Our T-Roc test car certainly came in a form in which you’d expect it to do well in this section, fitted with optional Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive damping and variable-ratio steering, both of which are features denied to many of its rivals.

But the car deploys those technologies to its advantage particularly successfully. The T-Roc’s breadth and range of dynamic ability is quite something.

Richard Lane

Road tester
Body control is excellent through faster corners in Sport mode, with just a hint of jitteriness from the ride under duress

Select that Sport driving mode and the handling becomes crisper, keener and more inspiring than that of any of its competitors.

Select Comfort instead and its ride becomes pleasingly supple and absorptive. We’ve seen cars in this class capable of one or other before, but none has done both quite as well.

Equally pleasing to find, however, is the predictability and linearity of response that continues to mark out VW’s own cars from those of its peers.

Although the T-Roc’s variable-ratio steering is quick, it doesn’t gather pace in a way that surprises you off-centre; and although it doesn’t have the sort of weight that would make it feel unwieldy to some, it’s heavy enough to feel nicely comprehensible.

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So the car is at once easy to manoeuvre at low speeds but also intuitive-handling, agile, controlled and generally encouraging when it’s whipped along. In none of its dynamic modes does the car lack a sense of measured, road-appropriate maturity, either.

Being a pretty ordinary Haldex-style set-up, VW’s 4Motion four-wheel-drive system isn’t one that takes a lead in the driving experience. Its ESP-based torque vectoring capacities are plainly pretty slight and it never moves enough power to the rear wheels to make the car feel like it’s genuinely being pushed around corners rather than pulled.

And yet it clearly adds a layer of surefootedness to the T-Roc’s limit handling, combines well with a subtle but effective stability control system and makes the car assured and easy to drive at any speed.

Would you call the net result really exciting or involving? Perhaps not in total confidence – but it’s getting there, and given the rounded dynamic brief this car had to meet, that’s very commendable.

Even in chilly, damp conditions, the T-Roc made short work of fairly brisk progress around Millbrook’s Alpine hill route.

Where taller, firmer-sprung crossovers can feel exposed for cornering grip and a little unforgiving when driven quickly, the VW shows its dynamic class by developing plenty of grip both on turn-in and under high lateral load. In tighter bends, its ability to carry speed and hit apices simultaneously belied expectations.

VW’s stability control (ESC) almost imperceptibly prevents you from breaching the car’s grip levels with power as you accelerate out of corners but, like all the best similar systems, it feels as though it’s metering out power rather than reining it in.

With the ESC off, meanwhile, you eventually become aware of the limitations of the four-wheel-drive system, which isn’t sophisticated enough to stop power-on understeer.

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