Review: Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI

Review: Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI
Review: Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI

Usually SUVs and diesel engines go together, but how about in the new T-Roc?

We’ve tried the T-Roc with a petrol engine and really liked the new crossover SUV from VW, but how will it fare with a more traditional diesel engine? This small SUV, which is replacing coupes and other cars, is mostly going to be bought by private buyers, and as a result it’s expected about 75 per cent of sales will be of vehicles with petrol rather than diesel engines. Is that a wise choice?

We’re finding out by trying out one of the three diesel options, the 2.0-litre TDI with 148bhp. There’s a 113bhp 1.6-litre option as well as a 187bhp variant of this 2.0-litre diesel, but our vehicle came equipped with the 4Motion all-wheel drive system as well as the DSG auto transmission.

As you’d imagine, the diesel has plenty of low-down pulling power, with 250lb ft of torque at your disposal from only 1,750rpm. That’s really the best trick of this popular and ubiquitous diesel, since it doesn’t really have a great else to offer further up the rev range. It’s solid, you can say that, but it’s not exactly a zinger.

Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Motion SE-L

Price: £23,000 (est)
Engine: 1968cc four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 250lb ft
Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Kerbweight: 1530kg
Top speed: 126mph
0-62mph: 8.4sec
Fuel economy: 55.2mpg
CO2 rating: 135g/km

The seven-speed auto box slides the cogs through seamlessly and quickly and actually makes the engine seem a bit languid in comparison. Certainly the TSI petrol engines are more sprightly as you give them some revs, without losing everything at the bottom of the rev range.

As a contemporary crossover SUV, it’s no surprise to find that the T-Roc handles better than SUVs of old used to. Of course, the centre of gravity is higher than in a normal car so there is some roll in the corners, but generally it handles in a tidy manner and can hustle down a country lane perhaps a touch harder than you’d give it credit for.

This was with standard dampers, and the optional adaptive set-up would add more comfort and more control, but as it is you’ll not find handling or ride anything less than good enough.

Obviously if you’re looking for major cabin space then you’d go for a larger SUV, like VW’s Tiguan, but given its exterior dimensions cabin space is quite good, if a touch restricted in the rear. Some of the cabin is a reflection of personal taste – for example what do you think of the bright metallic gold of the dashboard accents? Naturally you have a lot of choices, but overall this feels well put together and solidly made, if fractionally off some other VW cabins.

It looks good outside, with sharp creases and that family look, all of it sitting on the by-now familiar MQB platform. It is well made as all of VW’s many SUVs and crossovers are, many of them on this platform. Does it stand out enough from the competition? Some of that is coming from the VW Group itself. For example, the week this vehicle was launched Skoda launched the Karoq, a fine vehicle in the same sector. It’s getting crowded in here.

But VW reckons this will be one of its biggest sellers in the sector, and they’re probably right. It ticks all the boxes in this burgeoning market, although it could hardly be said to over-deliver. We’re not sure of pricing yet, but if it’s competitive, and it probably will be, we expect it to sell well, helped by attractive finance deals.

But, unless you’re doing serious mileage, we’d want to go for a petrol engine, which improves the whole driving experience of this latest SUV.

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