Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt First drive: Volkswagen T-Roc
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First drive: Volkswagen T-Roc

Date: 27 April 2022   |   Author: Pete Tullin

Volkswagen ushers in a subtle facelift for its hugely successful T-Roc SUV. Could this be one of the more blatant examples of 'if it isn't broke don't fix it'?
Standard equipment:
16in alloys, LED automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors, air conditioning, 8in colour screen, Bluetooth, DAB radio, remote-central-locking, four electric windows, adaptive cruise control, high beam assist, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist.
Petrol: 110hp 1.0, 150hp 1.5, 190hp 2.0, 300hp 2.0
Diesel: 150hp 1.5, 190hp 2.0
Equipment grades:
Life, Style, R-Line, R
Six-speed manual, seven-speed twin clutch automatic

Volkswagen is usually pretty good at getting things right first time, so whenever it releases a new model there is a certain expectation that it will be a class-leading contender right out of the box.

This was certainly the case with the T-Roc when it was launched back in 2017, due to its Golf-derived driving dynamics, classy cabin appointment, punchy powertrains, and sharp
SUV styling. 

Trouble is, when you've pretty much thrown the kitchen sink at it from the outset, there's not a whole lot left in the locker come mid-life facelift time.

Sure, for 2022, VW's designers have revisited their crayoning books and smudged some new bumper profiles along with grille and lighting tweaks, while the bean counters have reluctantly agreed to make a couple of items standard across the range that were previously the preserve of high-specification models, such as the D-shaped LED running lights. Additionally, the tinsel list has been tweaked to include a trio of body styling packs along with the option of three contrasting roof colours.

To be fair, more comprehensive changes lie inside, the most notable being the rejigged dashboard, which now features a sharp-looking digital i-cockpit layout for the main instrumentation and a glossier, centrally mounted touchscreen. To accommodate the screen upgrade, the central air vents have been relocated beneath, instead of either side of the screen, and the large rotary dials, which were previously employed to adjust the cabin temperature, have been binned in favour of touch-sensitive buttons. 

Now, before anyone starts shouting, "here we go again, another assault on basic ergonomics in favour of cost-cutting", the touchscreen in the T-Roc provides super rapid responses along with a reassuring haptic finger ping with every prod. VW has even sacked the bod responsible for rendering so many of its latest model's heater controls unusable at night, by leaving out the neons behind the red and blue icons. With dazzling neon lights ablaze, you'll never be left fumbling around in the dark in the T-Roc.  

There are also some redesigned seats along with a snazzy new steering wheel, complete with a plethora of touch-sensitive buttons allowing myriad operations, including telephone and audio controls, as well as the ability to deactivate those annoying lane-centering
steering interactions. 

As before, there are plenty of places to store your knick-knacks, including a decently sized glovebox and door bins, and several USB ports to charge and sync your mobile devices. Although the T-Roc is 49mm shorter than a Golf it is also 30mm wider, so at 445 litres, boot space is a fair bit more generous than the 380 litres you get in a Golf. 

The engine line-up includes a pair of 2.0-litre motors powered by petrol or diesel, which are also available with four-wheel drive, but the best sellers will be the 110hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 150hp four-cylinder petrol units. 

While the 1.0-litre never feels underpowered - it can actually break front end traction with relative ease if you tow it away from the mark - it does generate a fair bit of harsh vibration when revved hard. Fortunately, because it generates strong mid-range torque and is geared to aid easy drivability, it seldom needs to be overworked. Allied to neatly weighted pedals and a tactile, if slightly elongated gearstick, shifting cogs in the T-Roc is an engaging and pleasurable experience. As is the ride and handling balance, thanks to fluid damping, well-judged body control and fluid steering reactions. 

If anything, our experience of the 1.5-litre car was even more enjoyable, due to its silky, revvy willingness and the sweetly judged manner of its R-Line suspension, feeling for all the world like a spirited junior hot hatch. 

It would have been nice if the powertrain line-up had ushered in some more significant reductions in CO2 but overall, the T-Roc remains an extremely well-rounded motor. As happy doing the mundane everyday stuff as it is flowing down an engaging country road, it's also pretty civilised as well as feeling secure and planted on the motorway. That's how it felt back in 2017, but if it isn't broken...

Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI Style  

P11D: £27,360

Residual value: 48.4%

Depreciation: £14,104

Fuel: £8,758

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,801

Cost per mile: 41.10p

Fuel consumption: 47.1mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 135g/km (32%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £146/£292

Luggage capacity: 445 litres

Engine size/power: 999cc/110hp


  • Strong performance
  • Light and easy to drive
  • Looks and feels classy
  • Incremental improvements in CO2
  • Engine can get harsh with higher revs
  • Spot the difference changes