In-depth reviews

Volkswagen T-Roc SUV review

"The Volkswagen T-Roc looks good, drives well and offers plenty of space, but it's pricey and some rivals have a nicer interior"

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£28,180 - £45,320

Pros

  • Easy to personalise
  • Good to drive
  • Practical

Cons

  • Rivals offer better value
  • Interior quality issues
  • No hybrid

If you’re after a Volkswagen SUV but the T-Cross and Taigo are too small and a Tiguan is too big, you’re in luck - the Volkswagen T-Roc is right in the middle. It shares a lot of tech and engineering with the excellent VW Golf, but with a stylish SUV body. It’s proved a popular recipe, too – Volkswagen has sold more than a million since its launch, giving it a mid-life update in 2022.

Direct rivals to the T-Roc include the Audi Q2, BMW X2 and Mercedes GLA, but you could also consider models like the Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR and Mazda CX-30 as alternatives – all are attempting to grab the attention of buyers who want the practicality and low running costs of a family hatchback, but looks of a small SUV.

The best small SUVs hero imageTop 10 best small SUVs 2024

To stand out from the crowd, each of these small SUVs has a distinctive look and the T-Roc is no exception. It features large LED daytime running lights, plus plastic cladding over the wheel arches and around the door sills to give it a more rugged look. There's a wide range of paint options, plus you can also add a contrasting roof.

Volkswagen gave the T-Roc a facelift in 2022, but only eagle-eyed drivers are likely to spot the changes. The headlamps now use LED technology as standard, and selected models get an illuminated stripe across the grille. A silver bumper element gives a tougher look, while the rear light signature has been tweaked, the lenses are darker and the rear indicators now have a scrolling animation when activated.

Inside, a bigger ‘floating’ touchscreen is the most obvious change, while the climate control panel is also new (but more fiddly than before). Elsewhere, there are higher quality materials to help distinguish the Volkswagen from its rivals, including in-house competition from the likes of Skoda.

There are plenty of engines to choose from in the T-Roc, starting with the 109bhp 1.0-litre TSI petrol. This model will offer enough performance for most urban drivers and should be economical, but there’s always the option of the 1.5-litre TSI with 148bhp or even the 187bhp 2.0-litre TSI model. This model has 4MOTION four-wheel drive and seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox and comes in high-spec trim levels only. There’s also the T-Roc R (reviewed separately), a range-topping, high-performance version for keen drivers, and even a T-Roc Cabriolet convertible if you must.

While the T-Roc feels well-suited to petrol power, there are some diesel options that are ideal for long-distance driving. The range starts with the 2.0-litre TDI making 113bhp, though there’s a 148bhp version of this engine as well. Buyers after any sort of hybrid power or electrification will have to look elsewhere, at rivals such as the Kia Niro.

Trim levels consist of Life, Style and R-Line, which replace the old line-up of S, SE, Active, Design, SEL and R-Line. The new simplified range makes it easier to choose the T-Roc that’s right for you, although the discontinuation of the more basic trim levels has pushed the starting price up.

Considering it’s the new entry-level model, Life trim brings an awful lot of standard features. These include wireless phone connectivity, a ‘basic’ version of VW’s digital instrument cluster, two-zone climate control, parking assistance and high-beam assist. Style adds upgraded headlights and that illuminated grille, plus bigger digital dials, sat nav and tinted windows. R-Line gets a sporty visual makeover and heated front seats.

The T-Roc's greatest attraction has to be the way it drives. It's built on the same MQB platform as the Volkswagen Golf and models from other brands within the VW Group, and therefore feels very un-SUV-like to drive, with a good balance between comfort, responsive steering and acceleration. Even the entry-level 1.0-litre TSI petrol is a pleasure to drive, which begs the question as to whether many will feel the thirsty range-topping 2.0-litre petrol is necessary.

