2019 Volkswagen T-Roc review – has VW become a small SUV champion? | What Car?

2019 Volkswagen T-Roc review – has VW become a small SUV champion? | What Car?

The Volkswagen Group sells more cars
than any other car maker, has more vehicles in its range than its rivals,
spends more money developing them, but some critics argue that its strength is
also its weakness and too many of its cars are too similar. The T-Roc though,
this small SUV, wants to appeal to your heart as well as your head. So how well
does it stack up against rivals the SEAT Arona, and MINI Countryman? In this review we’ll find out, as well as
what it’s like to drive, how easy it is to live with, and what it’s like on the inside. Remember if this is the car for you,
and you would like to buy it but not haggle, go to What Car? New Car Buying
where we can help save you thousands! First though, let’s see what the T-Roc
is like on the road. Most T-Roc buyers will be choosing between
the two lowest powered petrol engines. With many
of them going for the 1-litre, which is the smallest. Yes, it does sound very small
a 1-litre engine – however – it’s got plenty
of punch, it can hold its own on the motorway and also A-roads, and it’s also
smooth and quiet at all but high revs. We’d recommend it, unless you feel you
really need something with more go. If so, the 1.5-litre petrol is worth a look,
with the step up in price and running costs reasonable. The bigger engines
again, both diesel and petrol, are more fun but much more expensive! So we don’t
recommend them. The six-speed manual gearbox is great but the automatic DSG,
which is standard on the range-topping petrol, is a little bit jerky at slower
speeds. Whichever engine you go for, so
long as you stick to the smallest wheel size the T-Roc is one of the most
comfortable small SUVs you can buy. Soaking up bumps better than rivals,
while still keeping its body from bouncing up and down too much along
undulating roads. That said, the higher ride height does mean that you still
feel bumps more than you would in the lower riding Volkswagen Golf. The
compromise for this is that the T-Roc is not as agile as its rivals.
It leans more in the corners and so, that’s fine for most people, but if it’s
a sporty ride that you’re after you’d be better off with an Audi Q2 or SEAT Arona. You’ll immediately feel at home
inside the T-Roc if you’ve spent time in other Volkswagens, but if you haven’t
don’t worry, because all the buttons are logically laid out so you will quickly
feel at home. How the T-Roc differs to other VW’s, is you can inject various
trim colours here, and there’s a bit of ambient lighting as well to really lift
it, but you still cannot get away from the fact that there is a lot of hard
scratchy plastic and interior quality is on a par with the cheaper SEAT Arona,
which is unfortunate because the Audi Q2 is much more premium inside. If you like a high seating position then the
T-Roc puts you in a higher seating position
than both the Kia Stonic and SEAT Arona however a Nissan Qashqai is still
higher again, and in any event if a Range Rover pulls up alongside you, you will
still feel very small! Now with that seating position and the slim windscreen
pillars forward visibility is excellent. Rear visibility not quite so good, but
great news you get front and rear parking sensors as standard. To operate the infotainment system it is a
little bit fiddly, and you almost have to study
it to really get good at it and hit those buttons on the move, physical
controls are a little bit easier. If you’d like sat-nav it’s a very expensive
option on all but the range-topping SEL, so a cheaper way to do it is to use a
sat-nav in a phone app and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Whatever your shape or size, you are unlikely
to complain about the space inside the
front of the Volkswagen T-Roc because the seats go a really long way back, and
really far forwards! Even too far forwards for my five foot four and a
half, and there’s plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel for reach and rake,
when it comes to storage we’ve got large door bins, two cupholders here,
storage there, something underneath the armrest, and a decent-sized glovebox. It’s a similar story in the back, because
there is plenty of headroom especially if you
don’t opt for the panoramic sunroof, although that only eats into it slightly,
in terms of legroom it is better than a SEAT Arona, however the T-Roc is
slightly wider which means you can fit three children side-by-side in the back
quite comfortably. The boot is both large
and a practical square shape, there’s also some useful tethering points dotted
around, on the downside you can’t move the seats forwards and backwards to
change the balance between rear legroom and luggage space, and there’s also no
option for electric front seats which do hinder the T-Roc’s practicality score. Our advice is to stay at the lower end of
the T-Roc price scale so the 1-litre and 1.5-litre engines are very
reasonably priced, but if you move up the engine scale, or add four-wheel drive, we
reckon you’ll be paying a price that will get you a much better car. Running costs for the T-Roc also look sensible
with the 1-litre version returning over 55 miles per gallon in official tests.
The T-Roc also gets the full 5-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating, and it has
notably higher marks for pedestrian, child, and adult occupant safety. If you’re buying on a PCP finance deal expect
to spend more money per month than the equivalent SEAT Arona or Audi Q2. The
reason for that put simply, the Arona is cheaper and the Audi has the benefit of
an Audi badge to stave off a little bit of that depreciation. However it is not
quite as practical. There are a lot of trim levels to choose from, and our
recommendation is to go for the one just above basic which is SE or the one above
that which is Design. On top of the standard kit which includes dual zone
climate control, bluetooth, a DAB radio, and alloy wheels, both get extras
including adaptive cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors. Design
adds a wider range of personalisation options and styling accessories,
including twin chrome effect exhaust surrounds, contrasting roof and door mirror
colours, and bumpers with a silver metallic underbody protection, it’s at
this point that the claim that this is a Volkswagen with
a difference really starts to ring true. Overall the T-Roc offers a
great package, it’s a smidgen more stylish than
Volkswagens of recent years, only at the expense of interior quality, so the end
verdict is pretty good for Volkswagen. It’s a car that’s easy to like, and if
you spec it well we’d certainly recommend it. For plenty more on the T-Roc
including our full online review, head to WhatCar.com and if you’re
thinking about buying one go to our New Car Buying section where we can help
save you thousands, but before you do any of that hit subscribe and never miss
another video!

