Review: Volkswagen T-Roc (2018)

Rating:

Comfortable and refined on the move. Available with lots of personalisation options. High quality feel throughout. Entry-level 1.0 TSI engine is excellent.

Not as fun to drive as the SEAT Arona. Hardly the most daring of designs. Issues with 1.5 TSI Evo engine.

Recently Added To This Review

13 September 2019 Volkswagen T-Roc R priced from £38,450

Orders now open for the T-Roc R, which combines 300PS with 400Nm of torque and a limited top speed of 155mph. 0-62mph is covered in 4.9 seconds. Lightweight 19-inch Pretoria alloy wheels are fitted... Read more

24 August 2019

Regarding problems with 1.5TSI engines, owner of Tiguan 1.5TSI wrote, "if you turn off the auto hold and the stop start you will not get the kangarooing or the car switching on and off if you coast... Read more

6 August 2019

Report of July 2018 VW T-Roc 1.5TSI kangarooing in low gears when cold "virtually from day 1". Dealer says it requires a software update but cannot give a timescale for this update. We suggested trying... Read more

Volkswagen T-Roc (2018): At A Glance

It was only a matter of time before Volkswagen went all-in on the crossover craze, although you could say it's late to the party. The T-Roc is its Golf-sized crossover and a rival to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and MINI Countryman - both of which have already been around for several years.

And if you're expecting something edgy in terms of design, you may be disappointed by the T-Roc. It's neat rather than daring and although Volkswagen talks of it bringing an 'expressive, even sassy, design to the streets' (their words), we think the T-Roc is a little conservative.

It's not cheap either - entry-level models start at £20,000 while at the top of the range you're looking at more than £34k. For that you're well into Audi Q3 and BMW X1 territory.

Fortunately, the entry-level model comes with that we think is the best engine in the range - the 1.0 TSI. It may only have 115PS and seem far too small for a car like the T-Roc but it's got plenty of get up and go. We think many people will be pleasantly surprised by it. That's handy as there have been ongoing issues for some owners of 1.5 TSI models which Volkswagen has yet to resolve.

What the T-Roc does offer is quality. It's incredibly quiet and refined, it rides well and it feels like a reassuringly solid and stable car. The interior is well finished, albeit with some harder plastics than we expect, but the infotainment is excellent and there's lots of tech available including Volkswagen's digital instrument display, allowing the driver to customise the instrument binnacle. 

It also has a good sized boot with a slightly bigger cargo capacity than a Nissan Qashqai. The rear seats offer decent space too with good headroom, although with the front seats all the way back, leg room for those in the back is on the tight side. 

Like the Up, the T-Roc has a wide choice of personalisation options, with contrasting paintwork (orange with a brown roof anyone?), coloured alloy wheels and colour matching interior panels and trim. So you can really go to town and make your T-Roc your own. Or just order a silver one.

There's much to like about the T-Roc, most notably its refinement and comfort. It's not the last word in excitement when it comes to driving, but it's very capable nontheless. With a good sized boot it has appeal for family buyers. The SEAT Arona is better value, but the Volkswagen has that bit more quality to just about justify the price.  

Volkswagen T-Roc 2017 Road Test

What does a Volkswagen T-Roc (2018) cost?

List Price from £20,040
Buy new from £17,816
Contract hire from £181.27 per month

Volkswagen T-Roc (2018): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4234 mm
Width 1819–1992 mm
Height 1573 mm
Wheelbase 2590–2593 mm

Full specifications

The T-Roc may not appear as big as your standard crossover, but it does in fact have more standard boot space than a Nissan Qashqai - 445 litres if you're counting (or 392 litres in 4Motion models). That means there's plenty of room for a pushchair and shopping, making this more than enough for a family car. It also has an adjustable boot floor, but only on two-wheel-drive models.

The driver and front passenger get plenty of room and there's loads of adjustment in the seats (and the steering) so even those six-feet tall and more will find enough space. The seats have good support too and we found even after long journeys we didn't have any back ache. 

The driving position isn't as 'SUV' as the likes of the Ford Kuga, but it feels higher up than a Kia Stonic for instance. Visibility is good and it's easy to judge the extremities plus all models (bar the S) have front and rear parking sensors as standard.

In the rear it feels a little more claustrophobic, partly due to the slim windows reducing the light coming into the cabin. Legroom is just about adequate for adults, but with the front seats slid all the way back, it's tight back there.

It is also worth noting that the outer two seats are quite heavily sculpted to offer side support, meaning that the centre seat is significantly higher, reducing headroom substantially. The rear seats don't recline or slide, plus they only split 60/40 rather than 40/20/40.

The quality of the cabin is good if not exceptional. It feels superbly well put together with the usual standards we've come to expect from Volkswagen, but there are some hard plastics in areas. This is where the T-Roc doesn't feel quite as premium as an Audi. 

However, it makes up for it with a brilliant 8.0 inch touchscreen system behind a large glass encased surface. The system is the best around, not only in the way it looks, but how easy it is to use. All models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

One of our favourite features is the Active Info Display (standard on SEL), which replaces the conventional instrument dials with a configurable digital display. Not only does it make the T-Roc feel more upmarket, but it's genuinely useful with the ability to have whatever information you want (i.e the navigation map) right in front of you.

