Volkswagen T-Roc 2021 review

The T-Roc is a mid-size Volkswagen crossover that offers a similar footprint to the Golf hatchback

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Out of 5


  • Stylish design
  • Good to drive
  • Plenty of standard kit


  • Interior quality not up to VW standards
  • Expensive in top trims
  • No electrified versions
Model Review

Like just about every mainstream car maker, SUVs have become an instrumental part of Volkswagen’s range with these models now proving just as popular as the brand’s traditional best-sellers like the Polo and Passat. 

With VW having huge success with its Tiguan, it decided to introduce a smaller SUV to the range. This model was the T-Roc – a more compact crossover that featured the same underpinnings as the Golf and brought a far bolder design than what was typically expected from this German brand.

Bringing a range of personalisation, modern interior technology and a raft of driver assistance features, it has unsurprisingly gone on to be a big hit and is now one of the brand’s best-selling cars.

Latest model

Since the T-Roc’s arrival, Volkswagen has only made light revisions to the model, with no facelifted version yet to arrive. Key additions included new sportier-looking Design and R-Line grades being introduced, while Volkswagen also launched a sporty T-Roc R. This features exactly the same powertrain as the renowned Golf R. 

In a more left-field move, Volkswagen launched a Cabriolet version of the T-Roc in 2020 – something that was teased a few years earlier, but many were unsure as to whether it would materialise. It remains the only convertible SUV on the market today. Also in 2020 there would be the addition of new United and Black Edition trim levels to expand the line-up further.

Value for money

 With Volkswagen being positioned as a more premium brand, prices for the T-Roc might seem a bit steeper than some of its competitors. The range kicks off from £21,795 for the entry-level S model, though the spec isn’t particularly generous. Instead, we’d recommend upgrading to the SE, costing from £23,735, which brings adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control. It’s worth sticking to a lower-spec version where possible as the higher trim levels are quite expensive, costing into the £30,000s. 

Used prices are remaining quite firm, too, with a three-year-old car with 30,000 miles on the clock still easily worth £16,000. Though you can expect to save a few thousand pounds by choosing a nearly-new model, discounts won’t be as great as some of the T-Roc’s competitors.

Looks and image

Volkswagen isn’t a brand known for its style and personalisation, but all that changed with the T-Roc, with a range of funkier styling options available – including even having the wheels painted to match the car. For looks, it’s worth choosing higher-spec versions, too, which feature cool cues like large circular LED indicators and sportier looks. The T-Roc also looks more convincingly like an SUV than some of its competitors thanks to its thick plastic trim on lower areas and the wheel arches. 

The same style continues to the interior, with various coloured trim available to add some flair, and it’s certainly a very pleasing cabin to look at with its large touchscreen and digital dial system. However, the actual quality is a bit disappointing, with plenty of harder plastics being used throughout the interior, which don’t feel befitting of the T-Roc’s higher list price. 

Crossovers aren’t known for being fun to drive, but the T-Roc is an exception to that rule – offering plenty of control, sharp steering and plenty of grip. Despite its high ride height, it doesn’t feel too different to drive to a standard hatchback. It’s also available with a great range of engines, while the flagship R model offers plenty of thrills, albeit at quite a steep price.

Video review

Space and practicality

If you’re considering a crossover as you want something roomier than a conventional hatchback, the T-Roc is well worth considering, as it’s more spacious than a regular Golf inside. 

The boot measures 445 litres, which is 65 litres more than you get from a Golf, while folding the rear seats down increases the space to an impressive 1,532 litres. There’s plenty of room in the rear, too, with four adults able to get comfortable, while access is easier thanks to the higher ride height and wide-opening rear doors. 

The model also has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with high scores recorded across all categories. Autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist are included as standard, too, while all but the entry-level S version comes with adaptive cruise control as well.


Though yet to be available with any kind of electrification, the T-Roc is available with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines. 

The line-up kicks off with a 108bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, followed by a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol. This is available with both a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. If you fancy something with a bit more punch, a 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol is available in high-spec SEL and R-Line grades, while also coming with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive. 