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. VW seems to be saving money by putting in more hard plastic everywhere on their new models like TROC and Polo. I might get the current Golf before that goes down the same path. Great review though. Thanks.

  2. Just don’t understand the low rent interior trim. It’s bizarre for a VW. I was at the dealer recently waiting for my Passat to be serviced and sat in one of these, and a mid-spec Polo which blew theT-Roc’s interior away. It’s a shame as it’s an otherwise good car. I asked the dealer about the interior and he suggested this sort of hard plastic was going to see a resurgence in an effort to keep costs down.

  3. Such a disappointment interior quality wise. Video would benefit from less mention of the Arona all the time, there are other cars in the segment you know.

  4. I had the T-Roc SEL with 1.5 evo but swap it after three months for a new VW Tiguan SE Nav. The 1.5 evo engine was awful. At low speeds (under 20 mph) and at around 1500 revs I experienced engine juddering similar to engine misfire. Despite several attempts the VW retailer couldn't cure the problem. Hence the VW retailer agreed to a car swap at no extra cost to me. Cylinder deactivation, although meant to improve fuel economy, is not a good idea for a low capacity turbo engine. A turbo is added in low capacity engines to increase power output but de-activating two cylinders would reduce power output by half. So having two contrary technologies on a low capacity cylinder engine does not make sense particularly when running at low urban speeds. Cylinder de-activation techology was originally conceived in the 1980s to improve fuel economy for 8 cylinder 4 litre engines cruising at motorway speeds. So my advice based on experience is avoid the 1.5 evo engine model. I also found this engine rough and unrefined.

  5. So nice to see and hear Rebecca again. I would ask you to test the Jetta, but the US version is completely different from the version you get in Europe.

  6. Awful and boring at the same time. That interior is cheap and nasty and they have the cheek to charge what they do for this

  7. Miserable interior quality and equipment, compared to its siblings from Skoda and Seat, as it's supposed to be most "posh" from three of them. Don't see many of these selling, unless the buyers order them online without first sitting in one.

