New Volkswagen T-Roc Launch Review
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
I will remember 2017 as the year of the SUV. No manufacturer can afford to ignore this fast growing sector as buyers abandon the traditional hatchback in the search of something more versatile.
Volkswagen has been a little slower than most to embrace the sea change, but with a raft of new models in the pipeline this is all about to change.
The all-new T-Roc is now on sale, with prices starting at a competitive £18,950, rising to the giddy heights of £31,485 for those who must have all the toys.
T-Roc is certainly one of the more striking SUV offerings to appear of late, the bold front grill giving the car a certain presence. A selection of bold colours is available for those who wish to cut a dash and there are plenty of other personalisation options on offer too.
Only one body style is available but there is plenty of choice when it comes to engines. Petrol power is likely to be the most popular and three perky variants are available. I’m a great fan of the 115PS three-cylinder 1.0-litre motor - not only does it sound great put it punches above its weight when it comes to performance. Unless you regularly carry a full complement of passengers, it should suit.
Next up is the 150PS 1.5-litre engine – refined, frugal and quick. The petrol range tops out with a 190PS 2.0-litre engine which is mated to Volkswagen’s familiar 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. A seven-speed automatic DSG gearbox is also fitted.
For now, Volkswagen is offering just one diesel engine, a tried and tested 150PS 2.0-litre motor with 4MOTION. A smaller diesel engine will follow in due course.
At the Media Launch event I had the opportunity to sample all the petrol engines and in a world where sometimes less is more, would pick the diminutive 1.0-litre. A little more cog-swapping is required compared with the larger engines, but with a light clutch and slick six-speed gearbox, this is a pleasure not a chore.
The 2.0-litre 4MOTION/DSG combination works well, with the better traction most welcome on a cold, wet December afternoon. The automatic gearbox is super smooth too. However, a heady £31,485 list price before options is likely to deter.
CO2 emissions range from just 117 to 155g/km with combined fuel economy from 41.5 to 56.5mpg depending on the model.
Five trim levels are offered. At present you can order SE, SE L and Design models, with the entry level S model and sporty R-Line models following shortly.
All cars feature climate-controlled air conditioning, alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen controlling the comprehensive media infotainment system.
SE is likely to be the sweet spot in the range, with a smarter exterior and more comfortable interior. Parking sensors and adaptive cruise control are also welcome additions.
Design models allow the buyer a greater sense of personalisation such as contrasting a two-tone roof colour, some exterior chrome bling and a choice of colours for the interior door panels and dash pad.
Top SE L models have standard fit satellite navigation (an £1,130 option elsewhere), LED lighting and front sports seats, amongst others.
The T-Roc’s interior is a good deal more spacious than some, with ample room for four large adults to spread out, five at a push.
The boot is a capacious 445 litres which increases to 1,290 litres with the split-folding rear seats lowered.
4MOTION models lose around 50 litres of boot space with the all-wheel drive hardware.
I must confess that some of the latest crop of SUVs are a little dull to drive.
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Some of the pricier variants offer a facility to alter various driving settings including the ride, but cheaper models seem to offer a good all round balance.
All T-Roc models come with a comprehensive raft of safety equipment, the likes of which used only to grace far more expensive cars. The list is extensive, but suffice to say the good people at Euro NCAP recently awarded the T-Roc a five star safety rating. This is no mean achievement as the tests get harder year on year.
The new T-Roc is a well designed product that looks likely to fight for class honours. Costing very little more than Volkswagen’s Golf but offering a far more flexible interior, I am sure sales will be strong. A 1.0-litre SE model in a bright colour would be my choice, perhaps adding satellite navigation and the warming winter pack.
Prices start at £18,950 OTR
S, SE, Design, SEL and R- Line models
3 petrol and 1 diesel engine currently available
Huge scope for personalisation
All models well equipped
CO2 emissions from 117g/km
Combined economy 41.5 to 56.5mpg
3 year/60,000 mile extendable warranty
5* Euro NCAP safety rating
New Volkswagen T-Roc Launch Review, 3rd January 2018, 15:08 PM