Kerry Searle, Marketing Exec at Lookers, took the Volkswagen T-Roc for a week-long test drive, in the latest of our guest blog reviews.
I prefer to be behind the wheel of a hatchback – something that’s not too small and not too big. If it’s roomy enough for a weekly shop, yet small enough to fit in a parking bay without any hassle, it’s good enough for me.
Despite my preference for smaller cars, I was eager to take the Volkswagen T-Roc for a lifestyle test drive when given the chance – drawn by its compact SUV classing.
Style and substance
With the growing number of SUVs on the roads, the newer models need that bit extra to stand out from the crowd, not least from the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai.
And on the styling front alone, the T-Roc goes someway to doing exactly that. The model I was given, the VW T-Roc Design, had contrasting paintwork with pearl white detailing on the roof and door mirrors, and a smart black finish everywhere else.
The colour scheme gave it a more premium look, which was helped by the chrome lining on the doors and grill. It was also fitted with a set of 18-inch alloys – it’s definitely a car that’ll appeal on aesthetics.
On the inside
Although it looks like a larger car, the T-Roc is more like a smaller model that’s been heightened. The driving position is raised and offers a good view of the road ahead, whilst giving a greater sense of presence.
And I imagine that’s something that potential T-Roc owners are looking for – a classy-looking car that’s imposing, but not oversized.
The interior itself is plain, but clean and tidy with a metallic-effect panel that runs along the dashboard. And the air con and heating controls are exactly where you’d want them to be, within easy reach.
But the cabin’s main draw will be the 8-inch touchscreen. With quick access tabs and dials either side of the screen, it’s incredibly easy to use and looks great on the centre of the dash.
Although the model I drove didn’t have satnav, all trim levels come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, meaning you can connect your phone up to the screen and use your maps app.
The interior is nice and practical, for both drivers and passengers.
Commuting was a doddle
Living in Darlington and working in Newcastle makes for a fair commuting distance each day, so the T-Roc was well tested.
Especially on the B roads around Darlington, the T-Roc’s driving position and light steering were handy in navigating the small lanes and tight bends.
The 1.5-litre petrol engine that this model had was more than capable and fairly nippy, too. And even when driving in sixth gear, it was altering speed well.
In its highest gear, it would comfortably slow in speed without the need to drop down into fourth or fifth – which was extremely handy with the varying speeds of B road driving.
The economic factor is a big draw
This T-Roc is also able to shut down two of its four cylinders, allowing for more economical driving.
In what’s a brand-new technology at consumer level, the feature can improve your miles per gallon reading over a number of journey types – be it long distance motorway journeys or the shorter door-to-door trips.
For the week I had the T-Roc, I averaged at 45+ miles per gallon. A solid figure considering the mileage was made up of commuting and also ‘urban’ driving.
SUV looks with hatchback practicality
When it came to the more mundane tasks like getting the shopping in and taxiing friends, it also performed well.
Although it had a fair amount of space and decent comfort for four passengers, it wasn’t overly big and actually drove like the smaller hatchbacks I’m used to.
With the growing number of compact SUV models on offer, from the affordable and solid Qashqai to the more premium Audi Q2, the decision on which to go for could be quite difficult if you’re looking for that type of car.
But if aesthetics are just as important as practicality to you, the T-Roc should be on your radar. Coming with a huge choice of colour and alloy combinations, there’s probably a style to suit everyone.
Praise for the T-Roc is more than justified, and even more impressive when considering the competition that it’s up against.