New Volkswagen T-Roc 2017

A SUV that's entertaining to drive and has compact exterior.

The oddly named T-Roc is around the same size as a Golf but in Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) format. The SUV ‘look’ is all the fashion right now, and the elevated ride height and room add to the appeal.

There’s a big range of engines on offer, but only one body style. To keep it short, there are two types of diesel and three types of petrol. You can also specify the four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. Oh, and the T-Roc comes with five trim levels too.
I drove the 190PS 2.0-litre petrol variant, which is the flagship model. It boasts the above-mentioned four-wheel drive and auto ‘box. The T-Roc in this guise will return a claimed average of 41.5 mpg and CO2 emissions are 155g/km. As importantly, it delivers wholesome performance, respectable economy and decent refinement.

The T-Roc stands out in the Volkswagen stable for good and bad reasons. It’s a fun looking SUV and it’s equally entertaining to drive. The steering is sharp, and traction is second to none. The chassis also helps provide a nice blend of comfort and control. Navigating the VW T-Roc around urban environments is both pleasurable and stress-free. Furthermore, the SUV offers good all-around visibility, which helps when parking in tight supermarket carpark spaces or multi-stories.

The positive elements continue; the T-Roc is funky with its compact exterior proportions and vibrant body colours. The LED daytime running lights look rather sexy, to boot. You can transfer some of the vibrancy into the interior as well, with colours available on the seats and dash-face. A panoramic glass sunroof is offered, too.
When it comes to the negative side of things, it’s the cabin that lets the T-Roc down. It’s not lacking for room or anything – in fact, the SUV has ample space for four-up, with excellent head and legroom. No, what rains on the T-Roc’s parade are the cheap-as-chips plastics. The budget materials are mainly noticeable on the door tops and dashboard. And, unusually for a VW, the plastics are not soft-touch – they’re nasty and hard.
Happily, the boot more than makes up for the T-Roc’s shortcomings. It boasts a cargo capacity of 445 litres, which is appreciably bigger than the Golf’s 380 litres. The level loading lip makes the packing of weighty or awkward stuff simple, and the boot aperture is conveniently square. If that’s not enough, the VW’s back seats fold down effortlessly, expanding boot space to 1,290 litres. 
Just a word of caution; don’t go for the 4MOTION-equipped T-Roc, as tested here, if cargo capacity is your priority. The all-wheel-drive system shrinks the boot to 392 litres. That’s quite a drop in space at the expense of superior grip. Oh well, the choice is yours. At least you have a choice, though.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
  • Looks √
  • Steering √
  • Visibility√
  • Room √
  • Interior plastics X
Fast Facts (VW T-Roc 2.0 TSI 190 PS 4MOTION – as tested)
  • Max speed: 134 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.2 secs
  • Combined mpg: 41.5
  • Engine layout: 1984cc four-cylinder petrol turbo
  • Max. power (PS): 190
  • CO2: 155 g/km          
  • Price: £31,485
Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
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