VW T-Roc 1.0 TSI Design (2018) review | CAR Magazine

VW T-Roc 1.0 TSI Design (2018) review: A future bestseller?

Published: 26 December 2017 Updated: 26 December 2017
VW T-Roc review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
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  • 4 out of 5

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches

New T-Roc with entry-level petrol
In middle Design trim with manual ’box
Expected to be UK’s bestseller

In October 2017, we had our first taste of VW’s new T-Roc SUV and we saw that it was good. Well… sort of – it felt like a strong package of looks, practicality and tech but the two high-end engines we drove didn’t inject us with much enthusiasm. 

Now, though, the T-Roc has made it to our shores. Volkswagen predicts that the bestselling T-Roc engine configuration will be the 113bhp 1.0-litre TSI with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox in the UK.

SE will be the bestselling trim, expecting to hoover up around 40% of sales but we’ve stepped one higher to Design for that funky two-tone paint finish. 

Remind me what exactly the VW T-Roc is again…

It’s one of the slew of new SUVs being launched by Wolfsburg that started late 2016 with the reveal of the second-generation Tiguan. 

The T-Roc is effectively a VW-badged Audi Q2 and it’s designed to be a Golf-sized SUV that sits below said Tiguan but above the upcoming T-Cross – VW’s version of the Seat Arona. Still with us?

How is this T-Roc different? 

It’s at the other end of the mechanical scale compared to the versions we first drove in Europe. 

The 1.0-litre TSI with 114bhp is the cheapest and least powerful engine you can get, reaching 62mph in a smidge over 10 seconds and there’s no heavy 4Motion all-wheel drive or DSG automatic gearbox here. It’s about as mechanically basic as you can get.

Is that a good thing?

Absolutely. For a kick-off it’s 225kg lighter than the all-guns-blazing petrol one we drove last time, which does wonders for the handling. The T-Roc is still no ‘SUV GTI’ like the press bumf suggests it is, but it feels much sprightlier from behind the wheel. Turn-in is livelier and there’s plenty of grip even in wintery conditions. The Design trim’s 17-inch wheels with generous tyre sidewalls improve the ride from bearable to pliant, too.

All of the controls are light, and there’s little in the way of driver engagement, but it’s incredibly easy to drive, which will make plenty of potential buyers happy.

The TSI engine is a peach; 114bhp doesn’t sound like a huge amount in a crossover but it’s just right. It’s a perfectly suitable engine for those who will be using it to potter around town or the suburban landscape.

Does it still have the colourful interior?

It does indeed. You’re still privy to a couple of different seat trims on SE but if you want maximum colour choice, the Design trim we have here gives you the whole suite of personalisation options like our chicken korma yellow finish. 

Design trim has kit like two-zone climate control, an eight-inch infotainment system, adaptive cruise, all-round parking sensors and electrically heated and foldable door mirrors with puddle lights. You have to pay extra for Discover navigation (£1,130) and LED headlights with the unique squircle DRLs (£880), mind.

The biggest let down inside is the material quality. Thankfully the switchgear is standard VW fare (i.e.: solid) but the actual dashboard panels, door inlays and handles are hollower than Homer Simpson’s skull. 

Thankfully the T-Roc is a practical beast. Interior space is plentiful for this class of car, with room for lanky folk in the back and a larger boot than the Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman.


Interested in a T-Roc? Get this one. It’s a much more convincing package in this specification than the higher-performance cars we initially tested in Portugal. 

It makes more commercial sense in this spec, too; the baby TSI is a peach and while it’s still pretty inert to drive it feels eminently more chuckable. Still can’t quite get over the interior quality, though… yeesh


Price when new: £20,310
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 999cc 3cyl petrol, 114bhp @ 5000rpm, 148lb ft @ 2000-3500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 10.1sec 0-62mph, 116mph, 55.4mpg, 117g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1270kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4234/1992/1573mm

Photo Gallery

  • VW T-Roc review
  • Is this T-Roc a future bestseller?
  • The 1.0-litre TSI engine is a peach
  • T-Roc detail
  • T-Roc infotainment close-up
  • T-Roc interior shot
  • The VW T-Roc has a good amount of boot space
  • T-Roc badge detail

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches