Buyers expecting an interior to match the car’s heated-up performance may be disappointed, because much of the SE L model’s cabin looks familiar to that of the mid-spec SE. The interior is practical and versatile but, on a variant that starts from more than £30,000, its generic design and the use of hard-touch plastics will hamper its desirability.
Standard-fit Active Information Display technology (normally a £405 option) is the car’s saving grace, because it far surpasses the effectiveness of most of its main rivals’ smaller instrument cluster screens. The high-resolution 10.3in display adds functionality and value to the interior, falling second only to Audi's Virtual Cockpit.
In this well-equipped form, the T-Roc weighs a hefty 1495kg, but the TSI engine does a fine job of marching it along and is both sharp to respond and elastic through the rev range. Maximum torque is available from just 1500rpm and it keeps on until 4180rpm, making it easy to maintain swift progress no matter the starting speed. The gearbox is quick-shifting, too; but, unlike other models where this powetrain is used, there’s no sporty soundtrack to match.
Much of our test was on cold, partially snow-covered B-roads, where the 4Motion all-wheel drive does a fine job of maximising traction and minimising slippage when left to its own devices. On lower-traction surfaces, there are four traction settings: Ice/Snow, Road, Off-Road and Off-Road Individual, which offers further customisation. We tried out Ice/Snow on a snow-covered section of grass and the car’s ability to juggle torque to each wheel to maintain traction was impressive.
The traction settings are accompanied by four drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport, as well as an Individual setting. With no optional DCC adjustable damping on our test car, the biggest noticeable changes each mode had related to the sharpness of the throttle and weight of steering.
Volkswagen chassis development boss Karsten Schebsdat told Autocar earlier this month that he has pushed for the T-Roc to be more playful and agile, particularly in 4Motion guise. This certainly seemed to be the case with our test car, which tackled winding roads with enthusiasm and was surprisingly neutral on turn in, only starting to understeer when really hustled into a corner.