Volkswagen T-Roc review
The Volkswagen T-Roc is a smart-looking, well-equipped SUV, but it’s not as affordable as most key alternatives.
Find out more about the Volkswagen T-Roc
The Volkswagen T-Roc is for those who want a compact SUV with smart styling and a good level of practicality – much like a designer messenger bag. While it may not be the most exciting car around, it performs really well as a practical runaround.
Much like its German alternatives, the BMW X2, Audi Q2 and Mercedes GLA, the T-Roc focuses more on function than form while remaining pretty smart, but it isn’t quite as funky as the Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-30.
The smart styling continues inside. Ambient lighting helps add some character to the trim highlights, while the large displays that are fitted are simple yet effective. There are some physical buttons still used, but there’s VW’s annoying sliding climate control setup to contend with.
Overall equipment levels are very good across the T-Roc line-up, with 16-inch alloys, roof rails, LED headlights and wireless smartphone connectivity all standard.
In the back, adults won’t find lots of legroom, while headroom is also a little tight for taller people but good enough for most. Quality isn’t the best though, especially on the window ledge where you might want to rest your arm. The colours also aren’t that inspiring, with plenty of grey and black materials.
For boot space, the T-Roc is one of the best in the segment, with a 445-litre capacity. The load lip is pretty small, making loading and unloading simple, while you can fold the seats down mostly flat. Only the Mercedes GLA has a larger boot out of its alternatives.
But where the T-Roc claws back against the Mercedes is how it drives. It isn’t as refined overall as the GLA, but it happens to be more involving and there’s more feel through the steering. Also in town, it’s compact enough to navigate through narrow streets easily.
It may not be the most exciting car around, but the T-Roc is practically packaged and nice to drive.
On longer journeys, it also manages to be very composed and comfortable when cruising, while there’s limited noise from the standard-fit roof rails and tyres.
There’s no electric or hybrid alternative on this version of the T-Roc, so you have to choose between petrol or diesel. The entry petrol is more than powerful enough for most with 110hp, and you can choose to have a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic depending on your preference.
You can also get four-wheel drive on the top-end petrol and diesel options, but it’s not necessary for all but a select few people who need it.
As standard, you’ll find the T-Roc gets adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist and high beam assist – which are usually available in packs or as optional extras on many alternatives.
But with all the good levels of kit and safety features, the price of the T-Roc is a bit high compared to alternatives, especially the Mazda CX-30 and Nissan Juke. If you do like the look of the T-Roc compared to those though, take a look at the latest deals on one through carwow.
If you want to find out more about the T-Roc’s interior, practicality and performance, read on below.
While the boot is one of the best in class, the back seats of the T-Roc aren’t the roomiest.
Where alternatives of the T-Roc take a lead is in terms of passenger space. The T-Roc is by no means bad, but it’s much tighter in the back seats compared to the Mazda CX-30 and Mercedes GLA.
Taller people in particular will find the rear seats to be a squeeze, with the legroom being rather limited. You’ll find your knees digging into the back of the front seats, while there isn’t the most foot room either. Headroom is quite good, even for adults.
The middle seat though is not really an option for anything more than a short journey, as you’ll take up precious space from the feet of other passengers, and it’s not wide enough to hold three adults for too long.
Volkswagen has done a good job of making the cabin of the T-Roc as practical as it can. There are large door bins, two central cupholders – the shape of them isn’t ideal though – and a good space in the centre console to hold your phone when it’s connected to the infotainment system.
The glove box is a decent size too, while the central armrest lifts up so you have a small cubby under there too. You can adjust the armrest by sliding it forwards and backwards, making it easy for you to get comfortable.
In the back, you get a decent door bin, seat pockets for any devices or books, and a large folding armrest in the middle.
Compared to alternatives, the T-Roc’s boot space is one of the best available. The 445-litre space is only behind that of the Mercedes GLA which offers 495 litres. The space is squared off, making it easier to fit plenty of things in, while there is a minimal load lip to deal with.
You can also fold the middle part of the middle seat to get through loading, although the opening isn’t the biggest. You get 60:40 split rear seats that fold down easily enough, and the space you get is flat enough. It’s easy to slide things to the front too, as there’s no lip between the seat and boot floor to contend with.
The T-Roc manages to be composed and involving, just don’t expect it to be the most exciting.
With only petrol and diesel options available, you won’t get the opportunity to have an electric or hybrid powertrain on this version, which was updated in 2021. For the standard T-Roc, power outputs range from 110hp to 200hp, and you get the choice of either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic on most versions.
You might want more power, but realistically the 110hp 1.0-litre petrol is all that you’ll ever need. Paired to just the six-speed manual, the three-cylinder unit thrums along nicely without being intrusive in the cabin, while the gear shift is smooth and not that long at all.
The 150hp petrol paired with a seven-speed auto is also a perfectly viable option. It’s efficient enough and has plenty of punch so that you can enjoy a back road. The auto box can be a bit sluggish away from junctions though, which is something to get used to if you choose that.
If you’re after a more efficient T-Roc, each of them can achieve upwards of 50mpg, with the entry 115hp 2.0-litre capable of 60mpg.
Performance-wise, the fastest T-Roc you can get is the R. Denoting the fastest version of a lot of Volkswagen’s models, the R version has 300hp and can sprint from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds.
Most of you won’t choose that though, with the entry-level petrol and diesel engines the only ones incapable of going from 0-60mph in under 10 seconds. All the other power options are more than fast enough.
While a lot of alternatives feel a bit reserved and not that involving, the T-Roc manages to be composed and interesting enough to hustle down a back road. That being said, it’s not the most exciting car around.
Around town, the steering is more than light enough to make tight turns easily, while the turning circle is tight enough to make u- and three-point turns simple. Visibility is also rather good on the whole, apart from the rather large rear pillars.
Out on the twistier roads, the T-Roc holds its own really well. It’s not the most invigorating car to drive, but you can certainly have fun with it. There’s some feel through the steering so you get a better sense of the surface and grip.
Body roll is also pretty limited too, meaning that you can make quick turns easily without it washing out too much. It also soaks up bumps rather well, although R-Line models with the optional 19-inch alloys are too firm for most.
When cruising, the T-Roc feels very composed and cruising is a simple task. With adaptive cruise control as standard, you can set your speed on the steering wheel, as well as your distance from the car in front. Exterior noise is pretty limited as well. The standard fit roof rails don’t disrupt the air too much, while there’s also little tyre noise.
The T-Roc hasn’t got the most exciting cabin around, but it’s simply styled and well-equipped.