Volkswagen T-Roc

R-Line 1.5 TSI EVO

Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, front
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, profile
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, dynamic
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, rear
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, interior rear
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, dashboard
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, boot
Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line, interior

IT was inevitable that Volkswagen would seek to cash in on the lucrative compact SUV market at some stage - the only surprise is that it took them so long.

There has been no shortage of interest since the T-Roc finally hit showrooms at the end of last year though, and almost 130,000 have already been shifted worldwide.

Sitting beneath the established Tiguan and above the forthcoming T-Cross, the T-Roc is a Golf-sized SUV that shares much of its underpinnings with the ubiquitous hatchback.

It is also a key component of Volkswagen's now fully-energised SUV offensive. Twenty percent of the vehicles the brand currently sells globally are in this sector - and bosses expect that to have risen to half by 2025.

So it's no surprise that expectations are high for the T-Roc, with the green light already being given for a ground-breaking cabriolet version to begin production in early 2020.

Until then, though, you can get the standard car in familiar Volkswagen S, SE, Design, SEL and R-Line trims, with decent standard specification throughout.

Power comes from a choice of turbocharged engines: three petrol (TSI) and two diesel (TDI) units, with - depending on engine choice - the option of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes and front or all-wheel drive.

Being a completely new model meant that the German brand's designers were able to be quite adventurous - at least by VW standards - and the T-Roc has a contemporary, eye-catching look.

A relatively low roofline and steeply raked C-pillar create a dynamic feel while the broad bonnet, with distinctive crease lines, wide grille and front air intake add a little muscle.

The typically rugged SUV touches come in the shape of black plastic cladding over the wheel arches and along the sills as well as, on all but entry-level models, fashionable roof rails.

VW also hopes personalisation will be one of the T-Roc's selling points and an expansive range of bright colours, with contrasting roof options, and trim packages are available, especially in Design models.

Range-topping R-Line trim adds sporty visual enhancements inside and out, including 19-inch alloys, a body-coloured roof spoiler, model-specific front and rear bumpers, body-coloured side skirts, sports seats with R-Line branding, aluminium pedals and a flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel.

This version also gets an uprated sports suspension which, paired with the 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine and automatic gearbox, provides a driving experience which is uncomplicated but sufficiently engaging to keep the driver happy.

The response to throttle and steering inputs is prompt and positive, body roll in bends is kept to a minimum, levels of grip are reassuring and the ride stays comfortable and settled for the most part.

With a 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds and top speed of 127mph, this combination should be perky enough for most buyers but also offers decent fuel economy, claiming 51.4 miles per gallon, thanks to the engine's clever cylinder deactivation technology.

Cabin space is impressive up front, with plenty of adjustment for the driver to get comfortable, and rear head and leg room is good too. Four adults are accommodated with ease and five should be happy enough on shorter journeys.

The boot, at 445 litres, is also one of the biggest in class and features various hooks and lashing points to keep your shopping and other items secure.

Standard equipment across the range includes dual-zone climate control, touch-screen multimedia interface, Bluetooth, digital radio and a six-speaker sound system while automatic emergency braking helps keep passengers and pedestrians safe.

R-Line cars also benefit from navigation, cruise control, a customisable driver display and a drive mode selector with eco, normal, sport and individual settings - although it's a little disappointing that a rear view camera, such a useful driver aid, is an option even on this flagship model.

And another issue with the T-Roc is that there's more solid, scratchy plastic in evidence around the interior than you would expect from a Volkswagen, which is a shame and detracts slightly from the overall feel of quality.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line 1.5 TSI EVO

Price: £28,375

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions: 124g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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