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Five things we love about the VW T-Cross 70kW R-Line

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Over the December holidays, Volkswagen kindly lent us the new Volkswagen T-Cross 70 kW. Over the extended test period, we covered in excess of 4 000 km, giving us plenty of time to get to know the compact VW crossover extensively. Here are our five favourite things about VW's classy SUV.

Styling

Style is subjective but as far as compact SUVs go, the T-Cross really is one of the best-looking options out there. The upmarket styling is only made better by the R Line exterior package, a worthwhile option at R20 900. It adds a sporty-looking body kit and 17-inch Manilla alloy wheels.

What's more, it adds a practical option - parking sensors for the front and rear. Overall, the T-Cross looks more expensive than it actually is, with exterior styling similar to the popular Tiguan and luxurious Touareg models. We'd recommend selecting one of the metallic paint finishes, such as the striking Makena Turquoise Metallic.

Economy

The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine is remarkably frugal. The turbocharged motor returns superb fuel economy. VW claims an average consumption figure of 4.8 L/100 km. Often, it's difficult to replicate the official figure in the real world. We've come close, though, achieving 4.9 L/100 km in city commuting.

On the long road, we managed a slightly heavier 7.0 L/100 km - but to be fair, the car was fully loaded with five passengers, a boot full of luggage, and the air-con at full blast. With more careful, economical driving we're sure you could achieve far better in day-to-day driving.

With a Co2 rating of just 110 g/km, it's easier on the environment. The 40 L tank shouldn't be too expensive to fill and will last reasonably long, with a theoretical 830 km of travel available on a single tank of fuel.

Performance

Despite the modest 70 kW and 175 Nm outputs, the T-Cross performs well. The five-speed gearbox is slick and responsive, allowing you to keep up with traffic easily and sans fuss. Three-cylinder engines are inherently vibration-prone, but Volkswagen engineers have somehow managed to make this turbo-triple massively refined.

What's more, it's barely audible when on the move, only raising its voice when driven hard. On the highway, it remains composed and comfortable, packing more than enough punch when overtaking is required. If you do want more power, a more expensive 85 kW derivative is also available.

Practicality

Even though it's a compact SUV, VW's smallest SUV offering is able to fit a family of four comfortably. The rear bench is roomy - and practical, too. What's more, it's able to slide fore and aft, creating more legroom or boot space when necessary.

The cloth-trimmed seats are supportive and comfortable, while all the major controls are logically placed and easy to use. VW's infotainment system is a joy to use, proving intuitive and simple. Boot space is commodious, measuring in at 377-455 litres (depending on the position of the rear seats) and extends to 1 281 litres with the rear bench folded flat.

Standard Features

Safety is of paramount importance in a family SUV and, to that end, VW has fitted a raft of standard features. ABS with brake assist, stability and traction control, hill-start assist, Isofix anchorages, and six airbags are standard, providing superb accident protection. In the Euro NCAP crash test, it scored five stars. Want even more safety? Add adaptive cruise control with autonomous emergency braking with front assist, for a reasonable R5 800

Luxury and convenience features include standard air-conditioning, four electric windows, cruise control, and LED daytime running lamps are all included. We'd suggest adding the optional LED headlamps and rearview camera, which improves styling and safety, for R17 900.

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