The Volkswagen group sells more cars than any other car maker. It also has more vehicles in its range than any of its rivals and spends more money developing them. However, some critics would say that their strengths are also their weakness in that too many of its cars are just too similar. The T-Roc though, which is VWís small SUV, wants to appeal to your heart as well as your head. So, how does it stack up against rivals such as the SEAT Arona and Mini Countryman? Well, in this small review weíre going to try and find out and also let you know what itís like to drive and how easy it is to live with and what itís like on the inside.
So, whatís the T-Roc like on the road? Well, firstly we think that most buyers will choose between the two lowest powered petrol engines and that many of them will opt for the 1.0 litre which is the smallest. Ok, this does sound a little too small for a car like this but please donít be fooled. Itís got plenty of punch and can hold its own on the motorway and also A-roads. Itís also very smooth and quiet at all but hi revs. Itís so good in fact that itís the one that we would recommend thatís unless you feel that you need something with a little more go. If this is the case then youíre probably better off opting for the 1.5 litre petrol especially with both the step up in price and running costs quite reasonable. The bigger engines again, both diesel and petrol, are certainly more fun but theyíre so much more expensive and so we wouldnít really recommend them. The six-speed manual is great but the automatic DSG, which is standard on the range-topping petrol unit, is a little but jerky at slower speeds. Whichever engine you go for, as long as you stick with the smallest wheel size, the T Roc really is one of the most comfortable small SUVs you can buy. It really does soak up bumps better than any of its rivals while somehow keeping its body from bouncing up and down too much along undulating roads. That said, the higher ride height does mean that you still feel bumps more than you would in the lower riding Volkwagen Golf. The compromise for this is that the T-Roc isnít as agile as its rivals. So youíll find that it leans more in the corners, where this is fine for more people, if itís a sporty ride youíre after then youíd be better off with an Audi A2 or SEAT Arona.
When you sit inside the T-Roc youíll immediately feel at home if youíve spend time in other VW models. However, if you havenít then not to worry as all the buttons are logically laid out so that youíll quickly start to feel at home. How the T-Roc differs to other VWs is that you can inject various trim colours around the dash and thereís a bit of ambient lighting as well to really lift the cabin. Unfortunately, you still canít get away from the fact that thereís a lot of hard scratchy plastic and that the interior quality is on a par with the cheaper SEAT Arona. This is unfortunate because the Audi Q2 has a much more premium feel to its inside. If you like a high seating position then the T-Roc puts you in a higher position than both the Kia Stonic or SEAT Arona. However, a Nissan Qashqai is higher though if a Range Rover pulls up alongside you then youíll still feel very small. With the higher seating position and the slim windscreen pillars it makes forward visibility excellent. Unfortunately, rear visibility is not quite as good but the great news is that you do get front and rear parking sensors as standard.
Whatever your shape or size youíre unlikely to complain about the space inside the front of the VW T-Roc. This is because the seats go a really long way back and really far forward. Thereís also plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel for reach and rake. When it comes to storage you get large door-bins, two cup holders, storage under the armrest and a decent size glovebox. To operate the infotainment system itís a little bit fiddly and you almost have to study it to really get good at hitting the buttons on the move. If you like sat-nav then itís a very expensive option on all but the range-topping SEL trim so a cheaper way to do it would be to simply use the sat-nav in a phone app and use Apple Car Play or Android Auto.
Itís a similar story in the back of this car because thereís plenty of headroom especially if you donít opt for the panoramic sunroof Ė although this only eats into it slightly. In terms of legroom itís better than a SEAT Arona though the T-Roc is slightly wider which means that you can fit three children side-by-side in the back quite comfortably. The boot is quite large and has a practical square shape. Thereís also some useful tethering points dotted around which is also quite useful. One downside is that you canít move the seats forwards and backwards to change the balance between rear legroom and luggage space. Thereís also no option for electric front seats which do hinder the T-Rocís practicality score somewhat.
Our advice would be to stay at the lower end of the T-Roc price scale where the 1.0 litre and 1.5 litre engines are very reasonably priced. However, if you move up the engine scale or add four wheel drive, we would reckon youíll be paying a price that could get you a much better car. Running costs for the T-Roc also look sensible with the 1.0 litre version returning over 55 mpg (miles per gallon) in official tests. The T-Roc also gets the full 5-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating and it has notably higher marks for pedestrian, child and adult occupant safety.
There are a lot of trim levels to choose from though the one that we would recommend is the one just above basic which is the SE or the one above that which is the Design. On top of the standard kit which includes dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, A DAB radio and alloy wheels, both get extras including adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors. Design models add a wider range of personalisation and styling accessories including twin chrome effect exhaust surrounds, contrasting roof and door mirror colours, and bumpers with a silver metallic underbody protection. Itís at this point that the claim that this is a Volkswagen with a difference really starts to ring true.
Overall the T-Roc offers a great package. Itís a smidgen more stylish than VWís of recent years only at the expense of interior quality. So the end verdict is pretty good for Volkswagen. Itís a car thatís easy to like and if you spec it well weíd certainly recommend it. To compare the prices of new and used Volkswagen T Roc cars for sale then head to DesperateSeller.co.uk today.