VW Get it On with the T-Cross
The customer is King & with car buyers wanting a car that looks like an SUV, Volkswagen have launched a supermini-based SUV the T-Cross. As with the T-Roc from 2018 which is based on the Golf, the T-Cross is based on the Polo. It’s larger than the Polo, with it’s more upright shape offering a spacious cabin & a decent 385 litre boot, which can be made larger, up to 455 litres, with the clever use of a movable fore & aft rear seat. Looks wise, it’s perhaps cuter looking than the T-Roc & although parked side by side, doesn’t look that much smaller, although both the rear passenger & boot capacity, is significantly less in the T-Cross than it is in the T-Roc.
From the outside, the T-Cross is a similar shape to Citroens C3 Aircross & looks like a mini-tonka Toy. The front grille & headlights are unmistakably VW & overall it’s a little more conservative-looking than the Citroen. The rear hatch features a light cluster that spread’s right across the boot.
Inside, it features a clever use of space in the cabin. Decent sized front & rear door pockets will hold a couple of drinks bottles each. Up front, there are two more smaller drinks holders inbetween the front seats, a medium sized glove box, small cubby hole for odds & ends in front of the gear lever & a shallow dash-top storage space too.
Front passengers get great head & leg room whilst there’s plenty of this in the back for two. The middle rear seat as always is compromised. By shifting the seats forward you do get extra boot space, but the extra space created, produces narrow, deep channel that’s lower than the rest of the boot, which means that smaller items will disappear.
On road, our 1.0 TSI 115 PS is the same engine found in our family T-Roc & with the slightly smaller & lighter T-Cross feels better suited to the smaller car. Indeed, we drove the seven speed DSG auto version which felt more sprightly still, with a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds & a top speed of 120mph. The 200Nm of torque on offer makes for a fun drive.
Around town, the pocket-sized SUV makes a lot of sense & it’s easy to park as well. Like the T-Roc SE, the T-Cross is very well equipped offering both VW’s connected App’s, an easy way to utilise Apple CarPlay or Android Auto & my personal favourite, Adaptive Cruise Control, which is a real plus for motorway journeys. The annoying to me anyway, Lane Assist is also offered, which I turned off every time I re-started the car, because for some reason, it’s more annoying in the T-Cross than I’ve encountered in any other VW.
Good points include an electric parking brake with auto hold, two rear USB sockets, Bluetooth with simultaneous pairing of two compatible devices, the excellent 8″ VW colour touchscreen with DAB & an automatic post collision braking system.
The dashboard layout mirrors that found in all new VW’s & is extremely user-friendly. The front of the dash features some pleasant plastic, but the door pockets & lower down plastics aren’t as good quality as you’d expect from a VW. It’s also a little bland when compared to the funkier inside of the C3 Aircross, although coloured features can be added as extras. Separate climate controls which sit underneath the infotainment screen make sense as well.
Around town, this pocket-sized SUV is very easy to park. The steering is very light & responsive & it feels agile at low speeds , allowing you to nip in & out of traffic. Leaving the urban area & hitting some country roads, the T-Cross performs adequately, but because of it’s upright shape, it’s no match for the much more enjoyable drive offered in the VW Polo. The ride too is a little compromised with the raised ride accentuating the bumps more than the lower-down Polo. On the motorway though, it performs better, offering comfortable cruising . A 150 mile motorway round trip in the T-Cross was both relaxing & quiet & here it scores more highly than the Polo, which is less comfortable to be in & is noisier in the cabin than the T-Cross.
From a fleet perspective, VW aren’t really pushing the T-Cross as a major fleet car, but if you want an SUV that offers Golf-like space, then it’s well worth considering. Our test model came with a combined fuel economy of 45.7mpg- we averaged 38.3mpg- & CO2 emissions of 111g/km, with a 26% Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rating. Also bear in mind that with the T-Cross currently, only petrol units are offered.
One of the benefits of writing about cars, is that us motoring writers are well placed to compare & contrast similar cars. In the T-Cross’s case, there’s actually a lot to like. For a start it’s well priced, with our test car retailing at £20,195, a little above sister brand Seat’s Arona, but its a more attractive car & feels more upmarket inside. Citroens C3 Aircross is also cheaper & it offers a more interesting take on the small SUV. It comes with a much softer ride than the VW, a Citroen trait, but it doesn’t feel quite as poised or as well built as the VW. Finally, the VW Polo on which the T-Cross is based, also cost’s less & offers a far more engaging drive than the T-Cross, but on the down side, it’s neither as practical or as good to be in on longer journeys.
Despite my seemingly damning the T-Cross with faint praise, I did actually really like it & if pushed, would personally choose it over all of the above. It’s not perfect but it’s not bad either. 3.5/5.