VW’s T-Cross ready a deserved sales leader
The Volkswagen brand is on a roll in terms of its global product assault and with products such as the T-Roc and eighth-generation Golf still to arrive locally, South Africans have a lot to look forward to from the brand. Its best-selling Polo and Polo Vivo models aside, we feel that it is its smallest crossover, the T-Cross that is its most important product. We recently had the T-Cross, in Comfortline DSG guise to see what makes this so popular.
The T-Cross is most certainly recognizable as a part of the Volkswagen SUV family from an aesthetics perspective, with a familiar front grille, the long, flat headlights, as well as the fog lamps with integrated daytime LEDs, are reminiscent of the like of the upcoming T-Roc and current Tiguan and Touareg models. Our press car was fitted with the optional LED headlights which we feel are a must when specifying the car.
The side profile of the newcomer features two strong lines that run from the A-pillar to through to the rear taillamps. There are a variety of wheel and tyre options, however, our test car featured the R-Line exterior package with a set of 17-inch Manila alloy wheels. The rear-end features a large LED light bar that extends from the left to the right-hand side and also houses the Volkswagen logo while the lower half of the bumper creates a slightly more rugged look.
The interior of the T-Cross is where we were most impressed in terms of its design which, despite sharing many of its components with the new Polo, manages to differentiate itself nicely from its hatchback sibling. Some of the interior materials, particularly the plastic used appeared of a slightly lower quality than we had expected, however, many products within this segment suffer from this same issue, making it par for the course in this regard.
In terms of infotainment, the press car was specified with the Infotainment Package which includes the 6.5-inch Composition Media infotainment system, App-Connect, and wireless smartphone charging. While sufficient, the knowledge that the Discover Media item is available would likely tempt us to specify this flagship infotainment system.
Going back to its roots
As mentioned earlier, the brand’s smallest SUV is based upon the latest generation Polo’s MQB platform; however, it is 54mm longer, 138mm taller, has a marginally longer wheelbase, and is around 80kg heavier, depending on the specification selected. The obvious drawcard for buyers is the raised ride height, which appears to give consumers more confidence or allow them to feel more imposing than other road users, which may explain the explosion in SUV sales over the past decade.
The T-Cross features a handy 377-litre boot, some 27-litres more than in the Polo along with a more practically-shaped loading bay. That being said, the T-Cross is most certainly more a four-seater, with five occupants likely resulting in a bit of a squeeze in the second row.
The T-Cross range is available with one engine and gearbox combination, for now, which has already proven a successful recipe in the new Polo. Unfortunately, for those looking for a compact crossover with the proverbial 'bundu bashing' credentials, the T-Cross is only available with front-wheel drive, making this more of a city slicker than an off-road adventurer.
The engine in question is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol unit which produces 85kW and 200 N.m of torque. The engine is best described as sufficient, despite some turbo lag low down in the rev range, while the seven-speed DSG gearbox is as sublime as ever. The engine and gearbox combined with respectable handling, great on-road refinement, and very little road noise, making the T-Cross a fantastic daily companion.
Claimed fuel consumption is rated at 4.9 L/100km, which we didn’t find was realistically achievable, with a figure of around 6.3 L/100km being realistic. Performance is adequate, with 100km/h coming up in 10.2 seconds and the top speed being 193 km/h.
We were expecting to be impressed by the T-Cross, and all things considered, we feel that it delivers the compact crossover goods. It is reasonably priced, well built, is well packaged, relatively practical, and the perfect vehicle type for current automotive trends.
Service plan and warranty
All T-Cross models come with a three-year/ 120 000km warranty as well as a three-year/ 45 000km service plan.
T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline DSG R334 600