Moving over to diesel, all versions feature a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit, which is available with outputs of 113bhp or 148bhp. The former uses a manual transmission, with the latter getting a choice of manual or automatic transmission. 

At the top of the range is the T-Roc R, which is essentially a Golf R copycat with its turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit, which uses an automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive. With a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, it’s certainly rapid.

Running costs

Where the best efficiency is concerned, you’ll want a diesel T-Roc, with all versions able to return around a claimed 60mpg, with CO2 emissions as low as 123g/km. The 1.0-litre petrol model could also be a great choice, with Volkswagen claiming it can return 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 136gkm. The more powerful petrol options will be noticeably thirstier to run, though, 

Insurance premiums will be on par with rival models, too, while the only thing to be aware of is that the top R trim will incur a higher rate of road tax because of their list price of more than £40,000.

Things to look for

The Volkswagen T-Roc has largely proven to be a reliable choice, though there is a known problem with the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which can be jerky and ‘kangaroo’ in traffic or at lower speeds. While Volkswagen has issued recalls to fix this, it’s worth test driving a car to see if it’s an issue present on a used car you’re looking to buy.


The T-Roc sits in an almost middle ground between really compact crossovers and larger models like the Volkswagen Tiguan. That said, it still has an impressive number of rivals, with key competitors including the Mini Countryman, Toyota C-HR, Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca.


There remains strong demand for the T-Roc on the used market, with values holding up well despite being sold in large quantities. Depreciation will certainly be less of a worry on the T-Roc than it will be with many of its rivals. 

Trims explained

With eight trims available on the T-Roc, there’s certainly no shortage of options. Equipment highlights and prices are as follows.


Standard equipment on the T-Roc includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, two-zone climate control, electric windows and automatic lights and wipers. You also get autonomous emergency braking, an electric parking brake and lane keep assist. Elsewhere, an eight-inch touchscreen is included with DAB radio and Bluetooth.

From £21,790


Upgrading to the SE adds more stylish 17-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers and black roof rails in terms of design tweaks. It also comes with front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, electric folding mirrors, a leather steering wheel and ‘App-Connect’, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

From £23,735


Building on the SE, the Active comes with revised 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and unique Active badging on the inside and outside. It also comes with an upgraded media system with satellite navigation, as well as heated front seats, an electric boot and traffic sign recognition.

From £24,035

Black Edition

For those wanting a stealthier look, the Black Edition boasts 18-inch black alloy wheels and a black styling kit that includes the roof rails, grille, door mirrors and exhaust pipes. Elsewhere, it boasts LED headlights, tinted rear windows, ambient lighting and gloss black interior inserts.

From £24,135


On top of the SE, the design adds revised 17-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome styling with a contrasting roof colour and sportier bumpers. Ambient lighting and a driver alert system is also fitted.

From £24,445


High-spec SEL models also built in the SE with a larger media system with satellite navigation, a 10.3-inch digital cockpit screen, configurable driving settings and a driver attention alert. You also get larger 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED rear lights, front sports seats and silver roof rails.

From £27,585


For sportier looks, you should pick the R-Line. This adds large 19-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension and an R-Line styling kit. It also gains heated front seats, stainless steel interior inserts, a leather sports steering wheel and a black roof lining.

From £28,185


At the top of the range is the R, which commands the steep price increase to account for its performance. You also get lowered R suspension, four-wheel-drive, 19-inch alloy wheels and black brake callipers. Elsewhere, there’s an even more aggressive ‘R’ styling kit along with sports seats, dedicated ‘R’ interior elements and an upgraded digital instrument cluster.

From £41,440


  1. Stylish compact SUV
  2. Great trim and engine choice
  3. Sporty R model is essentially a hot hatch on stilts
  4. Plenty of standard equipment, bar entry-level S versions
  5. Good to drive
  6. Roomy interior…
  7. Though cabin quality falls short of VW standards
  8. Plenty of personalisation options
  9. Efficient diesel engines
  10. One of the best cars in its class

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