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First Drive

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion review - price, specs and release dates

We drive Volkswagen's range-topping, SEL-trim T-Roc fitted with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. Is it the range pick or simply too pricey?

Words ByRory White

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VW T-Roc

Priced from Β£28,345 Release date On sale now

Panini football stickers, pogs, yo-yos, fidget spinners. What do these toys-of-old and the Volkswagen T-Roc have in common? Well, nothing really, but like those games during their prime, small SUVs are very much the current car craze.

Whether or not this craze lasts is yet to be seen, but the VW T-Roc has proven itself to be one of the best available – when kept nice and cheap. Here, we're driving the most expensive version available: the 2.0 TDI 150 diesel. It only comes with four-wheel-drive and only in range-topping SEL trim. As such, it's expensive: Β£28,345 expensive.

But should that mean you write it off completely, or does it provide a better alternative to other pricier small SUV rivals such as the Hyundai Kona, Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman?

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion on the road

Volkswagen's 2.0-litre diesel remains a great engine, pulling hard from low in its rev range over a useful band of revs. Paired with VW's usual slick manual gearshift and consistent pedals weights it's pleasing to drive, although it can be fairly vocal when pushed hard.

The T-Roc steers sweetly, too, and in 4Motion all-wheel-drive guise has reassuring grip, making it genuine fun to drive spiritedly. However, you can expect a little more lean through corners than with cars such as the Audi Q2 and Hyundai Kona.

Our car was fitted with VW's optional (Β£870) Dynamiac Chassis Control (or DCC) which allows you to firm up its suspension when cycling through the car's driving modes. Sport mode brings the stiffest setting, as well as weightier steering and a sharper throttle, but the difference to the T-Roc's andling ability is actually marginal. As such, we'd give this expensive option a miss.

Happily, in Comfort mode (and without adaptive dampers fitted at all) the T-Roc is one of the most comfortable small SUVs around. It remains composed over all but the roughest urban surfaces and stays nicely stable at higher speeds on the motorway, too.

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion interior

For our full breakdown of the T-Roc's interior, head to our full Volkswagen T-Roc review.

In short, a couple of adults will have no issues with space in the front seats and a couple more will stay comfy in the back, although three will be a squeeze. Boot space, too, is competitive in the class. So, while the T-Roc has comparable space to an Audi Q2, a Mini Countryman is roomier and more practical with it.

SEL trim comes with VW's 8.0in Discover touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth and sat-nav all included. We'd still prefer a rotary dial and menu shortcut buttons rather than a touchscreen, but within the small SUV class this is one of the very best infotainment options, being clear, responsive and easy to navigate.

Also thrown in is Volkswagen's 10.3in Active Info Display, which replaces the T-Roc's instrument panel with a full digital display. It's a nice premium touch, especially in an SUV of this size, and at Β£405 certainly worth considering as an option on lesser trim levels.

The stand-out disappointment inside, though, is quality. The dashboard looks and feels cheap across all trim levels, but it sticks out like a sore thumb when the car's price is taken to these sort of levels. Put simply a Q2 and Countryman are far classier SUVs.

Next: 2018 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion verdict >

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Volkswagen T-ROC

What Car? SaysRated 4 out of 5
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The T-Roc is a different sort of Volkswagen – one that sacrifices a little bit of substance for greater style. But interior quality aside, there's still a lot to like