Volkswagen T-Roc R long-term test: report 5

The 296bhp Volkswagen T-Roc R is one of the best sports SUVs to drive, but how easy is it to live with? We're finding out...

LT Volkswagen T-Roc R - operating touchscreen

The car Volkswagen T-Roc R 2.0 TSI 300 4Motion DSG Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if this thrilling sports SUV continues to impress when you live with it every day

Needs to Combine its undoubted pace and agility with practicality

List price £40,735 Target Price £38,120 Price as tested £46,709 Miles 1460 Official economy 32.5mpg Test economy 28.6mpg

14 October – Style vs substance

Like a Poggenpohl kitchen, Volkswagen interiors are renowned for being classy yet functional. However, the truth is the T-Roc R’s doesn’t live up to the first part of this positive stereotype; hard, unyielding plastics that are more worthy of a £15k hatchback than a £40k sports SUV are the order of the day throughout.

Volkswagen T-Roc touchscreen

Even now, after a few months with the car, I feel a flash of disappointment every time I climb behind the wheel. And the fact that the Cupra Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq vRS are quite a bit plusher, despite costing similar money and being from Volkswagen-owned brands, makes the standard of finish in the T-Roc all the harder to understand.

Fortunately, there’s compensation in how easy everything is to use. The digital instruments are crisp and clear, while the chunky rotary air-con controls are the very definition of simplicity. Even the touchscreen infotainment system – a feature of modern cars that we often criticise – keeps distraction to a minimum, thanks to logical menus, big icons and a scroll wheel for moving up and down lists.

Volkswagen T-Roc R digital instruments

Then there are the driving modes. In other cars I’ve run, you have to select your preferred setting every time you start the engine, or at least confirm that yes, you do indeed want the car to remain in sport. But the T-Roc R just defaults to wherever you left it, which is exactly what you want.

And even more importantly, the seats are fantastic, because they hold you tightly in place during hard cornering, yet remain comfortable even after a couple of hours of driving. It helps that lumbar adjustment is standard, and while you do have to pay extra for leather (it’s a £2185 option) the standard cloth seats look so good that I don’t regret leaving this option unticked.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more on our long-term Volkswagen T-Roc R >>

Read about more long-term test cars >>

Also consider