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Volkswagen T-Roc Review

8 / 10
3 November 2023

The Volkswagen T-Roc is a posh-feeling small SUV that has roomy rear seats, modern technology and a spacious boot

What we like:
  • Roomier rear seats than rivals
  • Impressive infotainment
  • Efficient range of engines
What we don't like:
  • More expensive than alternatives
  • Pre-facelift versions have plasticky dashboard
  • Dull colour options

Should I buy a Volkswagen T-Roc?

Small SUVs are hugely popular right now, and the Volkswagen T-Roc aims to be the best all-rounder on the market – and it does just that. It’s stylish, practical, drives well and has all the infotainment technology you really need. It couples all that with more back-seat space than most of its rivals, so tall adults won’t be digging their kneecaps into the driver’s seat unless they’re taller than 6’3”. 

In short, it’s a do-it-all winner of a small SUV that won’t leave you wanting. If you do need a physically larger car with more boot space, then you can step up to the more expensive Volkswagen Tiguan or, for a bit more style, consider the more expensive Audi Q2. If driving pleasure is top of your shopping list, you’ll be better off in the similarly sized Ford Puma, but be prepared to sacrifice rear-seat space. Remember that the T-Roc is also offered as a convertible, making it one of the only convertible SUVs ever made – they’re rare, but an enjoyable oddity.

Interior and Technology

It’s worth noting that the Volkswagen T-Roc came out in 2017 and received a pretty extensive update (or facelift) in 2022. The pre-facelift model’s dashboard felt pretty un-Volkswagen, with hard plastics that aren’t what you’d expect from a premium brand. The facelift T-Roc gained soft-touch plastics and a dashboard redesign that really does feel a lot more pleasant – you’d have to stretch to a more expensive Audi Q2 to top the Volkswagen’s look and feel in a small SUV.

Whichever age of T-Roc you pick, you’ll get a sharp infotainment screen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for mirroring your smartphone apps. All facelift cars will get a digital dashboard as well, which shows you all your driving data, navigation maps and music playlists. It’s a really useful addition and modernises the cabin immensely.


Often small SUVs sacrifice rear seat space, but Volkswagen’s managed to create almost Tardis-like levels of room for your back passengers. Even our 6’3” test subject managed to sit comfortably behind his own driving position with kneeroom and headroom to spare. Things naturally become a squeeze if you’re trying to fit three people side-by-side, but that’s common to all small SUVs.

The T-Roc punches above its size when it comes to boot space too, with 445 litres of space in two-wheel-drive models, and 392 litres if you pick a ‘4Motion’ four-wheel-drive T-Roc. It’s noticeably larger than the 380-litre space in the Volkswagen Golf, and it’s also bigger than the more expensive Audi Q2’s boot. The T-Roc’s load space is nice and square, and can swallow buggies and luggage with no bother.

Engines and performance

Don’t be put off by the T-Roc’s entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine with 110hp – it’s a turbocharged engine and can actually punt the T-Roc along just fine, even at motorway speeds. For a slightly more relaxed drive pick the 1.5-litre petrol, or a 2.0-litre diesel if you mostly do long trips or prioritise fuel economy. There’s no bad choice, and you’ll find automatic gearboxes available with most engines. You’re out of luck if you want a hybrid or full-electric T-Roc though, in which case try a Peugeot e-2008 or Hyundai Kona.

Driving and comfort

Despite being one of the babies of the Volkswagen SUV range, the T-Roc drives like a proper grown-up car, with very little wind or road noise at motorway speeds, and a sense of stability that you might not expect. Heck, the T-Roc’s even kind of fun to drive down a twisty road, with very little body roll and plenty of grip. A Ford Puma will put even more of a smile on your face but it isn’t as refined at motorway speeds as the VW.

You can expect a comfortable ride from the T-Roc too – it irons out most bumps pretty well. Again, Volkswagen feels as if it’s ticked all the right boxes with this car.

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