Volkswagen T-Roc Review 2024

Volkswagen T-Roc At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The latest updates to the Volkswagen T-Roc mean it's now one of the best small SUVs you can buy. It's extremely comfortable with that oh-so-desirable high seating position, while a big boot means it's a very versatile choice. There's also a very wide range of engines including diesel power – and you can even buy a four-wheel-drive T-Roc.

+Comfortable and refined on the move. Available with lots of personalisation options. Improved interior from 2022. Wide range of engines including excellent entry-level 1.0-litre TSI.

-Not as fun to drive as the SEAT Arona or Ford Puma. 2.0-litre petrol is thirsty. No hybrid model.

New prices start from £21,440
Insurance Groups are between 10–24
On average it achieves 86% of the official MPG figure

The Volkswagen T-Roc has been given a round of mid-life updates in 2022, improving an already popular small SUV. With a solid and practical cabin, a refined and comfortable drive and plenty of engine choices, the VW T-Roc in this review is a sensible - if unexciting - buy. 

The Volkswagen T-Roc is one of those cars that sits between two sectors. It's technically a small SUV, so key rivals include the Ford Puma, SEAT Arona and Peugeot 2008, but VW also has the T-Cross to compete with those. The T-Roc is also based on the Volkswagen Golf, making it larger and more refined. 

The T-Roc sits between the Taigo and Tiguan in VW's line-up, to make things even more confusing. It's almost a competitor for the Nissan Qashqai, but lines up more closely in price and size with cars such as the Honda HR-V, Renault Arkana and Mazda CX-30. Confused? We bet you are. 

Wherever it fits, the T-Roc has struck a chord with buyers, and in a bid to increase that desirability it's been given a mid-life facelift. The range starts from £25,000, with the regular T-Roc strange now split into just three core trim levels: Life, Style and R-Line. All three are well-equipped, with even the most affordable Volkswagen T-Roc Life featuring an eight-inch infotainment system, 16-inch alloy wheels and a range of driver-assist systems.

The majority of T-Roc buyers opt for one of the petrol engines: there's a 1.0-litre, a 1.5 and even a 2.0-litre with four-wheel drive. The latter will be quite expensive to run so, unless you really need the reassurance of all-wheel drive, we'd look at one of the smaller engines. In fact, the little 1.0-litre is perhaps the sweetest, with eager performance and impressive refinement for a three-cylinder engine.

You can also get a diesel Volkswagen T-Roc (increasingly rare, especially in a small SUV like this). Although the T-Roc was previously offered with an underpowered 1.6-litre diesel, it's now available with a 2.0-litre with a variety of power outputs and a choice of two- or four-wheel drive as well as manual and DSG automatic gearboxes. If you need to tow a caravan with your T-Roc, the 2.0-litre TDI could be ideal.

As well as the standard T-Roc range, you can also get the hot Volkswagen T-Roc R range-topper with its 300PS petrol engine and even a T-Roc Cabriolet soft-top. The latter is a pretty unique car, harking back to the old Range Rover Evoque Convertible.

The Volkswagen T-Roc has a higher driving position than a lot of small SUVs, giving you a good view of your surroundings. It's also got a softer suspension setup than many, which helps on bumpy road surfaces (although it's not quite as rewarding to drive as a Ford Puma).

It also has a spacious interior, meaning you could use the T-Roc as your main family car. Its boot is considerably bigger than you'd find in a Volkswagen Golf, while there's an impressive amount of headroom for rear-seat passengers.

The Volkswagen badge is synonymous with quality but that was lacking slightly in early T-Roc models. There were quite a few harsh plastics and the cabin wasn't upmarket enough to tempt buyers away from alternatives like the MINI Countryman.

The 2022 facelift brought with it a redesigned dashboard with a classier finish and an improved eight-inch infotainment display, as well as an eight-inch digital instrument cluster.

These improvements mean the Volkswagen T-Roc is now more competitive than ever before, and should be high on your small SUV shortlist.

Ask Honest John

Are DSG gearboxes more reliable in newer cars?

"I am considering buying a 1-3 year old used VW T Cross, T Roc or Taigo with a DSG gearbox. I have read the DSG horror stories and it seems that even these newer cars suffer from issues. Is this correct? I intend to keep this car for a good many years and the last thing I want is a problematic gearbox or a compromised driving experiance. Is it better to avoid VW's and go for say an auto Ford Puma? What would you recommend please"
You can read more about the DSG gearbox and potential problems in our guide here: but in brief, the dry-clutch DQ200 gearbox tends to be the most problematic which is fitted to VW Group cars with engines under 2.0-litres. However, the reliability of these units has improved over the years, so more recent models such as the T-Cross, T-Roc and Taigo are less likely to be experience issues. In terms of the driving experience the DSG is as good as any other dual-clutch transmission, with fast and smooth gearchanges. No vehicle comes with a guarantee of a trouble-free ownership experience, so ultimately it comes down to a matter of personal choice. If you remain unsure about DSG reliability you may wish to consider an alternative for peace of mind. There's more info here:
Answered by David Ross

What is the timing belt and DSG oil change interval on my VW?

"I have a 71 Volkswagen T-Roc convertible with the 1.5 engine. There is so much confusion on this with timing belt change intervals of life/140,000 miles and different answers from different VW dealers. Is the safest approach to change the belt on my engine at 5 years or 70,000 miles and should you change the water pump as well? Also I believe this car has the DQ200 gearbox which has been troublesome in the past. Do this require a gearbox fluid change and if so at what mileage - again I’ve seen 40,000 quoted and also that it’s sealed for life and can’t be done."
Volkswagen recently changed the recommended cambelt service interval for this engine to 140,000 miles, but that does not necessarily mean you need to wait until this interval to change the cambelt. Previously the advice was five years or 60,000 miles, so you may wish to have the belt changed at this interval. Ultimately it is a personal choice depending on how long you plan to keep the car and how much you are willing to invest in keeping it in the best possible condition. DQ200 DSG transmissions do not require an oil change, and as your car is a later model it will already be using the better quality mineral oil which reduces the chances of future problems.
Answered by David Ross

Are DSG gearboxes on Volkswagen cars now reliable?

"I am considering buying a Volkswagen T-Roc 1.5 TSI EVO SEL DSG on a 20 plate. Can you please tell me what version of the DSG gearbox this car has and what your opinion of it is? Also how often does the gearbox have to be serviced? "
Unless it has four-wheel-drive, the 1.5 TSI T-Roc has the dry-clutch DQ200. Historically this has been a problematic version of the DSG, but given this is a 2020 or 2021 vehicle it will have benefitted from the oil upgrades that Volkswagen made, so we would not expect it to cause any problems. There is no service schedule for this version of the DSG, unlike the wet clutch versions, so the clutches should, in theory, last in excess of 100,000 miles.
Answered by David Ross

Can you recommend a ULEZ compliant hybrid car?

"I have a top of the range 4x4 2014 Skoda Yeti. When the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) in London is extended in August I will have to replace it. My main concern is that I like the height and the comfort as I have mobility issues. I would be happy with either a petrol or hybrid. What would you suggest?"
We'd recommend a Toyota Yaris Cross. It's a brilliant hybrid small SUV that'll be cheap to run and well suited to driving around town. It's got a high seating position, too - much higher than other small SUVs like the Ford Puma. Alternatively, consider a Volkswagen T-Roc or bigger family SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen T-Roc cost?