Volkswagen has been a popular sight on our roads for a few decades now, and for good reason too, the German brand offers quality, affordability and most of all, a great range of diesel engines, just what the NI market demands.
However, the powers that be in government, alongside the emissions scandal, means things are slowly but surely transitioning over to the cleaner fuel source of petrol, a move that will take time, but some manufacturers have already ceased offering diesel engines in their range.
VW are not for cutting off a massive client base just yet however, as they still have a plethora of diesels available, and despite offering a fantastic range of turbocharged petrol engines for some time now, along with a hybrid or two, it’s only very recently that we are starting to take notice of the petrol range.
Let’s face it; you would be forgiven for screwing your face up at the suggestion of a 1 Litre, 3 cylinder power-train, when perhaps you are accustomed to a 2 Litre 4 cylinder diesel.
Within the smaller VW car segment, the trend seems to be that the petrol TSi engine is becoming a favourite, and I will admit, I see no reason why not, as it is a decent all rounder, no matter which capacity you opt for.
With this apparent shift, it was great to get my hands on this fantastic looking, all-new crossover from VW, fitted with a wee petrol engine, thanks to Donnelly Group NI and their Volkswagen franchise – finished in the £280 option colour of ‘Flash Red’ which contrasts well against the privacy glass and gloss black roof.
Fitted with £565 optional side steps, some may feel the aesthetics of this test car are improved greatly whilst the 17” alloy wheels aid the looks and safety is helped with front and rear parking sensors and auto wipers.
On opening the boot, the space on offer was more much than expected if the truth be told, even with the space saver spare wheel in place, the split level boot floor affords the T-Roc the largest load area in its class, and by a long way too.
First impressions inside the T-Roc, is that of a lack of soft touch material, for me personally I feel the layout and style of the cockpit is great, but more thought could have went into the materials used and the seating could be a little more supportive, though I am used to sports seats, so most won’t share that sentiment.
ISOFIX means travelling with a young family can be done in the safest of ways possible and dual-zone climate control will keep front occupants most comfortable on a long journey, for teenagers and above travelling in the rear, that long journey would become a little cramped but for the school run and running errands, rear space is bearable.
Infotainment in this model tested offered everything you would expect such as Bluetooth, DAB/AM/FM Radio and USB connectivity with phone app integration and voice control etc, but when I needed to go somewhere unknown, I was a bit disgruntled at no navigation.
Not to be beaten, I hooked up my phone to the USB and via ‘Android Auto’ I was able to ‘live view’ my google maps on the screen built into the dash, a seamless and accurate way of guidance, without the costs of the optional factory unit.
Five engines and five trim levels are available on T-Roc, starting from £18,955 with the ‘S’ model which features 16″ alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, front assist including city emergency braking, 8-inch colour touch screen and a multi device interface via USB and dual zone climate control along with Lane Assist.
Next up is the ‘SE’ which starts from £20,600 and adds 17″ alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers with silver-metallic under-body fascia, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and finally Car-Net ‘App-Connect’ which integrates compatible Smartphone’s to allow screen mirroring.
The SE will likely be the most popular choice, but for those wanting to make their T-Roc a little more individual there is the ‘Design’ which adds ambient lighting in foot-well and light strips below trim in front doors, contrasting roof and door mirror housing colour and Sport-styled body coloured bumpers as well as chrome effect exhaust tailpipe fascia surrounds – this trim starts from £21,320.
If you want to spend from £24,715, then an ‘SEL’ adds a touch of elegance to the line-up as it features 18″ alloy wheels, LED dipped main beam, front sports seats with height adjustment, Sat Nav with Volkswagen media control, Car-Net ‘Guide & Inform’ as well as ‘Security & Service’ and finally a 10.3-inch, high resolution TFT dash display, with customisable information.
Lastly, and a bit costly as it start from £26,640, is an ‘R-Line’ which is without doubt the prettiest of the T-Roc trims with its 19″ alloy wheels, heated front sports seats with ‘R-Line logo on seat backrest and finally an ‘R-Line’ styling pack including front and rear bumpers, black arches and body coloured side skirts.
Engine wise, as said before, five options are available – three petrol units and a pair of diesels, with automatic and four-wheel-drive systems featuring on some, depending on what trim level you opt for.
Starting with the ever so popular 1.0L turbocharged petrol TSi engine, mated only to a manual gearbox, you will get from 0-60mph in a respectable 9.8 secs thanks to 113bhp with 148lb/ft of pulling power.
Next up is VW’s newest engine, and one that has been getting rave reviews, the 1.5L TSi EVO power-train, producing 147bhp with 184lb/ft which will get to 60mph in 8.1 secs and is available with either a manual or automatic (DSG) ‘box.
Finally, the all singing, all dancing 2.0L TSi engine, as used in the likes of the VW Golf GTi and such hot-hatches, produces 187bhp with 236lb/ft and comes with only four-wheel-drive (4 motion) and DSG which see’s it to 60mph in a mere 7 secs.
For those doing bigger miles and requiring a little more frugality, the best diesel option is the 1.6L TDi engine which produces 113bhp with 184lb/ft and equipped only with a manual ‘box will get to 60mph in 8.3 secs.
Finally the 2.0L TDi comes equipped with a manual ‘box and four-wheel-drive, and despite producing a healthy 147bhp with 251lb/ft, isn’t too sharp off the mark with a 0-60mph time, 0.1 secs slower than that of the smaller diesel engine.
The model pictured and tested, fitted with the smallest offering, the 1.0TSi, felt surprisingly punchy – around town it was perfect, on a winding country road it was fun and on the motorway, more than adequate.
A claimed 55.4mpg is a figure I doubt you’d ever see, something in the 40’s much more realistic for someone on very mixed driving and with adaptive cruise control, city brake, lane assist and a driver alert system, the T-Roc couldn’t be a safer place to travel.
If you have been browsing a new car and the Audi Q2, BMW X1 or Toyota C-HR have popped onto your radar, you should most certainly get a look at the VW T-Roc for comparison, it is much better than the likes of Peugeot’s 2008 or Vauxhall’s Mokka X.
Words & Photos: Graham Baalham-Curry
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