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2023 Volkswagen T-Roc review

Volkswagen ready T-Roc with its updated compact SUV.

I was surprised to learn that the outgoing T-Roc was the second-best-performing SUV for Volkswagen in Australia.

Surprised, because it's a car I just don't see much of on the road.

But apparently, it's very popular, and this updated Volkswagen T-Roc is an important vehicle for the German brand.
2023 VW T-Roc line up
Volkswagen has sharpened the T-Roc's styling, increased the amount of safety technology fitted as standard, given the interior a refresh and upped the ante in the tech department too.

Volkswagen T-Roc – at a glance

Now, as standard across all 2022 T-Roc models, is the digital cockpit technology and display as well as Volkswagen IQ.Drive, which is Volkswagen's safety suite, making the T-Roc even safer for everyone on the road.

Pricing starts from $37,250 before on-road costs for the T-Roc Style 110TSI, while the new R-Line variant (previously the Sport) starts from $45,350 before on-road costs.

VW T-Roc in Canberra

Unfortunately due to the current chaos around the world with chip shortages, it's worth noting that vehicles badged MY23 will not have side assist, rear traffic assist and the proactive occupant protection system.

Reflecting this though, Volkswagen has knocked $650 off the MY23 Style ($36,600) and $550 off the MY23 R-Line ($44,700).

What's the 2023 VW T-Roc like to drive?

2023 T-Roc 110TSI

Despite being the smallest displacement in the T-Roc line-up, the powertrain on the Style 110TSI is an enthusiastic one. It is willing and able around town and you won't have a problem overtaking at higher speeds out in the country too.

The 110TSI is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which produces, you guessed it, 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. While its power outputs are inline with competitors across the segment, its torque figures are significantly higher.

It gets help from an 8-speed automatic transmission and overall is a smart enough little system for the car. It makes the right decisions at the right times and with 8 gears, its fuel consumption numbers are reasonable as well, coming in at 6.3 litres per 100kms.

There's no need to quote 0–100 speeds here because it's not what the vehicle is made for. But what I will say is that it packs a surprising punch when you put your foot down.

2023 Volkswagen T-Roc

The best thing about this 2023 T-Roc 110TSI is its ride. It's comfortable and settled – I don't think you could ask for a much better ride in a day-to-day vehicle like this.

I say day-to-day, because if you do get stuck into it a bit around bends, you'll find it does have a bit of lean in it and it's not that it becomes uncomposed, but you just don't have as much confidence in it.

Again, this shouldn't be a problem, because that isn't the majority of the driving you're going to do. And if it is, the newly launched 2023 T-Roc R might be what you are looking for.

T-Roc R-line

Switching to the 2022 T-Roc R-Line, you can tell immediately that this one has a bit more attitude.

It gets a bit more displacement in the form of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that puts out 30kW and 70Nm more than the 110TSI for a total of 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque.

The transmission is also swapped for a 7-speed DSG gearbox and where the Style 110TSI has power sent to the front wheels, the 2023 T-Roc R-Line gets power sent to all 4 wheels with Volkswagen's 4Motion technology.

It's not as light on the fuel use, with the official fuel consumption on a combination of city and highway driving coming in at 7.3 litres per 100kms.

The T-Roc R-Line also swaps in racing seats that fit you a bit more snug and to highlight the more sporty nature of the R-Line, they get Lapiz Blue highlights.

Also upgraded from the 110TSI is the suspension, with the T-Roc R-Line getting sports suspension. As you would expect, it's a bit stiffer and does bring the right quality down somewhat but on the other hand, it feels more sure-footed if you get stuck into it around bends.

2023 Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line

You can select various drive modes too, which makes adjustments to things like steering weight to throttle response to make the car more aggressive or more economically friendly – whichever you prefer. The drive can also be customised to your individual liking.

With that said, it drives that bit sharper and accelerates that bit harder too and while all in all it is a good package, I think the ride in the 2023 T-Roc Style is the one I would want if I were driving the car day in, day out.

Using IQ.Drive in the wild

Common to both grades is IQ.Drive with travel assist – Volkswagen's suite of safety features and technology. It works well too – for instance we found ourselves using travel assist (the feature that includes lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control) as often as possible when travelling on longer stretches of road in and out of Canberra.

No matter which grade you go with, it will be easy to park. Not just because the T-Roc has good visibility all around, but also because it has both front and rear parking sensors as standard as well as a reversing camera.

The entry-level Style also benefits from the park assist functionality of the IQ.Drive system, which means the vehicle will park itself, only prompting you for throttle and brake inputs as necessary.

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What's the 2023 Volkswagen T-Roc like inside?

