Volkswagen T-Roc R

The crossover segment continues its meteoric rise, and as the popularity increases, so does the number of performance models. The Volkswagen T-Roc R is one of the latest examples of this blossoming market, joining similar VW Group models such as the CUPRA Ateca and Audi SQ2.

Volkswagen has grabbed the popular 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the Golf R and placed it under the bonnet of its chunky crossover, giving hot hatch buyers a compelling and even more practical alternative.


What’s new?

The R looks surprisingly similar to the regular T-Roc, so you won’t find any lairy wings and bulky body kits that scream ‘I’m a performance version’. Instead the T-Roc R follows the Golf R’s lead in offering a subtle upgrade.

It’s much higher and a bit more practical than the Golf, though, giving family buyers an interesting option. Its size means you won’t suddenly find you can pile a dozen extra bags of shopping in the boot compared with a hatchback, but its boxy shape does make it a bit more useful. It’s high driving position also appeals.

What’s under the bonnet?

That Golf R engine is hugely impressive, with the 2.0-litre unit bringing a healthy 296bhp and 400Nm of torque, enough to send the T-Roc R from 0 to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds, aided by a launch control system.

Power is sent to all four wheels ensuring all-wheel-drive grip that makes it excellent in all weather conditions. There’s a seven-speed automatic gearbox, while fuel economy is 32.5mph and CO2 emissions are 176g/km – about par for the course in this segment.

What’s it like to drive?

Thanks to its higher ride height and therefore increased centre of gravity, you might expect the T-Roc R to wallow and lean in corners more than a conventional hot hatch. However, the seats go lower than you’d expect, which help provide a sportier connection with the car and make it great fun in corners.

The engine is cracking, too, with an aggressive punch of performance available in every gear. It could do with a little more exhaust noise, though.

The Dynamic Chassis Control option is one well worth ticking. At £695 it’s great value, giving you drive modest hat alter the car’s characteristics from comfort to racier styles depending on your mood.

How does it look?

The changes might be subtle but they really do elevate the already handsome T-Roc’s appearance, giving it a more butch, purposeful stance. Quad-exit exhaust pipes are a dead giveaway that this is the R model, but they’re about the only thing that shouts performance model.

Particularly in Lapiz Blue, which is unique to the R, the T-Roc looks fantastic. There are a handful of subtle R badges too, but otherwise its under-the-radar styling works well and will likely be well-received by many buyers.

What’s it like inside?

There are no shocks inside, with the T-Roc getting a pretty familiar modern Volkswagen outfit. It’s well built and feels generally upmarket, despite some odd cheap-feeling plastics here and there.

The seating position feels surprisingly sporty and there’s plenty of adjustability, though the rear seats might be a bit tight for adults. It’s fairly practical with a boot space of 392 litres and this can be increased to 1,237 litres if you fold the rear seats.

What’s the spec like?

There’s standard equipment aplenty aboard the T-Roc R – though this might be expected in a car that starts at just over £38,000. You get the familiar eight-inch infotainment system we’ve seen in other VW models and it’s easy to operate, though most will use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The traditional dials are replaced by a digital display and this shows all the important information so you rarely need to look at the central screen. Our test car had some choice extras too, such as a Beats sound pack (£425) and keyless entry (£395).



The Volkswagen T-Roc R is one of the best performance crossovers on the market. While a high-riding performance car might seem a little odd, VW has worked wonders so that the driving experience feels barely compromised when compared with something like a Golf R.

True enthusiasts would still prefer the hatchback, but for those who want the high riding position and practicality for family use, the T-Roc R is a fantastic alternative.

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