Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback performance
Those who prefer petrol have the most engine options. The 113bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre is expected to be the biggest seller and, thanks to a turbocharger, proves surprisingly punchy. It can more than hold its own on motorways and A-roads and, when you factor in its keen price, we reckon it's the pick of the line-up.
If you fancy a bit more vim and vigour it's worth looking at the 148bhp 1.5-litre engine. It is noticeably quicker than the 1.0-litre and cuts the 0-62mph time down by almost two seconds, but it’s the added mid-range guts than proves more useful. It makes for less stressful overtaking and fewer gearchanges in everyday driving. On which subject, while the 1.0-litre is a six-speed manual only, the 1.5-litre gives you the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox as well.
The flagship 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol comes as standard with the automatic ‘box and four-wheel drive. The former shifts gears quickly and the latter provides added traction in geasy conditions. It's certainly a strong performer but seems rather like overkill when the less powerful engines are so effective. The price hike also makes it too rich for our blood.
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is pricey, too, but it pulls strongly from low revs and, as it comes with standard four-wheel drive as well, we can see the appeal if you regularly tow a caravan.
There’s also a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel, but we’re yet to try it in the T-Roc.
Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback ride
The T-Roc is one of the most comfortable small SUVs on the market. It soaks 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 adding it. We’d also save a few more pounds by avoiding the 18in wheels: they really 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.
Range-topping SEL trim has a system called Driving Profile Selection which lets you alter the weight of the steering and the response of the accelerator. As with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control, it doesn't have a dramatic effect on the way the car behaves so we wouldn’t recommend adding it as an option on the cheaper variants.
Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback refinement
Around town, the 1.0 petrol engine is whisper-quiet, but it gets a bit raspy at high revs if you take it out on faster roads. The 1.5 engine doesn't need to be worked as hard and is generally 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, but its dual-clutch automatic gearbox can prove jerky in slow traffic. The 148bhp diesel is impressively hushed on the motorway and proved quieter than the equivalent Q2 or Countryman in our tests. It gets rather grumbly around town, though. The T-Roc manages to subdue wind and road noise better than those cars as well.