DRIVEN: 2022 Volkswagen T-Roc: Does it still have a place in the family?

Published Oct 28, 2022


Johannesburg - One thing’s for sure, if you’re looking for a Volkswagen SUV or crossover, you’re spoilt for choice.

T-Cross, Taigo, T-Roc, Tiguan, Touareg… take your pick. The T-Roc featured in this story, fits snugly into the middle of this “T” family as a smaller but sportier alternative to the Tiguan.

Interestingly, the T-Roc, which shares its basic architecture with the Audi Q2, is slightly shorter than the cheaper Taigo, although it is at least somewhat wider.

You’d be forgiven for wanting to compare the two. But while the Taigo might appear to make more sense on paper, the T-Roc is an altogether more upmarket offering. Not only does it boast a more muscular design, with wheel sizes up to 19” being available, but it also offers some funky individualisation options, like contrasting colours for the roof and door mirrors.

The other thing that sets it apart from the Tiago, which is only available with a 1.0-litre turbopetrol engine, is its choice of bigger engines and all-wheel drive if you pick the 2.0-litre TSI unit rather than the 1.4 TSI.

It was the 2.0 TSI 4Motion R-Line that we got to spend a week with lately. With 140kW and 320Nm on offer, it’s not as powerful as the Golf GTI, and it certainly won’t push you back in your seat when you floor the pedal from a standstill, but it is brisk in its own right and allows for effortless overtaking.

Power goes to all four wheels through a smooth-shifting seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, and you can change gears yourself with the flappy paddles. You can also select a Sport mode for the T-Roc, which sharpens things up and makes the car feel more responsive.

With its not-too-high ground clearance and 19-inch wheels, the T-Roc feels more agile than your average SUV, but those big rims do make the ride feel a touch firm, although it’s not uncomfortable by any means.

Let’s take a step inside

While the exterior design changes that came with the recently introduced 2022 facelift are relatively subtle (although the new front bumper and grille do lend a more purposeful appearance), the biggest changes have taken place inside the T-Roc.

The previous model was criticised for feeling too low-rent, by VW standards. To address that, Volkswagen has installed a new dashboard, which has more soft-touch surfaces as well as a new “floating” infotainment system.

I wouldn’t say the overall cabin quality is in the same league as earlier Golf models, like generation 6 and 7, but it is certainly an improvement over the old T-Roc. Ergonomically, we appreciate that Volkswagen kept the ventilation controls separate from the touch screen, but the slider controls, like the ones on the steering wheel, don’t work as well as traditional rotary knobs. Thankfully, Volkswagen is set to phase these out in its future models.

Is the Volkswagen T-Roc practical?

While the width of the Volkswagen T-Roc makes it comfortable for occupants upfront, who are unlikely to brush elbows, the relatively short length of the vehicle doesn’t bode too well for rear legroom. I managed to slot behind my driving position relatively comfortably but there wasn’t a lot of stretching space available.

The boot is relatively spacious, though, with a volume of 392 litres.

What features do I get?

If you opt for the T-Roc Design base grade, you get a great deal of standard spec, including dual-zone climate control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Energency Braking with Front Assist and Park Assist and the Composition Media Radio system.

Opt for the sportier R-Line that we had on test and you can also look forward to a sportier exterior design package, which includes 19-inch Misano alloy wheels, sports suspension, Nappa leather seats and Lava Stone interior trim. Tech features include the Digital Cockpit Pro system, Progressive Steering and the Driver Assistance System with Lane Keeping and Lane Change Assist.

There are a few tempting optional extras available, including the 8.0-inch Discover Media infotainment system with built-in navigation and Wireless App-Connect, Beats Sound system and sliding panoramic sunroof.


The recently updated Volkswagen T-Roc finds itself wedged between siblings like the more practical Tiguan and similarly-sized but more affordable Tiago. But does it have a place in the ‘T’ family of SUVs?

If you’re looking for a sportier SUV option and you don’t mind spending the extra money, then the T-Roc certainly comes with its own rewards, including a more distinctive look and sportier driving experience.

But if you are on a lower budget, you might find better value in the Taigo, which is an attractive crossover in its own right.

It is very much a heart-versus-head decision.

The range-topping T-Roc sells for R660 400, while the Taigo tops out at R503 000.

IOL Motoring