Any T-Roc makes a genuinely enjoyable family car that isn't averse to a little adventure, while a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating proves that it has the strength its stocky looks suggest. Our pick is the 1.0-litre TSI petrol with a manual gearbox in Life trim; it offers a great blend of performance, low running costs and decent equipment, which makes it good value too.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,230

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 TSI Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,230

Fastest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,230

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

Recommended

MG ZS review - a wallet-friendly SUV
MG ZS SUV
In-depth reviews
23 Feb 2024

MG ZS review - a wallet-friendly SUV

Dacia Duster review – a great-value SUV that owners love
Dacia Duster SUV
In-depth reviews
20 Feb 2024

Dacia Duster review – a great-value SUV that owners love

Volvo EX40 replaces the XC40 Recharge, new Black Edition trim arrives
Volvo EX40 charging
News
20 Feb 2024

Volvo EX40 replaces the XC40 Recharge, new Black Edition trim arrives

Skoda Kamiq review - a practical, well-equipped small SUV
Skoda Kamiq facelift
In-depth reviews
19 Feb 2024

Skoda Kamiq review - a practical, well-equipped small SUV

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
23 Feb 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
octavia vrs hot deal
Deals
19 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula
Volkswagen Tiguan drive
In-depth reviews
21 Feb 2024

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula

More on T-Roc

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars 2024
The UK's best-selling cars hero
Best cars
7 Feb 2024

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars 2024

With 2024 well under way and January’s car sales figures now released, we list the top 10 best-selling cars of the year so far
Top 10 best tow cars 2024
Best tow cars
Best cars
31 Jan 2024

Top 10 best tow cars 2024

Choosing the best tow car can be tricky, so we’ve selected a range of our favourite cars with excellent towing credentials
Top 10 most reliable cars 2024
The most reliable cars header
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 most reliable cars 2024

We detail the 10 most reliable cars according to our Driver Power data, so read on to find out which models you can depend on most
Top 9 most reliable family cars 2023
Most reliable family car
Best cars
24 Aug 2023

Top 9 most reliable family cars 2023

These are the most reliable family cars according to our latest Driver Power survey
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet
In-depth reviews
24 Aug 2022

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

“The Volkswagen T-Roc Cabrio is heavier, less economical and more expensive than the standard T-Roc”
New facelifted Volkswagen T-Roc range starts from £25,000
2022 Volkswagen T-Roc facelift
News
3 Mar 2022

New facelifted Volkswagen T-Roc range starts from £25,000

The updated 2022 Volkswagen T-Roc SUV features refreshed styling and the latest tech
Volkswagen T-Roc SE review
Volkswagen T-Roc SE
News
1 Sep 2020

Volkswagen T-Roc SE review

The VW T-Roc SE is a good-value trim level that is well equipped for the price
Volkswagen Polo, T-Cross and T-Roc United editions launched
Volkswagen T-Roc, Polo and T-Cross United editions
News
24 Jul 2020

Volkswagen Polo, T-Cross and T-Roc United editions launched

New VW United models add extra equipment and value for money
Volkswagen T-Roc Black Edition launched
News
22 May 2020

Volkswagen T-Roc Black Edition launched

New Black Edition trim level for T-Roc SUV slots in above SE spec
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet: prices, specs, release date
News
31 Jan 2020

2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet: prices, specs, release date

Convertible VW T-Roc SUV can be ordered now, from £26,750
Volkswagen T-Roc R SUV
In-depth reviews
20 Jan 2020

Volkswagen T-Roc R SUV

"The Volkswagen T-Roc R is a sensible SUV with the performance and handling of a rapid hot hatchback"
Prices released for range-topping Volkswagen T-Roc R
Volkswagen T-Roc R Geneva front quarter
News
11 Sep 2019

Prices released for range-topping Volkswagen T-Roc R

Hot 296bhp VW T-Roc R SUV is available to order now from £38,450
Volkswagen T-Cross now available with diesel engine
News
10 Jun 2019

Volkswagen T-Cross now available with diesel engine

VW’s entry-level SUV range gets a new diesel model starting from £21,240
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet spotted on test
News
8 Oct 2018

2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet spotted on test

Convertible VW T-Roc SUV set arrive in 2020
Volkswagen T-Roc gets new diesel engine
News
3 Aug 2018

Volkswagen T-Roc gets new diesel engine

The new 1.6-litre diesel VW T-Roc SUV starts at £21,290 and is on sale now
Volkswagen promises ‘extreme’ R models
News
25 Apr 2018

Volkswagen promises ‘extreme’ R models

A 400bhp Volkswagen Golf R and hardcore electric models for bolstered R brand
T-Roc and Tiguan Allspace R-Line details announced
News
5 Apr 2018

T-Roc and Tiguan Allspace R-Line details announced

Full details and pricing for the top R-Line versions of the Volkswagen T-Roc and Tiguan Allspace SUVs have been revealed

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024