Volkswagen T-Roc Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Monday 4th December


What is it like to drive?

We’ll start with the 2WD variants first. We’ve tried the entry-level 1.0-litre (108bhp) manual petrol, which felt slightly laborious with its 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds and was noticeably noisy when pushing on, as well as the 1.5-litre (148bhp) petrol, with auto ‘box. The latter was perceptibly quieter and felt a far better fit, with the extra torque – 148lb ft playing 184lb ft respectively – contributing to more brisk performance, illustrated by its 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds.

Ride comfort is good, with big bumps and potholes not causing the suspension much of an issue. It's usefully supple over that sort of road. But it’s undermined by harsh vibrations going over high-frequency ripples. There's a fair amount of wind noise around the mirrors as well as road noise from the tyres, especially as you move up the trim levels onto bigger alloys. Best avoided.

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Are the 4WD variants any better?

We’ve tried the 148bhp diesel and 187bhp petrol with 4Motion and the DSG transmission. They were nice enough in themselves, but will cost north of £33k. That parks them up against some very refined machinery including the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA.

That said, the T-Roc 4Motion is fun to steer. It doesn't feel top-heavy and leans only moderately. Cue the feeble Roc 'n' roll gags. It clings through bends faithfully and transparently. There's a detectable rearward bias to the 4WD system when you nudge the button to Sport, and more steering feel than tall cars usually give.

At least the 4Motion versions have proper multi-link suspension, whereas the front-driven T-Rocs all have simple torsion beams. In a Golf, you get multi-link even with front-wheel drive on all but the lowest-power versions.

Any noteworthy driver assistance tech?

Every version gets lane assist, a system that works more smoothly than most in nudging the car towards the middle of its lane, while front assist and emergency warning/braking that includes pedestrian detection are also standard.

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The facelift introduces predictive cruise control that, with the auto 'box, offers assisted steering, braking and acceleration at speeds of up to 130mph. Watch out, Elon.

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