Skip advert
Advertisement

New Volkswagen T-Roc 2023 review

Has a light facelift transformed the popular Volkswagen T-Roc? We hit UK roads to find out...

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your Volkswagen T-Roc
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

Verdict

The T-Roc might be one of Volkswagen’s oldest offerings but it’s still a well-rounded small SUV - this fairly lightweight facelift doesn’t change that. It might not set pulses racing but we commend the T-Roc’s straightforward approach with a good range of powertrains, solid practicality and competitive pricing. We still think the cheaper Life variant will be the pick of the bunch, though.

Advertisement - Article continues below

When we first drove the facelifted T-Roc in 2022, we tested it in range-topping (T-Roc R aside) R-Line spec and we couldn't help but feel a cheaper version of Volkswagen’s small SUV might be a better option. Now it’s time to give the T-Roc another chance as we check out the mid-range Style model. 

In the ever-competitive small SUV sector where the smallest of improvements can make a big difference, the T-Roc needs to look the part and Volkswagen has sensibly not messed around too much with the looks of its sharply-styled Ford Puma rival. 

The Style version gets a simpler front and rear bumper design than the sporty R-Line and a two-tone paint finish for the roof is just an option. There are 17-inch wheels and silver roof rails, but overall there’s enough to distinguish it from the entry-level Life model and the more expensive R-Line. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

For your £28,955, there’s a decent amount of equipment on offer. The facelift brings VW’s new ‘IQ Light’ adaptive LED headlights (which are very impressive and helpful on dark country backroads) and adaptive cruise control as standard to the Style. 

A new eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility now appears and while the infotainment system is perfectly responsive and easy to use, it’s rather unceremoniously plonked on the dash rather than seamlessly integrated like before.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The climate controls beneath now suffer from the same issues as in other VWs because they’re touch sensitive. They might look slicker than the physical dials of the old T-Roc but they simply don’t work as well. Paired with the central touchscreen is a 10.25-inch driver’s display. It’s customisable and easy to navigate but the eight-inch screen in the cheaper Life model should work just as well. 

The overall quality of the T-Roc’s cabin is still one of the best in its class, the dash layout is almost identical to the Polo’s but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a little dull but it feels solid enough with only a few small bits of cheap feeling plastic dotted around the interior. Elsewhere there’s a leather gearshift, leather steering wheel, sport seats and most panels sit nicely flush against each other. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Although it sits on the same MQB architecture as the Polo supermini, the T-Roc is bigger inside and adults sitting in the back will have no qualms with space. There’s also an optional panoramic sunroof front and rear which really helps make the interior feel light and airy. The boot opening is a little high but there’s 445 litres of storage back there - 65 more than in a Golf

In this Style model we’re testing here we have a 1.5-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder with 148bhp. We tried it in the R-Line model with the seven-speed DSG automatic before and were left unimpressed. Here, it’s mated to a six-speed manual which gives it much more flexibility, although you still have to rev it hard a little too often. The manual shift itself is fairly precise and given it’s a tiny bit quicker, more economical than the automatic and a whopping £1,685 cheaper, it’s a no-brainer to pick the three-pedal version. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

The engine feels quiet enough in the T-Roc but we’d recommend trying the 1.0-litre, turbocharged TSI. It might only have 108bhp but it feels zippy enough and there’s a cost saving of £1,435 to be had. Fuel consumption is exactly the same as the 1.5 at 47.1mpg - which you’ll have no problem reaching if you’re careful. 

There’s no hiding the Polo underpinnings of the T-Roc on the move, but that’s a compliment these days. The extra suspension travel of the T-Roc means only large ruts and bumps in the road really upset the ride. The whole car settles down on the motorway too with only marginally more wind noise than the Polo. Overall, the facelifted T-Roc doesn’t feel any different to drive than before, which is fine but the lack of a plug-in or even mild-hybrid won’t do it any favours when it comes to company car buyers. 

Volkswagen offers fairly keen finance deals on the T-Roc, too. Compared to a similarly-specced SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq (all three with the same engine as the T-Roc tested here), the VW is actually the cheapest of the three across a 48-month finance plan. 

Model:Volkswagen T-Roc Style
Price:£29,460
Engine:1.5 4cyl petrol turbo
Power/torque:148bhp/250Nm
Transmission:Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:8.4 seconds
Top speed:129mph
Economy:47.1mpg
CO2:135g/km
On sale:Now
Skip advert
Advertisement
Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New Audi A3 facelift 2024 review: big improvements for the premium hatch
Audi A3 facelift - front
Road tests

New Audi A3 facelift 2024 review: big improvements for the premium hatch

The updated Audi A3 hasn’t been revolutionised, but is thoroughly improved thanks to a set of small but impactful improvements
22 Apr 2024
Skoda Fabia goes for bigger slice of supermini sales with 2024 updates
Skoda fabia front 3/4
News

Skoda Fabia goes for bigger slice of supermini sales with 2024 updates

Skoda has given its Fabia updated powertrains and equipment
22 Apr 2024
Skoda Karoq SUV updated with power gains for 2024
2024 Skoda Karoq
News

Skoda Karoq SUV updated with power gains for 2024

The Karoq’s trim level structure remains the same as before, but with more equipment as standard
22 Apr 2024