VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC Hatchback performance
You can choose between 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines, and there's a 2.0-litre diesel option, too. Volkswagen expects 80% of British T-Rocs to be petrol-powered.
More specifically, it's the entry-level 114bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine that's expected to be the biggest seller in the UK. The turbocharged three-cylinder unit is surprisingly punchy and can hold its own on motorways and A-roads – we reckon it's the pick of the line-up.
If you want some extra oomph from your petrol T-Roc, it's worth looking at the 148bhp 1.5-litre engine. It is noticeably quicker and more flexible than the 1.0, cutting the 0-62mph time down by almost two seconds. The price hike from the 1.0 to the 1.5 is reasonable, while the difference in claimed fuel economy is surprisingly small.
The flagship 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol is unlikely to sell in big numbers because it's so expensive. It's as strong as you'd hope, but isn't really necessary given how good the other two petrols are.
We’ve also tried the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which pulls from low revs, keeping gearchanges to a minimum. Again, though, it is very pricey.
VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC Hatchback ride
The T-Roc is one of the most comfortable small SUVs on the market, soaking up bumps better than the Audi Q2, Mini Countryman and even Seat Arona, while still keeping its body from bouncing up and down too much along undulating roads. That said, you still feel urban imperfections and expansion joints more than you would in the lower-riding VW Golf.
Add the optional Dynamic Chassis Control and you can also soften or firm up the ride to suit your mood (or the road you're driving down). However, the differences are subtle and the system isn't cheap, so we wouldn’t bother with it. You can also save a few more pounds by avoiding 18in wheels because they don’t do anything for ride comfort, either.
VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC Hatchback handling
You rarely get something for nothing in this world and, sure enough, the price you pay for the T-Roc’s forgiving ride is a little more body roll through corners than in some rivals.
If you’re looking for a sporty-feeling SUV, the Q2 and Arona stay a bit more upright through bends and grip harder, too. However, the T-Roc has precise and sweetly weighted steering so is a pleasant and easy car to drive smoothly.
Go for range-topping SEL trim and you'll get a system called Driving Profile Selection, which lets you alter the weight of the steering and the reponse of the accelerator. This is an option on the cheaper trims. But as with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control, this doesn't have a dramatic effect on the way the car behaves so isn't worth worrying about.
VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC Hatchback refinement
The 1.0 petrol engine is whisper-quiet at low revs around town, but if you take it out on faster roads it gets a bit raspy at high revs. The 1.5 engine doesn't need to be worked as hard, so is unsurprisingly quieter and smoother. It can still be a bit boomy when you're accelerating briskly, though.
The 187bhp petrol engine is always smooth and quiet, while the 148bhp diesel also impresses on the motorway. However, the latter can be rather grumbly around town and becomes downright noisy if you’ve got the optional DSG automatic gearbox and select Sport mode, because this causes the car to hold onto gears for longer and in turn makes the engine work harder. Even so, the diesel proved quieter than the equivalent Q2 and Countryman in our tests. The T-Roc also whips up less wind and road noise than those cars.
The six-speed manual gearbox available on all engines apart from the 2.0 petrol is slick and precise, while the DSG automatic gearbox (standard on the range-topping petrol) is a bit jerky at low speeds.