Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Three petrol engines, two diesels
  • No electric or hybrid options
  • High-performance T-Roc R packs 300hp

Petrol engines

The core petrol range comprises a small selection of 1.0- and 1.5-litre engines with up to 150hp. Things kick off with the 110hp 1.0-litre engine, which has seen service elsewhere in the VW range. It sounds quite charming, and it has just enough punch for pottering around, but it feels a tad weedy in a car of this size.

The 1.5-litre, 150hp petrol engine is a better bet, with clever technology to shut down two of its four cylinders when the engine doesn’t need the extra power. It’s exceptionally smooth and you’d never notice it happening. It’s also available with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions.

VW used to offer the T-Roc with a 190hp 2.0-litre engine, too, but that was left by the wayside as customers stuck with more efficient models. That left just one high-performance, all-wheel-drive option: the 2.0-litre, 300hp T-Roc R. This petrol engine gives the T-Roc hot hatchback performance figures, and it’s now the sole all-wheel-drive choice.

Diesel engines

The T-Roc is offered with a choice of two 2.0-litre diesel engines, both of which are designed to offer greater economy on long drives. The most efficient of the two is the least powerful option – the 115hp TDI Evo – which replaced the old 1.6-litre diesel and is available purely with a six-speed manual gearbox. Offering adequate punch and stellar economy, it’ll appeal to plenty of customers.

But again, the more powerful engine is the one to choose. The 150hp diesel might be more expensive, but it’s much meatier than its less powerful sibling and nearly as economical. It’s also available with a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Precise steering
  • Good body control
  • Very easy to drive

The T-Roc is remarkably easy to drive and, despite its height, it doesn’t seem to roll too much in fast corners. Its compact dimensions also mean it’s a doddle to park and manoeuvre in tight spaces.

The steering is light but quite direct, meaning motorway lane changes can be made with minimal effort, but it doesn’t feel especially engaging until you start applying more lock. Do that and it will, eventually, become heavier and more involving for tighter corners. And if you get a bit ambitious with your corner speeds, there’s still plenty of grip.

But while the T-Roc is engaging enough, it isn’t exactly spectacular against the vast majority of its competition. In some ways, it’s remarkably similar to the Golf hatchback, with suspension that’s firm enough to stop it from wallowing too much from side to side, and yet soft enough to be comfortable – it’s a pleasant middle ground. Just beware of larger wheels that spoil that balance slightly.

The R version, however, behaves a little differently. Sportier suspension means it’s more enjoyable to throw into corners, if not quite as agile as the Golf R. It’s also mighty quick, with all-wheel-drive traction permitting outrageous acceleration.