You have plenty of engines to choose from in the VW T-Roc but you’ll have to fork out for a top-spec diesel or petrol if you want four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox
You can get the Volkswagen T-Roc with three petrol and two diesel engines and with either front or four-wheel drive – although this will depend on the specific model you go for.
The entry-level 115hp 1.0-litre petrol is the best choice if you spend most time driving around town. It’s reasonably quiet yet powerful enough to pull get the T-Roc from 0-62mph in a fairly respectable 10.1 seconds. VW claims it’ll return 55.4 mpg but you can expect it to manage around 45mpg in normal driving conditions.
The more powerful 150hp 1.5-litre petrol VW T-Roc will be a better bet if you regularly take in a mix of town and motorway driving. It doesn’t have to work quite as hard as the 1.0-litre car to keep up with traffic so it’s a bit quieter at speed and will accelerate from 0-62mph in a more spritely 8.4 seconds. It returns near identical 53.3mpg claimed fuel economy too, although in real-world conditions you’ll have to make do with a figure in the mid forties.
It’s hardly very exciting to drive but the T-Roc’s pretty comfortable for a high-riding SUV – even without the expensive optional suspension upgrade
The most economical T-Roc is the 1.6-litre diesel with 115hp. It comes in manual, front-wheel drive form only and officially returns 64.2mpg. You can expect something closer to 50mpg, but that’s still impressive, and the 1.6 feels strong enough to cope in town as well as keeping up with faster traffic on the motorway.
The 2.0-litre 150hp diesel will be more suitable if you do plenty of long journeys. It has no trouble overtaking slow-moving traffic and reaches 62mph from rest almost as fast as the 150hp petrol car in 8.7 seconds. It’ll drink a smidge less fuel, too – you can expect it to return fuel economy in the high forties compared with VW’s claimed 56.5mpg.
There’s also a more powerful 190hp petrol version that’s faster (it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds) but will struggle to return more than 40mpg in normal conditions. Both these models come with four-wheel drive as standard to give you a little extra grip in slippery conditions but only top-spec 190hp models get an automatic gearbox. This seven-speed DSG unit helps take some of the stress out of long drives but can be a little jerky at slow speeds – such as when you’re trying to park.
The VW T-Roc’s slightly raised driving position means you get a better view out over traffic ahead than in most conventional small family cars. Unlike in some SUVs, the pillars between the doors and the windscreen are quite thin too, so you’ll have no trouble spotting cars approaching at junctions.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the VW’s rear visibility. The small rear windscreen and thick rear pillars mean you might have trouble spotting parked cars and pedestrians when you’re reversing.
To help you out, you get front and rear parking sensors as standard on SE models and above, and top-spec cars even get a self-parking system that’ll steer for you into bay and parallel spaces. It’s a relatively cheap option on Design and SE cars and really helps take the pressure out of nabbing that last space on the school run.
Once you’ve left the car park, you’ll find the VW T-Roc soaks up potholes around town pretty well. It’s more relaxing to drive than the slightly bumpy SEAT Arona and runs the smooth Citroen C3 Aircross very close in the comfort stakes. The only fly in the ointment is R-Line trim which on its range-largest 19-inch alloys start to feel a little firm. However, all T-Rocs have light controls making them dead easy to navigate through tight city streets.
Head out onto a motorway and you’ll find even the smallest petrol engine makes very little noise as you cruise along. Tyre noise is mostly muted, unless you go for the R-Line’s bigger wheels, and the VW T-Roc soaks up rutted road surfaces pretty well for a small SUV. You’ll hear some wind noise at anything more than 60mph, though.
On twisty country roads the T-Roc leans more in tight corners than either the SEAT Arona or the Audi Q2 but not enough to make your back-seat passengers feel car sick on long journeys. You can pay extra for the Dynamic Chassis Control option that allows you to choose between soft or sporty setups but it costs quite a bit and doesn’t make a huge amount of difference.
You’ll be much better off putting your extra cash into some of the VW T-Roc’s upgraded safety kit – such as the sensibly-priced Pre-Crash occupant protection system. This’ll close the windows, ready the brakes for an emergency stop and pre-tension the seat belts to hold you securely in place if it detects you might be about to have a crash.
You also get automatic emergency braking as standard across the T-Roc range that’ll help avoid accidents by applying the brakes if the car’s sensors detect an obstacle in the road ahead. All but entry-level S cars also come with adaptive cruise control too, that’ll help maintain a safe distance to cars in front and return to your chosen speed once the road’s clear. It’s no surprise, then, that the T-Roc scored a full five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash testing.