Cheerful SUV is great to drive and packed with kit
- Unusual, customisable looks
- Engaging drive
- Low running costs
- Large boot for class
- Plenty of engine choices
- Long options list
- Sub-par interior material quality
- Can get expensive
- Cheaper rivals on same platform
- Waiting list can be long
The T-Roc has come about due to the huge growth in SUV sales in recent years, not just in the UK but all over the world. Naturally, VW expects it to be a huge success in the segment, and hopes that it will join the Polo and Golf in becoming one of its best-selling models.
That is a tall order, considering it has the likes of the technically similar Audi Q2 to take on, along with other small premium SUVs like the BMW X1, MINI Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA. It also has more mainstream rivals to best, including the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Vauxhall Mokka X.
The slightly funky name is meant to appeal more to the younger end of the car market – ‘T’ is to make sure the baby SUV sticks to VW’s regimented naming structure for SUVs, while the Roc part not only links back to the concept car of the same name but the Scirocco coupe.
Particularly significant is that while the T-Roc doesn’t replace the Scirocco in the marketplace, it has taken over the coupe’s production line slot, marking the end of the sportier three-door Volkswagen.
VW T-Roc dimensions
At 4.23 metres long, the T-Roc is 4cm shorter than the Audi Q2 and 10cm shorter than a Volkswagen Golf. The 445-litre boot has prompted VW to claim that it offers the largest luggage space in its class; it’s much larger than its Q2 sibling and the Mini Countryman.
List prices for the T-Roc are expected to start at around £19,000 for an entry-level S model – around £1,300 more than a basic Golf but roughly £3,000 cheaper than an Audi Q2 SE.
VW T-Roc UK engine choice
Volkswagen’s engine line-up for the T-Roc means there’s plenty of choice. There are 115hp 1.0-litre, 150hp 1.5-litre and 190hp 2.0-litre TSI petrol engines available, while the diesel end of the scale is populated by 115hp 1.6-litre and 150hp 2.0-litre TDI engines.
The UK best-seller is expected to be the 1.0-litre TSI, and that's a good engine, but our reviewers prefer driving the 1.5 Evo as it suits the T-Roc's fun character better. The 2.0, however, is probably best avoided because it's only available in top-spec SEL specification and isn't as good to drive as the other engines.
Impressive list of kit and technology
Although we can’t yet confirm exactly what will be on each trim level in the UK just yet, the T-Roc can be had with a huge amount of equipment and high-grade technology found on other VW models like the Golf and the Arteon. There will, however, be a generous amount of standard safety kit on all versions.
Among the options listings, you can add kit like wireless smartphone charging, VW’s Active Info Display which uses an all-digital instrument cluster, plus Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a very sharp infotainment system.
Since it’s an SUV, you can also add Dynamic Chassis Control, which not only has four on-road modes but two off-road settings. Those hold on to gears longer and automatically activate hill descent control when you’re going down steep declines.
VW T-Roc design
One of the T-Roc’s biggest headlines though is the availability of tailoring your car to you. Buy one new (and of at least Design trim) and you’ll have access to 24 different colour combinations for your own exterior look. There are several bright paint colours to choose from that can be complemented by contrasting roof colours.
It’s the same inside too; you can tweak the colour of the dashboard inserts and seat upholstery trim to match the exterior colour of the car.
The Parkers Verdict
The Volkswagen T-Roc will definitely appeal to small families looking for something practical and funky to look at. It’s arguably easier on the eye than Audi’s Q2, has more boot space than it and is expected to be a little cheaper too. It’s not as fun to drive as a Countryman, but it’ll be a safe pair of hands for many small crossover buyers.