  8. I'd dare say this is more a car fit for people in their 20s-30s single or couples only. It drives great, but the trunk isnt huge. If you live in snowy continent, its one of the cheaper 4wd options out there if you're looking to buy new. It's not supposed to be a luxury car, but short of the interior it got pretty much everything you would have ever wanted. If you have a fetish for soft touch material, it's not for you. All in all the car is great on the road and if you compare it against the xc40 2.0l it's pretty much 10k euro difference for soft touch materials with the same engine, 4wd and the same equipment. (give and take a few)
    People are way to hung up on the interior.

  9. Just had my Golf serviced at my local VW dealer and while there had a look at the T ROC.The price and the interior killed any thoughts of having a test drive.He said if specced with a DSG box it was as expensive as a Tiguan.

  10. This or the Q2 ? im a VW fan but it would be the Q2 for me. why? I hate cheap feel hard plastic interiors. I just would not be able to live with it knowing the interior in the Q2 was available.

  11. Why VW never go for look.The car looks dull and normal.No changes of the design.No sporty look and no attraction.Like an old lady.No challenge at all for Toyota,Honda and Mitsubitshi.Come on VW,must have look and class.

  12. Drove the T-ROC 1.5L 150ps and found it a marvellous car to drive . It is a pity VW did not make the extra effort to "soft touch" the dash . The 1.0L , 115ps I think should be more than adequate and what one saves on the engine could go into the spec , panoramic roof etc . I suppose for the plusher interior the Audi Q2 would be the default buy though more expensive . Rebecca would look great extolling the virtues of a Lada Neva !!

  13. Lovely, gorgeous, delightful, talented, entertaining and informative – the opposite of Shmee150; the blight of car channels, who, in contrast, is ugly, odious, arrogant, lisping and boring.

  14. was considering purchasing one of these but the interior has put me off soo much, cheap plastic looked horrible in the video and it was a 18 plate imagine it after a few years, the interior going to have war scars. despite the interior i think it has alot of potential. very attractive car.

  15. Really cant get it… if I'm looking for a sporty feel (which I do) I'll never buy a bloody SUV – for T-Rock money I can (roughly said) take Golf which is more car in any possible way! People are idiots to buy this SUB shits!

  16. It’s a good size, nice curves, easy to get in the rear, not too big up front, probably goes quite fast if you really go for it, a head turner to, others will look at you go past and think how lucky you are to have it……the cars not bad either.

  17. Certainly looks gorgeous car . Smallest SUV from VW.
    Good looking .large enough, has enough space in rear seat , very safe, yet cheaper than many VW SUvs .

  18. Sounds like they gave you one for free. Basically it a good car but totally overpriced.. Every little upgrade costs a fortune

  19. It would be really practical if it was not for the sloping bottom.
    The rear is almost smaller usable size than a golf. And this is a problem on almost all of this class.
    The boot is just too small for the size of this car.

  20. it's one of the most worst and ugly cars i have ever seen . The vauxhall agila is better., Better fuel economy and more space and it look better. The center console is a leg restriction. I would have been better if the gear stick was part of the dash. Or better make it an automatic. The T-roc is a an awful plastic crap car. we are in the 21st century not the 80's. Stick with making Vans.

  21. Nice car let down by Ford like interior quality VW could learn a lot from skoda in that respect ive got one can't fault it for build quality inside and out nice badge too.

  22. Makes more sense to get a Dacia Duster and save thousands £££ but no-one will do that because they need to be seen in a car with a fancy badge. Guess what? Hitler created Volkswagen to make cars for everyone (the clue is in the name), look how that turned out…

  23. Which cars do you recommend when you say "if you move up the engine scale or add 4WD, we reccon you'll be paying a price which you would get a MUCH better car"? Thank you! (Great review btw!)

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