Volkswagen T-Roc Design 1.0 TSI Review.
For – so handsome it’s almost cool, high quality, drives well.
Against – expensive, unlikely mpg claim.
£25,580 (from £18,950)
Don’t you hate it when adverts on TV suck you in and force an emotional reaction?
The Lloyds advert, with all those magnificent black horses running along the sea shore, regularly does it for me. Really annoying when you get misty eyed and realise it’s a bank they’re talking about. And a couple of months back in another TV advert, a lovely little ram called Bam saw off the sheep dog, the farmer and the bull before wilting under the challenge from the Volkswagen T-Roc. That did a number on me too because of Bam’s beauty and personality.
The advert underlined the T-Roc’s good looks and that is saying something as our roads today are full of mainly anonymous plain vanilla SUVs. This particular T-Roc, with its brilliant yellow and black paint job, stands out as a handsome and beautifully-built machine and in this Design iteration has many splendid and eye–catching features including running boards, roof rails and that raked rear end.
When I first saw the specification of the T-Roc I was going to drive – 1 litre, 3-cylinder, 113 hp, 6-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive – I thought this was going to be a tedious week. But the little direct injection petrol turbocharged motor with electric boost was amazing. It had plenty of power for reasonable acceleration. The six speed manual box was a delight. It cruised quietly and strongly on the motorway, and had real torque when required even in high gear. It sounded a bit gruff at slow speeds when accelerating, but what’s wrong with a bit of gruff? The fuel consumption was good. I managed just over 40 mpg, but this compares with VW’s claim of 55.4 mpg. Under the new Real World rules starting soon, this will no longer be good enough. The underlying impression was – who needs diesel?
Eight inch screen
Handling was precise and the T-Roc held flat going through the corners. With 2-wheel drive I didn’t really get it off-road much, although the drone shoot came close. It stalled it bit too easily at low speeds, as though the stop-start function was confused. I like the dash readout showing what gear you are in. With six speed manuals, that is very useful. Inside, the quality was terrific except for some air conditioning controls which seemed dated. The colour coordinated facia was nice. The big, eight-inch screen for media and SatNav was impressive. The boot area was a limited and I could only get my golf bag in sideways with the driver removed. And it is quite small. I parked alongside a Nissan Qashqai and it was much shorter, but nevertheless there was plenty of headroom and space in the rear.
Now for the negative bit. This upmarket version in Design trim costs a whopping £25,580, although prices start at £18,950. And comparing it with my Suzuki Vitara, I reckoned it would cost close to £30,000 to match my four-wheel drive, automatic gearbox and leather trim. The top of the range Vitara retails for about £24,000 now, and takes my golf bag sideways with the driver. The fuel consumption of my 1.4 litre petrol Vitara is about 37 mpg, and given the weight of the T-Roc is 1,270 kg and the Vitara 1,235 kg, that says a lot about the quality of the VW engine designers. Admittedly, the quality of the VW gives it an advantage over the Suzuki, but £6,000 worth?
The T-Roc is available with a choice of 5 engines, petrol and diesel. Top of the range includes a 2 litre 187 hp petrol engine and a 2 litre 148 hp diesel with automatic gearboxes and four-wheel drive. Here you’re talking prices north of £30,000. There’s plenty of computerised technology to keep you safe. The base model is the S, which progresses from SE to Design, SEL and R-Line.
What to buy?
I compared the T-Roc throughout with my Suzuki Vitara, not least because I have to renew it early next year. I can buy it, give it back, or buy/lease something new. At the moment, I’m leaning towards buying another Vitara because it has fulfilled its promises right across the board. It still looks good, although the black metallic paint finish is starting to bore. The only negatives really have been a little turbo lag as you advance on to roundabouts, and the fiddly touch screen controls which I think are positively dangerous. That’s not confined to Suzuki though, and most modern cars are equipped this way. The VW touch-screen was superior, but still was a cause for worry. My Vitara’s performance was way better than this version of the T-Roc. Before I make my choice next February, the smaller VW SUV, the T-Cross might be available. Also there will be the new super-cute Suzuki Jimny. In truth the T-Roc is in the price section above. The probably impossible starting price of £18,950 is really a diversion.
|Volkswagen T-Roc Design 1.0 TSI|
|Engine:||1.0 litre, 3-cylinder petrol|
|Power:||113 hp @ 5,000 rpm|
|Torque:||200 Nm @ 2,000-3,500|
|Acceleration:||0-62 – 0-100 km/h 10.1 seconds|
|Top Speed:||116 mph-190 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 55.4 mpg-5.1 l/km
WintonsWorld road test – 40.3 mpg
|Suspension:||coil springs/gas pressure shocks|
|Warranty:||3 years-60,000 miles|
|Boot capacity:||445/1,290 litres|
|Competition:||Audi Q2, Nissan Juke, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Citroen C3 Aircross, Vauxhall-Opel Mokka X, Ford EcoSport, Mitsubishi ASX, Suzuki Vitara, Fiat 500X, Dacia Duster, SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Ssangyong Tivoli, Toyota CH-R, MG ZS, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona, Mini Countryman|
|Price:||£25,580 (from £18,950)|
|For:||so handsome it’s almost cool, high quality, drives well|
|Against:||expensive, unlikely mpg claim|