUV that’s easy on the eye
- Good all-round visibility and comfortable driving position
- Impressive day-to-day running costs
- Quite expensive at the top end of the range
- Too much hard plastic inside the cabin
- Ride can be a little unsettled on bumpy surfaces
Take the ever-popular VW Golf and add some extra height and width while shortening the length slightly and you have the T-Roc, a compact five-door SUV.
With a choice of trim levels called Life, Style and R-Line, there are five engine options ranging from 110PS to 190PS in both petrol and diesel formats, and customers can also select all-wheel drive or even go for the stunning Cabriolet version.
Boasting dynamic styling, practical carrying limits and a wealth of on-board technology, this model is ideal for the active family looking to stay within a respectable budget – if the high-end trims are avoided along with an extensive a list of options, of course.
On The Road
VW believes the Style trim level will be the most popular with customers looking to buy the latest T-Roc and that’s the model we put to the test.
Powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel engine matched to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox with front-wheel drive, the car produced 150PS of power and 360Nm of torque.
That translates into a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.6 seconds and maximum speed of 127mph.
Some cars seem to lack real character these days, but that’s not the case with the T-Roc which fizzes along the country lanes. It does get a little fidgety over rougher surfaces but that’s something that’s fairly easy to live with.
The acceleration through the automatic transmission is nice and smooth and there are paddles for added driver engagement. It’s not blisteringly quick, but can hold its own cruising at 70mph on a motorway, and is agile in busier town centre settings where the good all-round visibility is a plus factor.
The steering is nicely weighted with plenty of driver feedback and a Sport setting can be selected via the gear lever to liven the reactions up a little.
The T-Roc is heavily based on the VW Golf which is a real driving purist’s car. So, despite its larger scale, it still has quite a lot to live up to.
And in most parts, it succeeds really well. It’s nicely balanced on twisting country lanes with decent grip into and out of tighter bends. There is a little body lean if corners are attacked too eagerly and some rivals do handle better, but in fairness, they also tend to be pricier.
The T-Roc is perfectly refined on motorways though with barely a sound filtering through into the well-insulated cabin.
The suspension system, in the main, does an excellent job of ironing out the road creases, but any unexpected bumps will send quite a judder through the car. Our test model was riding on larger 17-inch wheels which may be the reason for its slightly edgy handling at times.
With its mid-life facelift and refresh, new T-Roc certainly looks the business with plenty of road presence. It was already a good-looking compact SUV, but the new features see the D-shaped daytime running lights with integrated indicators included as standard across the entire range.
There are dark red LED combination tail lights, LED rear number plate lights, silver roof rails, body-coloured bumpers with silver-metallic underbody facia, body-coloured door handles and side sills, and a chrome plated radiator grille surround.
With 14 alloy wheel designs, nine body colours and three design packs along with the option of three contrasting roof colours, customers can fully personalise their car.
Moving inside, our T-Roc Style model featured sports comfort front seats upholstered in Titan Black. There were decorative grey trims in the dashboard, centre console and front door panels, plus leatherette inserts in the doors and side trims, along with a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
But, on the downside, some of the materials felt a little cheap and tacky to the touch with hard plastic surfaces spoiling an otherwise beautifully styled interior.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
It’s quick and easy to find the ideal driving position inside the VW T-Roc with full manual seat and steering wheel adjustment. The driver benefits from excellent forward and side visibility thanks to the elevated seating position and the slim pillars. The rear-view visibility is not quite so impressive with quite a small screen, but our vehicle did come with Park Assist, including front and rear parking sensors, along with a rear-view camera.
The car is generously equipped as standard with a Digital Cockpit that includes a 10.25-inch high-resolution tft driver display with menus and displays that can be customised. And there is an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that features pre-loaded European sat nav data offering three routes – fast, short and eco.
Full smartphone connectivity is offered via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and MirrorLink, and there is a DAB radio, plus Bluetooth connection with simultaneous pairing of two compatible devices. Four USB-C ports (two in the front and two in the back) will keep occupants connected on the move.
All controls, dials and readouts are easy to operate on the fly and there is a completely separate panel for all the air conditioning and seat heating controls.
Space & Practicality
There are few compact SUVs the size of the T-Roc that are so spacious and flexible inside. It stretches 4,236mm in length, is 1,819mm wide and 1,584mm high – that’s 49mm shorter, 30mm wider and 82mm taller than its sibling, the Golf, with which the car shares many similarities.
Boot space is set at 445 litres, which is 17 per cent larger than the Golf. And if the 60:40 split-folding rear seats are dropped, the volume increases to a generous 1,290 litres. It’s worth mentioning the square shape to the boot entrance which makes it practical for loading larger items. The boot floor can be adjusted height-wise and there is a load-through facility via the rear centre armrest.
Inside the cabin are numerous storage compartments, including a glovebox, front and rear cup holders, a small central cubby box, practical door bins with a bottle section and seat back pockets.
Up front, there is ample room for two tall adults to sit comfortably and there is enough space for a couple of rear passengers provided the front seats are not pushed too far back. The headroom in the back is excellent though thanks to the SUV design of the car with its high roofline.
The rear doors open nice and wide which means there are no access issues and there are Isofix fittings for child seats. In addition, the elevated seating makes it an ideal vehicle for anyone with mobility issues too.
The VW T-Roc in Style trim with the 2.0-litre diesel engine and automatic gearbox, as tested, was priced at £33,390. But a few optional extras such as a Winter pack that introduced heated front seats, a heated windscreen washer jets and a washer fluid level indicator added £295 to the price. Other options included a rear-view camera (£275), towbar £720 and a space, weight saving spare wheel (£100), along with specialist paint. The final price crept up to £36,345.
According to figures under WLTP testing, the diesel-powered T-Roc can deliver impressive day-day running costs with a combined 57.7mpg and carbon emissions of 128g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £190 for the first year which would drop down to the standard fee of £165 after 12 months.
The insurance group rating for the test car is 23.
Quality & Reliability
Since launch, the T-Roc has proved relatively problem-free, but despite its reputation for developing strong and reliable cars, the company as a whole, still scores quite poorly in customer satisfaction surveys.
The T-Roc is developed on the highly successful MQB platform so all parts have been tried and tested to the extreme. The engines should deliver thousands of miles of trouble-free motoring and the car has a sturdy build quality.
There are a lot of rather cheap-looking hard plastic surfaces throughout the cabin, an issue that is probably accentuated by high-end soft touch surfaces and neatly upholstered seats. While these surfaces will be practical and easily wiped clean, they do lower the standard considerably.
Like all VW’s the T-Roc is sold with a three year, 60,000-mile warranty. This is the same as many other manufacturers offer these days, but if you are looking for longer warranties then Hyundai and Kia, amongst others, have better offers.
The T-Roc is also sold with a year’s Breakdown Assistance in the UK and Europe.
Safety & Security
The VW T-Roc was awarded a maximum five-star rating when it was tested for its Euro NCAP grading and features numerous driver assistance aids to help protect occupants and other road users.
Our test car boasted a Driver’s Assistance Pack as standard that includes adaptive cruise control with front assist, a radar sensor-controlled distance monitoring system and autonomous emergency braking. There is also lane keep assist, a speed limiter, proactive passenger protection plus pedestrian and cyclist protection.
Other safety features include high beam assist, dynamic road sign recognition, hill hold, park assist, a driver alert system, post collision braking, tyre pressure monitoring, Isofix child seat fittings and a full suite of airbags.
The VW T-Roc is a nicely constructed compact SUV that’s big on personality and performance. It is also competitively priced if you give the top models and lots of options a swerve.