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First Drive

First Drive: Volkswagen T-Roc

VW T-Roc 1.5 TSI Evo 150hp Design
The story: Volkswagen’s T-Roc crossover slots into a gap between the Tiguan SUV and a new small crossover model called T-cross, and is aimed at more directly taking on the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, though it’s compact enough to straddle the crossover and small crossover classes.
Key rival:Mini Countryman
On sale:Now

The Volkswagen T-Roc drops into a new niche for the brand, slotting into the crossover segment that VW has never really attacked before.

It has the Tiguan SUV, but that sits above the regular Nissan Qashqai-dominated sector.

The T-Roc is described by VW as “stylish and sporty”, which holds true in the metal, making the car one of the more interesting designs in the VW stable thanks to the coupe-like profile and neat, compact dimensions.Volkswagen T-Roc - 2018 - Image 3It’s also out of kilter with the crossover segment, being 160mm shorter than a Qashqai and more than 210mm behind a Peugeot 3008, although its measurements do roughly tally with those of the Mini Countryman, the other premium/mainstream crossover model.

Petrol options run from the 115hp 1.0 to the 150hp 1.5 and 190hp 2.0, while 4Motion four-wheel drive is available on the top petrol engine. Up to 80% of purchases will be petrol, partly driven by the fact that for the first six months of sale the only diesel is the 150hp 4Motion in top SEL spec. More unconfirmed engines and trim levels will be added in June – likely to include a 115hp 1.6 diesel – and later in the year, including two-wheel drive and DSG automatic diesels.Volkswagen T-Roc - 2018 - Image 2Volkswagen reckons that, of the five trim levels, up to 40% of cars will be sold in the SE trim that’s one up from the entry S level. The company also predicts that the car will quickly join the Golf and Polo in what it calls the “top tier” of models from a sales perspective.

The T-Roc handles nicely, is stylish inside and out and is well-priced, if you compare it against slightly larger and more practical crossovers such as the Qashqai and 3008.

paul barker

The verdict

The likeable T-Roc could become a stand-out model in VW’s line-up