Volkswagen T-Roc 2021 140tsi sport

2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110TSI Style review: Australian first drive

The 110 TSI Style rounds out the Volkswagen T-Roc range in Australia. The Golf-based small SUV is a strong option, but now enters the market with a sharp price leader.
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If you’re one of the legions of Australian buyers who’ve decided you want an SUV, but you don’t need all-wheel drive, the 2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110 TSI Style might be just what you’re looking for.

The T-Roc sits below Tiguan, and above T-Cross, and is therefore right in the sweet spot for Aussie buyers.

It’s a platform that has impressed us since launch, with the T-Roc offering a compelling blend of build quality, value and standard features from the get-go – but you can’t help but think VW Australia would have liked to have had the price leader here from the outset.

While pricing is still solid on the range topping 140 TSI, it’s even more attractive on the 110 TSI.

Now the 110 TSI is here, and with sharp pricing - $33,990 before on-road costs – the T-Roc can really start to make some headway into the Australian market.

Given our sharp focus on small SUVs in this country, the T-Roc is primed to become a popular offering for a company that seemingly can’t get enough SUVs to satisfy demand. With the new Tiguan on the way, that roll is set to continue.

The starting price puts the 110 TSI neatly below the already on sale 140 TSI Sport, which starts from $40,490. That model is of course AWD, but there hasn’t been a sense that the Sport is overpriced. More so that VW will get different buyers into dealerships with this new, even more affordable variant.

The 110 TSI makes, surprise, surprise, 110kW from its 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, as well as 250Nm, and the engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic. It’s a conventional torque converter too, so the daily drive experience promises to be a good one.

The front-wheel drive platform promises an ADR fuel return of 6.2L/100km. On test, largely around town, we’ve used 8.2L/100km

2021 Volkswagen T-Roc 110 TSI Style
Engine1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Power and torque 110kW @ 5000rpm, 250Nm @ 1500-4000rpm
TransmissionEight-speed automatic
Drive typeFWD
Tare weight1319kg
Fuel claim combined (ADR)6.2L/100km
Fuel use on test8.2L/100km
Boot volume (seats up and down)445L/1290L
Turning circle11.1m
ANCAP safety rating5-star (2017)
Warrantyfive years / unlimited kilometre
Main competitorsMazda CX-30, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona
Price as tested (ex on-road costs)From $33,990

There are changes beyond the engine, between the 110 TSI and the 140 TSI. The more powerful T-Roc uses a seven-speed DSG, 4Motion AWD, and has a multi-link rear suspension design.

The 110 TSI on the other hand, runs a torsion-beam rear. That will be an interesting one to assess, because we’ve noted previously that unless you’re pushing hard on a twisty road, the simpler (and obviously more cost effective) torsion beam behaves perfectly fine around town.

Despite being a price leader, the 110 TSI is well-equipped and doesn’t feel like it’s missing out on anything. It’s got Front Assist with City Emergency Brake and Pedestrian Monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, park assist, rear-view camera, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control AC, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 18-inch wheels, LED ambient interior lighting, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, front seat lumbar adjustment, comfort front seats and electro-mechanical power steering.

There are two option packs, which you can read about in our pricing and specification guide, but our initial launch vehicle is the one you’ll get if you don’t tick either of those boxes.

So, the standard feature list is long, and straight up, you don’t feel like the entry-grade 110 TSI is a stripped-out base model by any means.

In fact, the cabin feels quite premium, even with the cloth seats. It’s comfortable, insulated, and there’s plenty of room as well. It feels light and airy, definitely like the cabin of an SUV that is a segment larger than it is. That’s a good start and it’s something we’ve noted with Volkswagen SUVs before.

The front seats are nicely sculpted and comfortable, and the ergonomics are, as we expect from Volkswagen, excellent. The switchgear and controls are neatly laid out and make sense.

Plenty of storage for families as well, cupholders in places that don’t interfere with anything, door bins that you can actually use, and power outlets placed sensibly also. Into the second row, there’s room back there for adults – as per Golf – with more headroom than you will initially expect.

What you’re getting with the T-Roc then, is a more practical Golf. More space specifically, but the slightly higher ride-height that so many buyers covet.

It’s a Golf under the skin as we know, so in theory, it should be as good as a Golf – just more practical. The second-row seats fold neatly to open up a solid 445-litre luggage space as well, so it retains traditional hatch usefulness.

There’s a sense when you’re behind the wheel of a small Volkswagen, that it’s like driving a go-kart. There’s always a beautiful tied-down feel to the sharp steering and the front end, balance through the chassis, a solid but compliant ride, sharp throttle response, and excellent brakes.

It’s always fun, in other words, to drive a Polo or a Golf, no matter what the specification. The T-Roc has a lot to live up to then.

The good news is the T-Roc delivers exactly that kind of driving experience. It feels taut and responsive, it goes where you point it, zips through traffic with consummate ease, and is a properly useful inner-city run around. The turning circle is excellent, and it makes manoeuvring a cinch no matter how tight the street. As expected, the rear-end behaves perfectly around town, even on nastier surfaces.

We never sensed that the 110 TSI is underdone in a power or torque sense either, or that it’s sluggish. That remains the case even on the highway for prolonged runs. The punchy little four-cylinder makes more than enough power around town, and the eight-speed is smooth and precise. As we often write in these reviews, it’s a pertinent reminder that there’s a lot to love about the conventional automatic gearbox.

The driving experience is as enjoyable as we’d hoped it would be and the fact that peak torque is available from just 1500rpm, means there’s more than enough thrust off the mark. Plenty of potential buyers will look at the T-Roc as a second car, but it will serve duty effortlessly as your only car, if you’re a one-car family in the city.

The 110 TSI rounds out the T-Roc range and provides the cost-effective counter punch to the more feature-heavy 140 TSI variant. I’d have no hesitation opting for the price leader though – such is the quality of the execution and the driving enjoyment you get for the price.