Both grades get a good amount of kit for the money.

2023 VW T-Roc 110TSI

On this grade you get Comfort sport front seats that are trimmed in a microfleece upholstery.

There are no touch-sensitive buttons on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, which I am actually a fan of with traditional buttons available to control your 8-inch digital cockpit driver's display and media.

An 8-inch infotainment screen is fitted as standard and gets:

  • DAB+
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto

$2,000 is probably money well spent for the optional Sound and Vision package which upgrades the system to an 8-inch display with:

  • Proximity sensors
  • Gesture control
  • Voice control
  • Satellite navigation

It also adds a Beats sound system, wireless smartphone connectivity and Digital Cockpit Pro for the driver – a fair few quality inclusions for your money.

VW Style 110TSI Interior

You do get some touch-sensitive buttons, which do help to bring up the premium feel of the cabin and make sense in their application for the dual-zone climate control. Instead of turning a dial for temperature and fan speed, you swipe your finger along the temperature and fan controls.

As always with Volkswagens, there is a good amount of storage space around the cabin with generous door storage bins and a moderately sized centre console bin. Customers will either love or hate the gloss Deep Iron Grey plastic dash and door inserts but the inclusion of soft touch materials around this again add to the premium feel.

Charging and connecting devices is done via 2 USB-C ports upfront while passengers in the back also get 2 USB-C ports and air conditioning vents.

In the back are 2 USB-C charging points and a decent amount of room. Definitely enough for the growing family.

2023 VW T-Roc R-Line

The steering wheel that I liked in the Style is swapped out for one with touch-sensitive controls. I am not the biggest fan of these, though I'm sure I could learn to love them if I was using them for an extended period of time.

Sports seats are fitted and are trimmed in an R-Line fabric, they get a bit of extra bolstering to hold you in place.

Also upgraded is the digital driver's display which gets a new 10.25-inch screen and software in the form of Digital Cockpit Pro which gives you more configurability among other things.

Further enhancing the tech and ease of use for the 2023 VW T-Roc R-Line is the wireless charging bay below and satellite navigation on the infotainment screen.

Those grey inlays get swapped out for black ones, which does lift the interior a bit, despite what many say about gloss black accents around the cabin.

2023 Volkswagen T-Roc boot size

If one of your buying considerations is storage space, you'll probably be more interested in the Style 110TSI which gets 445 litres of space with the rear seats in place and 1,290 with them folded down.

VW T-Roc Boot - 2023

The 140TSI R-line on the other hand gets 392 litres with the second row of seats in place and 1,237 with them folded down.

Both get a space-saving spare wheel hidden under the floor of the boot.

Those numbers mean that both grades have more space in the back than say a Mazda CX-30 (317L), a Hyundai Kona (375L) or if your budget is a bit higher, it is a bit down on storage space when compared to something like the BMW X2 (470L).

How safe is the 2023 T-Roc?

As mentioned earlier, every T-Roc comes with IQ.Drive, which means that along with 6 airbags around the cabin you get:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Front assist with pedestrian monitoring
  • Lane assist
  • Driver fatigue system
  • Side assist with rear traffic alert
  • Proactive occupant protection system
  • Rear view camera
  • Parking sensors front and rear
  • Light assist
  • Park assist

The verdict

I can see why the T-Roc is a popular vehicle for Volkswagen.

It looks sharp, is practical and with Volkswagen's IQ.Drive you know that you're being protected at all times for 99% of scenarios.

Both models drive well and offer up a solid package to consumers. However, and I can't believe I am saying this again (just like the ŠKODA Karoq review), I think the more affordable Style 110TSI is the one to go for.

Why?

  • It rides that bit more comfortably for an SUV and in day-to-day scenarios you don't really get found wanting for more power. If you're looking for something more sporty, you might be better off waiting to see what else Volkswagen has in store for Australian SUV consumers in the near future.
  • You can option it up with the $2,000 sounds and vision package, which adds the Beats premium sounds system, digital cockpit pro, satellite navigation and wireless charging.
  • If you prefer leather seating you could add the leather package for $3,450 which gets you Vienna leather-appointed seating that is heated and electronically adjustable in the front and also has a memory function.

All of this for $2,550 less than the R-line. How is that for a Finder money hack?

In regard to the omissions for the MY23 model, unfortunately most brands these days are faced with the prospect of increasing vehicle prices as well as having to forgo certain technology due to chip shortages.

It's just the world we currently live in.

Looking to purchase an SUV? Check out our other car reviews and compare vehicles side by side. You might also be surprised by how much you could save by comparing car loans and car insurance while you're here.

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