Price from £31,485 Release date Now
All cars make sense at the right price. Take the Dacia Sandero – a jolly good buy at £5995. But if the Romanian brand decided to stick a big engine under the bonnet and a £15k price tag on the windscreen, we’d be somewhat less upbeat about it.
Here, we’re going to find out if the same holds true for the new Volkswagen T-Roc. We already know the 1.0 TSI 115 Design model (£21,125) is a cracking small SUV (watch our video group test for all you need to know about that car), but what about the range-topping 2.0 TSI 190 at a rather eyebrow-raising £31,485?
Well, let’s start with what that extra £10k actually gets you. Unsurprisingly, the bigger engine pumps out a lot more power, but you also get four-wheel drive, an automatic gearbox and more standard kit (this engine is available exclusively in top-rung SEL trim). So, whereas cheaper T-Rocs compete with the likes of the Seat Arona and Kia Stonic, this one strays well into Volvo XC40 and BMW X1 territory.
2018 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 190 on the road
You certainly won’t have any complaints about performance. The T-Roc isn’t a big car, after all, so sticking a 188bhp turbocharged petrol engine under its bonnet has endowed it with very nippy acceleration.
The 0-62mph sprint officially takes 7.2sec, which may not frighten many hot hatches but means overtakes need barely any planning and you won’t struggle to haul your whole family up mountains when holidaying in Wales.
The standard four-wheel drive system will come in handy when it snows or when you need to claw your way out of a muddy field after an unexpected monsoon. Just don’t expect the T-Roc to be much cop at proper off-roading; it has barely over half the ground clearance of a Land Rover Discovery.
The standard seven-speed automatic gearbox is a bit jerky when parking, so you tend to lurch towards the car behind rather than smoothly closing the gap. Shifts are smooth and snappy enough when you’re properly on the move, though.
And, by the standards of the class, the T-Roc is really rather good to drive. It rides smoothly (our test car was fitted with £870 Dynamic Chassis Control suspension but it’s not a necessary option) and handles tidily. Like a VW Golf with a bit more body lean, really. Yes, the Audi Q2 is more agile, but then it isn’t as comfortable.
For more information about what the T-Roc is like to drive, read our full 16-point review.
2018 Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 190 interior
This range-topping T-Roc is more expensive than the Seat Ateca 2.0 TSI 190 FR. If you’re thinking “Well, it’s a VW so that’s hardly surprising”, then it’s worth remembering than the T-Roc is actually from the class below.
Put simply, if you want a family SUV with lots of space in the back and a big boot, you’d be far better off with the Ateca, a Skoda Karoq or even VW’s own Tiguan in a slightly lower grade. The XC40 and X1 are also far roomier alternatives, although unless you can stretch your budget you will have to sacrifice a fair few luxuries.
That said, the T-Roc is hardly cramped inside – it’ll seat four grown men more easily than a Q2 and the 392-litre boot (slightly smaller on four-wheel drive versions) is plenty big enough for a big pre-barbeque supermarket trip or even a set of golf clubs.
However, even if the T-Roc is spacious enough for your needs, you're unlikely to be very impressed by its interior. The fact that the dashboard is hard and scratchy is a fair reason to turn your nose up at the entry-level models, but at this price the quality of the T-Roc’s interior is borderline unforgivable and well behind its rivals.
To find out more about the T-Roc’s interior, read our full 16-point review.
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