What is it?
Volkswagen’s SUV range continues growing at such a pace that even models like the T-Roc (launched in 2017) are now the ‘old’ models, so five years on, it’s time this crossover got an update.
Slotting between the T-Cross and Tiguan in the SUV line-up, it’s already clocked up well in excess of a million sales in a short space of time, aided by the arrival of the oddball Cabriolet version and sporty R model. But it’s the regular SUV that’s the big seller and looks set to overtake the Golf in the sales charts soon. That’s if the updated version is good, that is…
Volkswagen isn’t known for wild mid-life updates, and the changes to this T-Roc are relatively minimal. Up front, there’s a redesigned look with LED headlights now included across the range, with Matrix LED units available on higher-spec versions.
Inside, there’s more in the way of technology, with a redesigned touchscreen and digital dials fitted across the line-up. VW has also worked to address some quality concerns of its predecessor, with a more upmarket dashboard introduced, while the trim levels have had a rejig and gained more in the way of standard equipment in the process.
What’s under the bonnet?
The engine line-up remains the same as before on this updated T-Roc, with a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines on offer, though with a noticeable absence of hybrid and electric options.
Our test car uses the smallest of the lot – a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 108bhp and 200Nm of torque. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox so you’ll have to upgrade if you want a DSG automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive.
It takes 10.6 seconds to hit 60mph, while it’s able to hit a top speed of 115mph, where permitted. Its efficiency is impressive too for a small petrol unit – returning up to a claimed 47.1mpg, with CO2 emissions of 136g/km.
What’s it like to drive?
Behind the wheel, the T-Roc is an excellent all-rounder that fulfils its brief well as a compact crossover. The ride quality on our entry-level Life version is particularly impressive, helped by its small 16-inch alloy wheels with chunky tyre sidewalls, while refinement is another strong point, with the T-Roc being quiet on the move.
Another advantage is that it feels like an actual SUV behind the wheel, as it has a properly raised driving position, unlike many in this class. Visibility in general is very good, though the rear C-pillar is quite thick and can occasionally obscure the view out of the rear.
Though this 1.0-litre engine isn’t the best option for those that like to get a move on, it’s impressive just how well it works in a decently sized crossover like the T-Roc 99 per cent of the time, while the manual gearbox is very pleasant to use too.
How does it look?
The T-Roc arrived in 2017 as Volkswagen’s funkiest-looking SUV to date, and it remains one of the better-looking cars in this class, to our opinion. Thick plastic cladding suits the T-Roc well, helping to give it that chunky styling that buyers in this class love.
It’s a classy redesign too, with the new LED headlights and redesigned grille really helping to modernise the T-Roc. It is, however, quite a spec-dependent model to look at, with entry-life Life versions looking a bit basic with their small 16-inch alloy wheels. If style is important, it’s certainly worth upgrading to the more eye-catching R-Design model.
What’s it like inside?
Oddly for a Volkswagen, it was the T-Roc’s interior that was the aspect that let the side down previously, which the firm has worked to address. And largely successfully too, with greater soft-touch materials helping to lift the quality of the interior. The addition of digital dials and a ‘touch’ panel for the climate control are both welcome, and further modernise the cabin. Interestingly, lower-spec T-Rocs offer a more intuitive cabin than plusher versions, with Style and R-Line models both getting overly fussy digitalised steering wheel buttons.
It puts a big tick in the practicality box too. The 445-litre boot is a great size, and considerably larger than a Golf’s, though rear legroom is a touch cramped. Skoda’s Kamiq performs better in this area.
What’s the spec like?
There’s the choice of three trim levels on the latest T-Roc – Life, Style and R-Line, though all get plenty of equipment included.
We reckon for many, the Life will get pretty much everything someone needs, including an eight-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring, digital dials and adaptive cruise control.
Prices for this start from £25,810, and with a couple of options, such as heated seats (£295) and a nice paint colour (£800), it still gets you a lot of car for your money. T-Rocs at the lower end of the spectrum make the most sense, as prices can rise to almost £40,000 for a top-spec car with a select few options.
Volkswagen may have been fairly light with the updates on this latest T-Roc, but those it has made have only improved an already impressive crossover.
Now boasting a more upmarket interior and smarter design, this only builds on the T-Roc’s already practical interior and impressive performance behind the wheel. In a particularly competitive segment, the T-Roc does more than enough to deserve your attention.