Volkswagen T-Roc long-term test: report 2

Can What Car?'s 5-star small SUV of 2023 be the perfect companion for our senior videographer? That's what we're going to be finding out over the coming months...

Driving the Volkswagen T-Roc

The car Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI 110 Life Run by Kiall Garrett, senior videographer

Why it’s here To prove whether this five-star small SUV can be big enough and comfortable enough to meet the demands of regular long-distance load-lugging journeys.

Needs to be spacious enough to carry around lots of camera equipment and chew through long motorway journeys with ease while delivering good fuel economy on a town-based commute.

Mileage 1168 List Price £27,815 Target Price £26,414 Price as tested £30,585 Official economy 47.1mpg Test economy 46.3mpg

6 January 2024 – Smooth rider

You don’t need long behind the wheel of the Volkswagen T-Roc to realise it’s a very good car. Over the past few weeks, all of the What Car? road test team have spent some time in it and sure enough, one by one, they have all reported back to me how impressed they are with it.

Driving the T-Roc at Christmas

It seemed to be the ride that really stood out for all of them – and it does to me, too. My “Life” trim T-Roc comes with 16in alloy wheels and higher-profile tyres than the other trim levels, and for anyone eyeing up this SUV and wanting a comfortable ride above all else, this is the setup to go for.

It is supremely comfortable, gliding along the road and taking the many potholes and broken surfaces it encounters in its stride. Transporting family members and our puppy over Christmas was met with glowing positivity. My parents were amazed at how comfortable the rear seats were, and our puppy, Rafi, was so comfortable that he fell asleep – a glowing endorsement indeed.

Puppy in the T-Roc rear seats

I’ve previously driven a T-Roc in R-Line trim, which gets a sportier and stiffer suspension setup (and is much more expensive) and while people might prefer the looks of that trim level there’s no competition when it comes to ride comfort – Life is the best by a mile. So far, then, I’m feeling very smug about my trim level choice. And the same goes for the engine.

The 109bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine makes the T-Roc feel peppy and fun around town, but is more than strong enough for the motorway miles I need to cover. Plus the six-speed manual gearbox has been a real joy to have, helping me to make the most of the engine's power.

Using the T-Roc's gear shift

The rise of the automatic gearbox means it feels like manuals are becoming increasingly rare on the test cars we get into the office, which makes it all the more special when you get to spend a decent amount of time with three pedals and a stick. Yes it is a bit more effort than an automatic gearbox, but it’s so much more involving and, to me, more enjoyable. Sealing the deal for the manual here is the fact that I'd need to spend more than £3000 for the automatic option in the T-Roc. For that amount, I'll do the job of changing gears myself.

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