2023 Volkswagen T-Roc new car review

Small SUVs are all the rage and Volkswagen’s T-Roc is one of the best in the business.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

VALUE

Volkswagen’s compact T-Roc SUV starts at about $42,000 drive-away for the CityLife variant and rises to $45,000 for the Style and $54,000 for the R-Line.

Prices for the Volkswagen Golf-based SUV have jumped in the past month. The CityLife we are testing was priced at $36,990 drive-away when it was added to the range just a few months ago and the Style and R-Line have risen about $3000 after the introduction of more standard equipment.

The CityLife and Style use a familiar 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine matched to an eight-speed auto to drive the front wheels. The R-Line has a more powerful 2.0-litre unit, a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and all-wheel drive.

Buyers wanting more poke can select the red hot T-Roc R priced at $70,000, which uses a 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor to make a heady 221kW and 400Nm.

The T-Roc is a handsome SUV with a svelte silhouette, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting front and back, roof rails and dollops of chrome highlights.

All variants come with an eight-inch central touch screen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a digital driver display that becomes a wide-screen version in the Style and R-Line.

Volkswagen covers its vehicles with a five-year/unlimited km warranty and servicing will set owners back a steep $3091 for five years. If you prepay at time of purchase it drops to $2450.

COMFORT

Step inside and you are greeted by cloth wrapped seats that are manually adjustable with lumbar support. A high seating position gives you a clear view of the road ahead.

Style variants have comfort sports seats wrapped in premium cloth and R-Line versions have Nappa leather upholstery. The latter brings power adjustment for the driver and a heating function for the front pair.

The T-Roc eschews the minimalist interior design of the current Golf for a more conventional layout that features physical, easy to operate climate buttons and steering wheel mounted controls.

The rear seat is spacious for a compact SUV and the boot is large enough to swallow the weekly shop and school bags.

The suspension is well sorted and cushions passengers against bumps and road imperfections. Road noise is acceptable around town.

SAFETY

The CityLife misses out on blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, which are two of the most useful driver aids.

The first will warn you if a vehicle is in your blind spot and the other sounds the alarm if a car is approaching from the side as you reverse.

It does have auto emergency braking that applies the brakes if it detects a potential collision and lane-keep assist that uses an array of sensors to keep you centred in your lane.

Six airbags cover both rows and the T-Roc performed superbly for adult protection in an independent crash test.

DRIVING

On the road the T-Roc shines.

Its thrifty engine makes 110kW and 250Nm, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s delivered low in the rev range making for zippy acceleration.

Sharp and direct steering makes it thrilling to navigate consistent tight turns, while a top-notch suspension tune keeps the T-Roc balanced when asked to change direction quickly.

The addition of an eight-speed auto in favour of a seven-speed dual-clutch found in previous versions is a boon for city drivers.

The eight-speed has slower but smoother gear changes compared to the snappy shifts of the dual-clutch that was often hesitant at lower speeds.

Its compact proportions give you confidence to tackle small parking spots and tight underground spaces.

Fuel use is decent at 6.3L/100km but it does require pricier premium unleaded petrol.

VERDICT

Three stars

The T-Roc is practical and one of the most satisfying small SUVs to drive but recent price rises have made it slightly less compelling.

ALTERNATIVES

Kia Seltos Sport+, priced at $38,490 drive-away

The non turbo engine is unrefined compared to the T-Roc but it comes with a healthy amount of standard equipment and seven year warranty.

Mazda CX-30 Touring, priced about $43,000

Good looking SUV that is packed with safety tech. Not as engaging to drive as the T-Roc.

Toyota Corolla Cross GXL, priced about $42,000

Roomier than the T-Roc and can be had with fuel sipping hybrid power for $2500 more.

VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC CITYLIFE

PRICE About $42,000 drive-away

ENGINE 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 110kW and 250Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $2450 for five years

SAFETY Six airbags, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist and radar cruise control

THIRST 6.3L/100km

SPARE Space saver

LUGGAGE 445-litres

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