What's the used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback like?
Sorry to break the news to you, but the Volkswagen T-Roc isn't named after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Instead, its name relates to VW wanting to rock the segment.
Unsurprisingly, with this being such a competitive class, the T-Roc has faced stiff competition since its 2018 launch from rivals such as the Hyundai Kona, Seat Arona and Toyota C-HR. However, its blend of practicality, refinement and comfort has always made the T-Roc one of our very favourite cars in this class. And since it's now been around a while, many used buyers are enjoying its capability as well.
There are three petrol engines and one 2.0-litre diesel unit to choose from, for starters. The entry-level 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol has a useful 114bhp and makes relatively easy work of motivating the T-Roc. This was updated in later cars to 109bhp and became the TSI 110. If you regularly drive five up, there's the 148bhp 1.5-litre turbo petrol for not much more money. There's also a 2.0-litre TSI 190 petrol and a 113bhp 2.0 TDI 115 and 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150 diesel.
Need four-wheel drive? Go for a top-of-the-range 2.0-litre TSI 190 petrol or 2.0 TDI 150 diesel engine. There's also the 296bhp T-Roc R – that's the quickest, sportiest version of the lot.
Equipment that's fitted on earlier cars as standard from entry-level S trim includes dual-zone climate control, electric windows, electric door mirrors, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror, automatic lights and wipers and 16in alloy wheels. But we'd advise at least going for SE trim, because it adds, among other things, adaptive cruise control, 17in alloy wheels, a front armrest, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, power-folding door mirrors, plus the front and rear parking sensors and upgraded infotainment features we mentioned earlier.
However, the best trim is Design; it's not a great deal pricier but brings a wider range of personalisation options and styling add-ons, including twin chrome-effect trapezoid-exhaust surrounds and contrasting roof and door mirror colours (those tweaks tend to help bolster resale values), as well as privacy glass and interior ambient lighting.
SEL models get 18in alloys, LED headlights, an uprated infotainment system with sat-nav and the Active Info Display screen that replaces traditional dials. The United model comes with 17in alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, ’UNITED’ badging and a matching welcome light. The Black Edition trim merely adds a number of black styling pieces, including a darkened finish to the wheels, front grille, window surrounds, side skirts and door mirror surrounds. It also gets black exhaust tailpipes, LED headlights, daytime running lights and grey contrast stitching throughout the interior. R-Line brings a much sportier look, with lowered suspension, 19in alloy wheels, unique badging and a body kit. There’s also heated front sports seats and heated washer jets.
Trims were tweaked in a 2022 mid-life update. Life comes with plenty of standard gear. As standard, it includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic wipers, two-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, 16in alloy wheels, digital dials, adjustable lumbar support and more. Style trim is the next step on the T-Roc ladder and adds bigger wheels, upgraded seats, a larger 10.25in digital driver display, the larger infotainment screen and built-in sat-nav. Top-spec R-Line adds sports suspension, switchable driving profiles, sportier styling and heated front seats into the mix.
The T-Roc is good to drive, with light but progressively weighted steering and a comfortable ride that soaks up the worst of our potholed roads. The gearbox is nice and slick, and helps you make the most of the performance available in some of the smaller engines. The car grips well in corners, too.
Space is good in a T-Roc, although five is a bit of a squeeze due to a small middle perch and a transmission tunnel that gets in the way in the rear. The boot is big, though, and can take plenty of holiday suitcases. However, T-Rocs with four-wheel drive have smaller boots than ones without because the floor has to be raised to accommodate all the extra mechanical gubbins below.
The dashboard on early T-Rocs is a bit of a disappointment because there is not one piece of soft-touch plastic anywhere. This is a bit of a shock, since most of the T-Roc’s rivals manage to provide even just a sliver of yielding plastic.
Thankfully, that update in 2022 improved interior quality, adding soft-touch materials on top of the dashboard and bright plastic trim finishers on the fascia. There are still some scratchy plastics but they’re hidden slightly better than before.
There is plenty of equipment, though. Every T-Roc has an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, 16in alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assistance.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback?
Lumbar support isn’t standard on the T-Roc, but from April 2018 it became an inexpensive extra from SE spec upwards. Try looking for a car that has this because it will be much more comfortable than one without it.
Also, check that the alloy wheels are in good condition and don’t have any damage, because some models come with 19in wheels that could be susceptible to the odd kerb. The interior plastics are all hard and scratchy and might not stand up to family life as well as the interiors of other Volkswagen Group cars.
What are the most common problems with a used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback?
Some examples have been subjected to recalls.
The owner’s manual originally supplied with the car misses out on important pages about the passenger protection system, airbags and children trapsort safety. A supplement should be included in the manuals of T-Rocs produced between 1 November 2017 and 31 January 2018.
On affected vehicles, engine compartment covers were fitted that regardless of use (very sporty driving style or poor road condition) and operating period could come loose from their attachment.
Is a used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback reliable?
The T-Roc finished 14th out of 22 cars in the small SUV class in our most recent reliability survey. VW as a brand finished in 22nd place out of 32 manufacturers in the same survey.
What used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback will I get for my budget?
Prices for a Volkswagen T-Roc start at around £14,000 for a 2018 1.0-litre Design, S or SE version. Spend between £16,000 and £18,000 on higher-specced versions or 2019/2020 cars.
Examples from 2022 nudge and often exceed £20,000 and it's a similar story with 2023 models and £25,000. You'll need that kind of money if you want a T-Roc R (of any year).
Check the value of a used T-Roc with What Car? Valuations
How much does it cost to run a Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback?
The T-Roc is a Polo-sized small SUV, so fuel economy is decent. The entry-level 1.0 petrol has the best fuel economy of the petrol range, with an average figure of 55.4mpg. The more powerful 1.5 TSI is nearly as good at 53.3mpg (51.4mpg for the automatic version), thanks to cylinder deactivation technology that shuts down two cylinders on a light accelerator to conserve fuel. The most expensive petrol to run is, unsurprisingly, the 2.0 because it has an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive – it only manages 41.5mpg.
The 2.0 diesel can also be had with four-wheel drive and it has the best overall fuel economy figure of 56.5mpg.
All versions will set you back £180 per year under the current system for road tax.
Servicing costs, meanwhile, tend to be slightly lower than you’ll pay for a Ford or Vauxhall, and insurance groups for all models aside from the 2.0 petrol are relatively low, thanks to the standard automatic emergency braking system.
Which used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback should I buy?
Of the various engines on offer, we’d suggest you go for the 114bhp 1.0 petrol because it’s a nice flexible engine that’s quiet on a cruise and offers good fuel economy. In later models, this became the 109bhp TSI 110. The 2.0 diesel may be a good one to go for if you really must have four-wheel drive, but there aren’t that many on the used market and it can be expensive.
While all T-Rocs come well equipped, the Design model on the earlier cars includes all the niceties of SE but stands out with more distinctive exterior styling, a driver alert system and ambient interior lighting. In later cars, Life would be our choice.
Our favourite Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI 115 Design
What alternatives should I consider to a used Volkswagen T-Roc hatchback?
The Toyota C-HR may not be the most practical small SUV, but it does drive rather well and you can even find it in hybrid form – a rarity in this market. It also comes with Toyota’s famed reputation for reliability that should mean you’ll enjoy years of trouble-free motoring.
If you are looking for something cheaper, the Seat Arona offers you the vast majority of what the T-Roc can (it is, after all, built on the same platform and shares a number of engines) but for less money.
Want to go for something a bit quirky? Well, the Hyundai Kona looks very striking on the outside. On the inside, you’ll find plenty of equipment and an easy-to-use infotainment system. The 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine offers decent performance and, like the Volkswagen T-Roc, four-wheel drive is an option on top-spec models.
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