Our Cars: Volkswagen T-Roc SEL 1.6 TDI 115

20 December 2019: The lost art of driving LOLs

The Details

Current mileage 3250
Claimed economy 50.4mpg [WLTP]
Actual economy 49mpg

Everyone loves a crossover now. The 'dual purpose vehicle' is the fastest growing segment in Europe, and has been for about a decade now; a little more than 130,000 crossovers were sold in the UK in 2009, compared to half a million in 2018. Near enough 300% growth. Unbelievable, Jeff. 

I have no problem with this...well, just the one, which we'll get to. Mainly though, crossovers are generally more spacious, safer and more suited to family use then any other sort of car with a similar footprint. You could argue that fuel efficiency would be improving more quickly if design trends tended towards less bulky shapes than the two-box SUV. Estates, say. Fair enough, but effficiency is improving nonetheless. 

Like, who'd have thought that a family SUV would be able to return fuel economy consistently in the high 40s? But that's what our T-Roc is giving us. Yep, a dirty VAG diesel knocking on the door of 50mpg. And sure, it's slow and a bit noisy and quite uncouth, and in fact the T-Roc isn't that big - only just a family car, really - but still, it's difficult to argue with.

Unless you actually like driving, that is. Unlike the family hatchback segment, which has been awash with brilliantly dymanic five-seaters for decades now, the crossover segment is...well it's basically rubbish. 

Off the top of my head I could name you half a dozen crossovers that are clumsy to drive at best, plain horrible at worst: Dacia Duster, Vauxhall Mokka X, Citroen C3 Aircross, Ford Ecosport, Fiat 500X. I'll let you think of a sixth yourself. 

The aforementioned are all very good in their own ways - they're not bad cars - but they're not the sort of car you could possibly enjoy driving, in the traditional sense of that feeling you get going around a corner in a well sorted out car. Know what I mean? They're numb, they roll, they're usually noisy in a bad way. To drive a Ford Fiesta back to back with a Dacia Duster is to but Jet from Gladiators on the Krypton Factor against Eric Bristow. 

But here's the but: the T-Roc. Despite what I said a few paragraphs ago, and what your assumption probably is, the T-Roc is actually good to drive. Sure it's no Fiesta - physics dictate it can't ever be - but back to our '80s game show example, it's at least got a shot against lovely Jet. It's...erm...it's Lizzie Webb from TVAM. Also, I've just driven the new Ford Puma, and although I'm not allowed to tell you anything about it until January 13th, it's in this paragraph, so...

There you have it. Driving LOLs might be a lost art at the moment, in the sense that there are a depressing number of depressingly uneventful-to-drive cars that are depressingly popular. But the tide mught just...just...be shifting. Thanks in part to the T-Roc. Merry Christmas. 

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