What is it?
Last year, Volkswagen joined the compact SUV market with the T-Roc, impressing discerning drivers across the UK with its dimensions, styling and performance. Our lifestyle test drive demonstrated the versatility and practicality of the vehicle, as well as it’s potential to be a class-leader. Here, we tell you why it’s so special.
What’s under the bonnet?
Our test car was fitted with the 1.5-litre petrol ‘EVO’ engine, which has seen something of a mass roll-out across the VW Group’s models as of late, coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The unit develops 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, capable of taking it from 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 127mph. As for economy, Volkswagen claims 52.3mpg on a combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 121g/km.
At lower speeds, the ‘EVO’ engine has no problems, allowing town driving to be done briskly and without argument. Take it on the motorways or uphill, however, and the gearbox needs to be worked a little harder to get the maximum from the engine.
What’s it like to drive?
The chassis of the T-Roc was developed by Karsten Schebsdat, who previously developed the Golf GTI Clubsport S and formerly of Porsche, and it shows.
For a compact SUV, it’s surprisingly engaging and fun to drive thanks to well-weighted steering and supple suspension.
This doesn’t compromise the T-Roc’s town driving ability either, thanks to a small turning radius and good front visibility.
The large C pillars and a raked rear window, though striking, reduce the view somewhat, which isn’t aided by the narrow wing mirrors. As long as you drive with caution, you should be fine.
How does it look?
Much like the rest of the Volkswagen range, the T-Roc has a mature and sleek design. In the flesh, it’s well-proportioned and is certainly one of the more attractive offerings in the compact SUV sector.
The wide choice of customisation options ensure you can stand out from the crowd too. A choice of 11 colours include flash red, turmeric yellow and energetic orange while the roof is available in white, black, red and brown.
What’s it like inside?
The interior of the T-Roc is unmistakably Volkswagen, with familiar design touches such as switches, buttons and steering wheel.
This cabin’s fit and finish is of a very high quality, with an 8 inch touch-screen having all your controls within easy reach.
What differs the compact SUV from the rest of the range is the new Design trim, allowing customers to choose from four dashboard trim colours — otherwise not an option on any other model.
What’s more, the raised seating position gives an excellent view of the road and the compact cabin provides a comfortable environment for any sort of journey.
What’s the spec like?
Our test T-Roc was an SEL trim model, meaning standard equipment includes Volkswagen’s Active Info Display technology, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, an eight-inch infotainment display with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 18-inch alloy wheels — with a base price of £24,520 for the trim.
Extras on our test car included the £280 sport pack, which added front sports seats, steel pedals, red brake calipers and black roof lining, as well as ‘PreCrash preventive occupant protection’, which closes windows, tenses front seat belts and prepares brake systems if a dangerous situation is detected.
It may not be the cheapest SUV on the market – all-in, the price as tested for our car was £25,520. However, what you do get is a powerful performance, a strong design and an impressive spec. It has all the elements to truly be a class leader in the competitive compact SUV market. It’s one of the best to drive in the segment and is arguably one of the most handsome.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Volkswagen T-Roc offers one of the best packages in its class.
For more on the T-Roc watch the vid below, as part of our Lookers Car Reviews series.