All models also get Automatic Post-Collision Braking, active lane keeping system, the Front Assist area monitoring system with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking.

Standard Equipment (from launch):

Volkswagen T-Roc SE comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, LED daytime running lights, black roof rails, variable boot floor, climate control, automatic wipers, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system including DAB, USB input and Car-Net smartphone integration, adaptive cruise control, lane assist and front assist.

Design adds 2 Zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, auto emergency braking, composition Media infotainment system with 8-inch colour touchscreen, Car-Net ‘App Connect’, adaptive cruise control  with Front Assist and City, black roof rails.

SEL adds 18-inch sterling silver Arlo alloy wheel, LED headlights with signature LED daytime running light, Car-Net Security and Service and Guide and Inform, front and rear parking sensors, Active Info Display, 8-inch colour touchscreen Discover Navigation infotainment system, Car-Net ‘App Connect’.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen T-Roc (2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Volkswagen T-Roc (2018) like to drive?

In our opinion, the best engine - and the most surprising - is the entry-level 1.0 TSI. It may seem too small for a car like this with just 115PS, but it feels far quicker than the figures suggest.

That's helped by the 200Nm of torque which means the three-cylinder unit pulls really well in gear. As a result it has little trouble keeping up with fast moving traffic and is very capable on the motorway. It rarely feels slow or lacking in get up and go. It's no surprise then that this is the best selling engine in the range. 

The downside is that it's a manual only. If you want an automatic - a seven-speed DSG in this case - or 4Motion four-wheel drive, you have to go for a bigger petrol, either the pricey 2.0 TSI or the new 1.5 TSI Evo. The latter has not been without its issues though, with some owners reporting problems at low speeds (in manual cars). Volkswagen has yet to fully resolve these.

If it's economy you want, the 1.6 TDI should see more than 50mpg in real world driving, although it's far from the most thrilling engine to drive and compared to the zesty 1.0 TSI it feels lethargic. As for the 2.0 TDI, owners are actually seeing better economy figures in Real MPG than the 1.6-litre model, but it's not cheap.

The T-Roc certainly rides well and feels smoother over poor road surfaces than an Audi Q2 or MINI Countryman. It's still well controlled though and doesn't float all over the place or bounce over bumps.

In terms of handling, there's no much to write home about. It's exactly what you'd expect from a crossover of this ilk. The steering is responsive and nicely weighted but it remains an easy car to drive rather than an exciting one. 

Throw it into a corner and the result is more body roll than its aforementioned rivals. Here the SEAT Arona feels more sporty, but then doesn't ride as well as the T-Roc. Top models come with Dynamic Chassis Control as an option, but the differences in settings are so small, we think you're better saving the money.

As for noise levels, the T-Roc is very quiet on the move, with little road or wind noise. There's good sound insulation too so none of the engines is noisy - although 1.6 TDI tends to grumble away whatever the speed. The 1.0 TSI can be a little vocal if worked hard, but this tends to sound more sporty than coarse. Despite being a three-cylinder, there's no vibration through the pedals or in the cabin.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 TSI 115 54 mpg 10.1 s 117–119 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 52–53 mpg 8.4 s 121–122 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 DSG 51–52 mpg 8.4 s 123–124 g/km
1.5 TSI 150 DSG 4Motion - - 145 g/km
1.6 TDI 115 64 mpg 10.9 s 115 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 - - 123 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 4Motion 57 mpg 8.7 s 132 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 DSG - - 123 g/km
2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4Motion 42 mpg 7.2 s 155 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen T-Roc (2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

82%

Real MPG

33–58 mpg

MPGs submitted

94

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen T-Roc (2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

There's a limited choice of tyres to fit my car - is it worth changing to smaller wheels?

I have a six-month old Volkswagen T-Roc 4Motion. We really love the car . We bought it new from stock so did not actively choose the wheels. These are 215/50/R18 alloys. The tyres (Bridgestone Turanza T001) are down to 4mm at the front and 4.5mm at the back. So I will need to get new tyres soon, but the choice in this size is very limited, excludes all the current best buy tyres, and the cost is going to be around £600 (or £800 from the Volkswagen dealer according to their helpful quote on the safety report). The alternative wheel spec for the car is 225/55/R17 where there is a lot more choice of tyre. But I am a bit anxious about leaping in and changing the wheels, not least because it will be expensive. Volkswagen sell a set of 17" alloys for the T-Roc but the blurb refers to them being designed for winter use. Other people sell alloys that they claim will fit, but a lot of these seem to be about pimping up rather than practicality and I don't know how to assess quality. Also what would third party wheels do to the warranty? Is this an insurance modification?
The best place for a set of low price, but high-quality 17-inch Alutec alloys is http://www.tyremen.co.uk / Get a set of Michelin Cross Climates or Continental AllSeason Contacts or Goodyear Vector 4-Seasons fitted to them, then keep the original wheels because a future buyer may want them for the bling. Check Tyres On The Drive (https://bit.ly/2ZlEVaR) and Blackcircles.com (https://bit.ly/2JM6bqG) for sizes and prices and read our Tyre Buying Guide (https://bit.ly/2wsFHBU).
Answered by Honest John
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