Volkswagen T-Cross vs Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen has not one but two contenders in the small SUV market, and we rate both highly. Let’s see how they stack up next to each other...

Volkswagen T-Cross vs Volkswagen T-Roc

The contenders

Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 95 SE

List price £20,210
Target Price £19,578

Our recommended version is smaller and cheaper than the T-Roc yet can compete on most fronts

Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI 115 Design

List price £24,050
Target Price £22,483

You get a bit more power and more mature manners in our favourite version of the T-Roc

Volkswagen is in a bit of an odd position, offering not one but two contenders in the small SUV class. We’re fans of both the Polo-based T-Cross and larger Golf-based T-Roc, but although we’ve tested them separately against a range of rivals, we’ve never put the two head to head.

Volkswagen T-Cross front

That changes today, when we’ll be seeing how our favourite T-Cross, the 1.0 TSI 95 SE, fares against the most recommendable T-Roc, the 1.0 TSI 115 Design. Each has plenty of practical touches and is good to drive, but which is the better buy?


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

While both of our contenders have 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines, you get a little more power from the T-Roc in these entry-level guises: 113bhp versus 94bhp. So, despite the T-Roc’s bigger size, it scoots up to speed quicker than the T-Cross, whether you’re accelerating from a standstill or on the move. The T-Cross is no sluggard, but you’ll certainly appreciate the T-Roc’s extra muscle when you’re looking to overtake a slower car.

Both contenders have precise, natural-feeling steering that builds weight in a confidence-inspiring way as speeds and cornering forces increase. Plus, each offers plenty of grip that’s balanced front to rear for predictable handling. However, the softer T-Roc leans over more in corners; the T-Cross feels that bit more agile and fun to drive.

Volkswagen T-Roc front

The flipside is that the T-Roc’s softer suspension gives a more comfortable ride. Don’t get us wrong: the T-Cross rides well by class standards, but the T-Roc is one of the very best; it fidgets less at low speeds and is even more cushioned at higher speeds.

The T-Roc benefits from a six-speed manual gearbox that has a slicker action than the T-Cross’s slightly notchy five-speed ’box. Having an extra gear also means the T-Roc’s engine isn’t spinning as quickly at 70mph, so it generates less noise. This, in conjunction with less wind and road noise, makes it quieter company on a long trip. Both engines thrum under hard acceleration, but aren't intrusive most of the time.

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