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What is the Volkswagen T-Roc?

Volkswagen's T-Roc is a medium-sized sporty-ish SUV that is sandwiched in the German brand's line-up between the more practical T-Cross and Tiguan ranges.

The oddball - for a VW - name uses a ‘T’ like Tiguan and Touareg to signal that it’s an SUV (apparently), while the 'Roc' part references rock (yes, really) and the Scirocco, which the T-Roc sort of replaces on the basis that more people buy crossovers than coupes these days.

VW has been a bit slow to the party in this area of the market, and the T-Roc faces off against a vast number of opponents, including the Nissan Qashai, Renault Kadjar, MINI Countryman and Toyota C-HR.

It also has internal Volkswagen Group competition from the SEAT Arona and Ateca, Skoda Kamiq and Karoq, and the Audi Q2 and Q3; the T-Roc’s slightly ‘in-between’ sizing means it’s not an exact direct competitor to any of those, however.

At-a-glance 2019 Volkswagen T-Roc specs

  • Top speed: 116-134mph
  • 0-62mph: 7.2-10.9 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 34.0-51.4mpg
  • Emissions: 115-155g/km CO2
  • Boot space: 445-1,532 litres

Which versions of the Volkswagen T-Roc are available?

As with most crossovers, the primary T-Roc bodystyle is a five-door SUV, albeit with a slinkier silhouette than many of its rivals. It will be joined in 2020 by the two-door T-Roc Cabriolet - with its soft-top roof it will be the only convertible in Volkswagen's range. 

White 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet side elevation roof down

VW is keen to appeal to younger buyers with this car and has made sure there is an extensive selection of personalisation options, as well as a wide range of engines and trim levels, attracting a wide range of tastes and budgets

  • Watch our Volkswagen T-Roc SUV review video

The standard petrol engine choices are a 1.0-litre TSI with 115hp, a 1.5 TSI Evo with 150hp and a 2.0-litre TSI with 190hp; there are 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel, the former with 115hp, the latter with 150hp.

Standard models are front-wheel drive with a manual gearbox, though DSG automatic transmissions and 4Motion four-wheel drive are both available, depending on engine.

What is the Volkswagen T-Roc R?

VW announced T-Roc R in March 2019, and it is exactly what it sounds like it might be – a VW Golf R on stilts.

Blue 2019 Volkswagen T-Roc R front three-quarter driving

It uses the same 2.0-litre TSI turbo and 4Motion four-wheel drive as the Golf R, outputting 300hp for properly stonking performance.

We’ll have more info on this once we’ve driven it.

Styling and engineering

Available in a bright range of colours – including some two-tone options – and with eye-catching accessories including orange alloy wheels and chrome exterior trimmings, the T-Roc is one of the more visually arresting vehicles in the entire Volkswagen line up.

Blue and black 2017 Volkswagen T-Roc dashboard

The interior can be made similarly striking, thanks to the option to add brightly coloured dashboard finishes and seat trimmings.

But it’s not all style and no substance – material quality is mostly high (there are some cheaper plastics), there’s a good amount of modern technology available, and there’s plenty of space inside for people and luggage.

As for the engineering, it’s based on the same MQB platform as a huge range of other VW Group products, including not only all those other SUVs listed above and more, but also cars as diverse as the Audi TT and the Skoda Superb.

Is it good to drive?

It’s very Volkswagen to drive – which means it does most things extremely well, but won’t necessarily give you the ultimate in driving thrills.

Orange 2018 Volkswagen T-Roc SUV side profile driving

From the suspension comfort to the level of control in the corners, the T-Roc is perfectly satisfying, while in areas including the engines and the DSG transmission it performs near to the very best you can expect from this class.

What you don’t get is the last word in steering feel and precision. Most buyers will hardly mind.

How much does the Volkswagen T-Roc cost?

As a VW, you probably won’t be surprised to find that list prices are on the higher side for the class – but we feel that the value you get in exchange is fair.

It’s a similar story when it comes to buying a T-Roc on finance – it’s not going to be the cheapest option, but nor is it horrendously expensive. You get good value for what you pay.

Want to find out what other buyers think? Read our comprehensive Volkswagen T-Roc owners' reviews.

Orange 2018 Volkswagen T-Roc SUV rear three-quarter driving

Volkswagen T-Roc Model History

There was no immediate predecessor to the T-Roc - instead it was launched to satisfy pent-up demand for a smaller SUV wearing the Volkswagen roundel, but its introduction came at the expense of another nameplate: Scirocco. Not only did the T-Roc take its place in VW's range, where demand for coupes was dwindling, it even replaced it on the factory production line. Given that there's no apparently let-up in consumers' appetites for SUVs, the T-Roc's set to be around for several generations to come.