Volkswagen T-Roc long-term test review

The T-Roc is a new kind of Volkswagen – one that's designed to appeal to your heart as well as your head. But is it good enough to gain recognition amid a field of impressive small SUV rivals? We...

Volkswagen T-Roc long-term test review
  • The car Volkswagen T-Roc Design 1.0 TSI 115
  • Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor
  • Why it’s here Having rested its SUV aspirations on the larger Tiguan and Touareg thus far, VW is now hoping its smaller and funkier T-Roc can take on a wealth of small SUV rivals
  • Needs to Combine the quality, solidity and practicality we’ve come to expect from VW, with enough flair to tempt buyers away from some seriously chic opposition

Price £20,500 Price as tested £23,540 Miles covered 1247 Official economy 55.4mpg Test economy 34.7mpg Options fitted Discover Navigation (£780), Car-Net ‘Security and Service’ (£350), 17in ‘Mayfield’ Atlantic Blue diamond-turned alloy wheels with anti-theft bolts (£40), Active Info Display (£405), Ravenna Blue dashpad (free), black roof (free), metallic paint (£575), luggage compartment mat (£70)

29 June 2018 – big space, small package

Thus far, the T-Roc had mostly been used as a commuter vehicle – a task at which it excels, with its small, peppy petrol engine and raised driving position. A family break, however, presented an opportunity to put it to the test with three kids, two dogs and a rather excessive amount of luggage on board.

The most problematic part of that payload is, of course, the dogs. The T-Roc is hardly over-endowed with boot space and the low roofline means outright practicality is limited. Here, the car does have a neat trick, however: raise the boot floor to its highest setting and there’s space for Basil and Dennis to sit on top, yet you also gain a cavernous area beneath that's big enough for wellies, coats, board games and several bottles of wine.

Volkswagen T-Roc long-term test review

Despite this, we needed rather more space than that, so we picked up a set of roofbars (£175) and a 340-litre roofbox (£230) – large enough to swallow even our youngest daughter’s gym mat. Unladen, it caused the relatively light T-Roc to be jostled about in crosswinds, but with family and bags aboard it was back to its usual trick of creating a big-car feel with pretty compact dimensions.

The slim, letterbox slot between the seatbacks and roof meant there was no risk of the dogs jumping through, and the kids were comfortable and unusually uncomplaining in the back – although our eldest daughter Elsa did report feeling a touch claustrophobic with the high door tops and thick rear pillars.

Volkswagen T-Roc long-term test review

The three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine continues to impress, coping with all of that extra weight without feeling underpowered on twisting Somerset lanes. Its lack of low-down urge did become noticeable when approaching dual carriageway inclines in sixth (and sometimes fifth) gear, but as long as you are prepared and shift down early there’s no loss of momentum.

On a long journey, I’m amazed by how refined and relaxing a companion the T-Roc is. I also appreciate our Design model's kit list, which includes adaptive cruise control. This feature is a boon in most conditions, although in heavy rainstorms on the way home the forward sensor was obscured – and, frustratingly, that disabled all cruise functionality.

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