Volkswagen T-Roc Review logo

Volkswagen T-Roc Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Funky yet frugal crossover SUV

Best bits

  • Very comfortable crossover with soft suspension
  • Spacious cabin with a big boot
  • Better looking than most cars of this size

Not so great

  • Some surprisingly flimsy interior finishes
  • Cheapest S models are very basic
  • Not as fun to drive as a Ford Puma

Read by

Volkswagen T-Roc Front View

Overall verdict

Volkswagen T-Roc Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen T-Roc Front View

Driving

Volkswagen T-Roc Electric Infotainment

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen T-Roc Bootspace

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Volkswagen T-Roc

"The Volkswagen T-Roc is an easy car to recommend. It looks the part, has a stylish and practical cabin, and is pretty good to drive. Some alternatives are better in certain areas, but we rate the T-Roc as an excellent all-round package."

Volkswagen T-Roc Front View

The T-Roc is essentially a higher-riding, more fashionable version of the Golf. It sits between the compact T-Cross and practical Tiguan in Volkswagen’s range, rivalling cars like the Ford Puma, MINI Countryman and the premium BMW X2.


There was a time when the Volkswagen Golf was a pretty aspirational car. Sure, it was ‘only’ a fairly mainstream hatchback, but one that exuded quality and proudly wore the Volkswagen badge on its grille. Today, however, everyone wants a crossover. So that’s what the T-Roc is.


It’s a more comfortable choice than most of its contemporaries. The T-Roc's ride quality is surprisingly soft, especially with smaller wheels and the standard suspension. That also means it’ll lean more in corners than a Golf and isn’t as agile as a SEAT Arona, but that’s a price we’d be happy to pay.


Aside from hybrid or electric powertrains, the T-Roc’s engine line-up is pretty comprehensive. Petrol offerings range from a little 1.0 TSI (which is surprisingly good) to a powerful (and thirsty) 2.0 TSI with four-wheel-drive. There’s the sporty T-Roc R, too, which we’ve covered elsewhere, while most buyers will find the mid-level 1.5 TSI ticks all the boxes. Diesel units include a fairly dismal 1.6 TDI and a more likeable 2.0 TDI.


It’s got a pretty good interior, with higher-spec models getting some neat touches - like colourful dash inserts - to give it a funky edge over the more grown-up Tiguan. The cheapest S model is pretty grim and to be avoided, unless you really must have a T-Roc on a budget. It’s got a CD player rather than Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, lacks an armrest, and doesn’t come with an alarm as standard.


No matter which T-Roc you choose, you might be surprised to find some rather flimsy plastics here and there. It shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but it’s not what we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen. If you’d like a plush cabin, look at the Mazda CX-30 instead. Or the pricier Audi Q2.


It’s a practical car, with a higher seating position than many rivals. There’s plenty of space in the back, while the T-Roc’s generous width means you can even squeeze an adult in the middle seat (if you really must). The boot’s a decent size, too.


On the used market, the Volkswagen T-Roc represents fairy good value for money, although its desirable image means you’ll more for one than a more mainstream alternative. It’s worth the cash, though, and we’d recommend stretching to one of the more appealing mid-spec trim levels.


Volkswagen even has a convertible version in the form of the unusual Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet.

Is the Volkswagen T-Roc right for you?

If you want a stylish, crossover with a versatile cabin, the Volkswagen T-Roc’s a great choice. It’s got more kerb appeal than the bigger Tiguan, yet families will find it more practical than the Golf hatchback.


With a suspension that focuses on comfort rather than sportiness, it’s a surprisingly comfortable choice - while the strong engine line-up means there’s something for everyone. You can even get four-wheel-drive models, although these are fairly thirsty and to be avoided unless you really need to venture off-road.


The most basic models do without a lot of the standard equipment which makes the T-Roc so appealing, so we’d suggest splashing the cash on one of the pricier versions if your budget allows.


What’s the best Volkswagen T-Roc model/engine to choose?

Most buyers will find the 1.5 TSI to be the best combination of performance and economy. The 1.0 TSI is fine, if most of your miles are around town, although you’ll only find it paired with low-spec versions of the T-Roc.


If you cover a lot of motorway miles, a diesel will make more sense. The 1.6 TDI does the job, in the same way as a plate of boiled pasta will do the job. The 2.0 TDI is munch punchier and no less efficient in the real-world, provided you avoid four-wheel-drive models.


There’s quite an extensive line-up of trim levels and decided which one suits you depends on what exactly you want in a corner. We’d probably look for a Design or SEL model, for things like a contrasting roof and the desirable 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Cheaper models are fine, although the entry-level S is very basic indeed.


What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen T-Roc?

There’s a whole range of crossover SUVs that contend with the T-Roc. These include other Volkswagen Group alternatives like the Skoda Kamiq, SEAT Arona and even the pricier Audi Q2. You could also consider the Mazda CX-30 - a left-field crossover with a superb cabin - or the fashionable MINI Countryman.


Toyota’s C-HR is a hybrid alternative, if that floats your boat, while the Honda HR-V could be a sensible and practical choice. If you’d like a premium contender, we’d recommend the BMW X2. There’s the Mercedes-Benz GLA, too, although the 2014-2020 model isn’t as good as you might expect.


Finally, the Ford Puma is an excellent, well-equipped alternative, particularly if you’d like a crossover that’s a bit more sporty to drive.

Learn more

Volkswagen T-Roc Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen T-Roc Front View

Driving

Volkswagen T-Roc Electric Infotainment

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen T-Roc Bootspace

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

What is the Volkswagen T-Roc?

It’s a five-seater, stylish compact crossover that shares its underpinnings and engine range with the Golf hatchback, but has more space inside, a higher driving position and more striking exterior.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Where is the VW T-Roc manufactured?

European versions of the T-Roc are built at Volkswagen's shared production facility in Setubal, southern Portugal. It’s the same factory that produces the Sharan people carrier.

Russ Campbell

Answered by

Russ Campbell

Is the Volkswagen T-Roc a 4x4?

Although the T-Roc is available with four-wheel drive, your choices are limited to the most powerful petrol versions, in pricier trim levels, paired up to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Previously, Volkswagen offered a 2.0-litre diesel 4x4 with a manual, but now it’s only available used.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

What does T-Roc stand for?

The name is a bit convoluted, but according to Volkswagen, the ‘T’ is to remind you of the Volkswagen’s bigger SUVs; the Tiguan and the Touraeg. The ‘Roc’ part is just a different spelling of ‘Rock’ as a nod to the potential off-road ability, despite most versions being two-wheel drive.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

What is the boot size of the T-Roc?

The T-Roc is very practical, with a 445-litre loading bay with the rear seats in place, that can be expanded to 1,290 litres when you fold the back rests down. However, models fitted with the 4MOTION four-wheel drive system have slightly less room for bags, with a 392-litre boot.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

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