UK Drive: The Volkswagen T-Roc is a real versatile crossover
Volkswagen’s SUV lineup continues to grow at such a rate that even models like the T-Roc (launched in 2017) are now the “old” models, so five years later it’s time for this crossover to be upgraded. day.
Sitting between the T-Cross and the Tiguan in the SUV range, it has already recorded more than a million sales in a short time, helped by the arrival of the shifted Cabriolet version and the sporty R model. It’s the regular SUV that’s the big seller and is expected to soon overtake the Golf in the sales charts. That’s if the updated version is good, that’s…
Volkswagen isn’t known for wild mid-life updates, and the changes to this T-Roc are relatively minimal. Up front there’s a revamped look with LED headlights now included across the range, with Matrix LED units available on higher spec versions.
Inside there’s more tech, with a redesigned touchscreen and digital dials fitted across the range. VW has also worked to address some of its predecessor’s quality issues, with the introduction of a more upscale dashboard, while trim levels have been redesigned and gained more in terms of standard equipment in the process.
The engine range remains the same as before on this updated T-Roc, with a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines on offer, but with a noticeable absence of hybrid and electric options.
Our test car uses the smallest of the lot – a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine producing 108bhp and 200Nm of torque. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, so you’ll need to upgrade if you want a DSG automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
It takes 10.6 seconds to hit 60mph, while it’s capable of a top speed of 115mph, where permitted. Its efficiency is also impressive for a small petrol unit – returning up to a claimed 47.1 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 136g/km.
Behind the wheel, the T-Roc is an excellent all-rounder that fulfills its mandate as a compact crossover well. The ride quality of our entry-level Life version is particularly impressive, helped by its small 16-inch alloy wheels with thick tire sidewalls, while refinement is another strong point, the T-Roc being quiet moving.
Another plus is that it feels like a real SUV behind the wheel, as it has a decently elevated driving position, unlike many in this class. Visibility in general is very good, although the rear C-pillar is quite thick and can sometimes obscure the view from the rear.
While that 1.0-liter engine isn’t the best option for those who like to move, it’s impressive how well it runs in a decently sized crossover like the T-Roc 99% of the time, while the manual gearbox is also very pleasant to use.
The T-Roc arrived in 2017 as Volkswagen’s funkiest SUV yet, and it remains one of the best-looking cars in this class, in our opinion. The thick plastic coating suits the T-Roc well, helping to give it that chunky style that buyers in this class love.
It’s also a stylish redesign, with the new LED headlights and redesigned grille really helping to modernize the T-Roc. This is a fairly spec-dependent model though, with the entry-level Life versions looking a bit basic with their small 16-inch alloy wheels. If style is important, it’s certainly worth upgrading to the more eye-catching R-Design model.
Oddly for a Volkswagen, it was the interior of the T-Roc that was the aspect that let the side down before, which the company worked to fix. And largely successfully too, with softer-touch materials helping to improve the quality of the interior. The addition of digital dials and a “touch” panel for climate control are welcome and further modernize the cabin. Interestingly, the lesser-spec T-Rocs offer a more intuitive cabin than the more luxurious versions, with the Style and R-Line models both getting overly difficult digitized steering wheel buttons.
It also puts a big tick in the convenience box. The 445-litre boot is sizable and considerably larger than a Golf’s, although rear legroom is a bit cramped. Skoda’s Kamiq performs better in this area.
There are three trim levels to choose from on the latest T-Roc – Life, Style and R-Line, although all benefit from plenty of included equipment.
We think for many the Life will get just about everything someone needs, including an eight-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring, digital dials and adaptive cruise control.
Prices for it start from £25,810, and with a few options, such as heated seats (£295) and a nice paint color (£800), it still gets you lots of car bang for your buck. T-Rocs at the lower end of the spectrum make the most sense, as prices can reach almost £40,000 for a top-spec car with a few options selected.
Volkswagen may have been pretty lighthearted with the updates to this latest T-Roc, but the ones it did have only improved an already impressive crossover.
Now boasting a more upmarket interior and smarter design, this only builds on the T-Roc’s already practical interior and impressive performance behind the wheel. In a particularly competitive segment, the T-Roc does more than enough to deserve your attention.