It’d be difficult to mistake the T-Roc for anything other than a Volkswagen.

It shares the low, wide grille styling that you’ll find on the new Polo, facelifted Golf and latest Tiguan, adapting the design cue to form its own unique identity within the manufacturer’s range.

Richard Lane

Road tester
The T-Roc’s handling and its 2.0-litre TSI engine are highlights, but it is surprising the appearance of low-rent materials in a £31k car

As with almost all medium-sized VW Group products, the T-Roc makes use of the familiar MQB architecture. It’s a compact car by mid-sized crossover standards.

Dimensionally, the T-Roc’s 4234mm length makes it 252mm shorter than its Tiguan big brother but also 129mm shorter than an Ateca – and shorter than the Seat in the wheelbase, too.

Compactness is part of VW’s positioning of the T-Roc as a sportier, better-looking and more desirable kind of crossover.

You’ll have no doubt spotted the car’s curving roofline and sloping C-pillars, marking it out as a second-era crossover more like the C-HR or Q2 than the class-defining Qashqai.

And helping the T-Roc live up to this billing elsewhere is its relatively wide, low-slung stance, being suggestive of the dynamism that’s still tellingly hard to find in the wider crossover hatchback segment.

Top 5 Crossover hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Four engines were available from launch: three petrols and a solitary diesel. The petrol line-up consists of a three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI that churns out 113bhp and four-cylinder 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI Evo and 187bhp 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrols. The 2.0-litre TDI diesel also produces 148bhp. A 113bhp 1.6-litre TDI then expanded the choice shortly after.

Power is generally sent to the front wheels, although the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines are paired with VW’s 4Motion part-time four-wheel-drive system as standard. The multi-plate-clutch-based system sends the bulk of the engine’s power to the front axle the majority of the time, with the rear axle being involved either as traction deteriorates up front or more consistently depending on the selected driving mode.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard fare for all but the 2.0-litre petrol, which has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

As for suspension, MacPherson struts are used up front, with a torsion beam or multi-link rear set-up, depending on engine choice. An optional adaptive damper system is also available and was fitted to our test car.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week