Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0

TSI Design

Volkswagen T-Roc 4Motion, 2017, front
Volkswagen T-Roc 4Motion, 2017, side
Volkswagen T-Roc, 18-plate, front
Volkswagen T-Roc, 1.0 TSI Design, 2017, side
Volkswagen T-Roc, 1.0 TSI Design, 2017, rear
Volkswagen T-Roc, 1.0 TSI Design, 2017, interior
Volkswagen T-Roc, 1.0 TSI Design, 2017, boot
Volkswagen T-Roc, dashboard manual
Volkswagen T-Roc, boot 1

FORGET the oddball name, don't worry about the seemingly absurdly small engine and ignore the fact that VW T-Roc is a late-comer to the SUV party.

What really matters is that this cheeky looking, little upstart is a real gem and if you're in the market for a small crossover, there are few rivals to match its blend of refinement, carrying capacity and driving enjoyment.

Totally out of character with VW's usual staid and conservative approach to styling, the front drive T-Roc is bold, brash and squat and available with a paintbox of different colours.

Its flared wheel arches, distinct body creases and wide, slatted grille help it stand out from the pack. And the surprises continue when you get behind the wheel.

I was sceptical whether the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine would be up to the job but I needn't have worried. With 114bhp to call on the free-revving turbo is eager and sprightly and delights at being pushed.

Performance is more impressive than the 10.2 second dash to 62mph suggests partly because of the crispness of the little unit.

The six-speed gearbox is ultra light offering quick, slick changes. Despite the engine's small capacity, it pulls well in high gear and remains unfussy and refined right up to the rev limit.

Although you sit higher than in the average small saloon, handling and roadholding is less SUV-like and more akin to a sporty hatch. It can be chucked into bends confident that nothing other than a touch of understeer will disturb its posture.

Even over rippled surfaces and badly kept roads, it rides well, smoothing out the bumps and cosseting its occupants.

No doubt the ultra light 1.0-litre engine plays a part in this composure. Neither four wheel drive, nor an automatic gearbox is available with this unit. Big engined versions, however, offer all wheel drive and DSG transmission.

The Design version fits centre of the trim level and includes a huge choice of colours and finishes, twin zone climate control, eight-inch infotainment centre, heated door mirrors that fold and parking sensors front and rear. Sat nav, however, is a £1,130 extra.

The facia is usual VW with a few stylish tweaks, which means generally solid, good quality mouldings. Flashes of colour - turmeric yellow in the review car's case - matching the external paintwork liven up the cabin.

When it comes to interior room, the T-Rock scores well considering its compact footprint.

Passengers sit fairly upright which makes the most of legroom and the boot is surprisingly spacious being capable of holding 445 litres of luggage. Fold the rear seats down and this grows to 1,290 litres.

Drive the T-Roc gently and you'll easily squeeze 48mpg out of it, but if you are tempted - so very easy - to make the most of the cracking little engine and floor your right foot, the average will sink below 40mpg.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI Design

Price: £21,125

Mechanical:114bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 10.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 55.4

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 117g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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