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Volkswagen T-Cross

Date: 08 April 2019   |   Author: Pete Tullin

Standard equipment:
Air conditioning, 8in colour screen, Bluetooth, DAB radio, remote central locking, four electric windows, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist
Engines:
Petrol: 95hp 1.0, 115hp 1.0
Equipment grades:
S, SE, SEL, R-Line
Transmissions:
Five and six-speed manual, seven-speed auto

It was pretty obvious from the moment Volkswagen up-sized its Tiguan SUV that the groundwork was being laid for a couple of smaller options to slot into the line-up. Sure enough, first came the T-Roc, which to all intents and purposes is a jumped-up Golf, and now it is the turn of the T-Cross, which is effectively an elevated version of the Polo supermini.

Externally at least, there are plenty of stylistic changes doing their level best to disguise this relationship. These include the elevated ride height, black protective body mouldings around the wheel arches and along the sills, a set of bulbous bumpers, complete with faux skid plates, starry-eyed fog lights and bespoke tailgate lighting.  

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Despite all the embellishments, unlike many jazzed-up crossovers that look like their designers got massively carried away with the crayoning sets, the T-Cross does maintain a level of grown-up sophistication and manages to pull off that elusive trick of looking more expensive than it actually is. 

High-end interior

Inside, it is a similarly reassuring story. Some of the more exuberant dash panel designs may look like they were inspired by the bottom of a teenager's trainer, but the overall synergy of perceived quality and high-tech displays delivers a typical VW high-end look and feel. 

Also, being a Volkswagen, the more mundane aspects haven't been overlooked. There are plenty of places to store your knick-knacks, including a decent-sized glovebox and door bins, and plenty of USB ports to charge and sync your mobile devices.

While the steering wheel, gear knob and switchgear all look and feel like they have been spirited away from the Audi parts bin, a sharp 8in infotainment touchscreen features large, clear readouts and responds rapidly to a quick prod, making it a doddle to operate while driving.  

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Not that everything is perfect, because although the relationship between the pedals and the driver's seat is pretty much spot-on, the steering column exits the dash at quite a steep angle, so you may have to fiddle about a wee bit to find your ideal driving position. 

For a car based on a supermini, interior space is surprisingly generous, with plenty of leg, head and elbow room for two adults up front and enough room for another
two behind. 

You can also slide the rear bench back and forth to increase or decrease rear leg or boot space. Trouble is, if you slide it too far forward you will expose a fairly deep trench in the boot floor; not ideal for Fido, especially if you are prone to the odd spot of overexuberance with the brake pedal.  

Purely petrol

As things stand, there are no plans to bring any diesel versions to the UK, so you are limited to just two engine choices. Both are 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol units and are available with either 95 or 115hp power outputs. While the lower-powered car comes with a sweet-shifting five-speed manual gear box, the punchier unit is available with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic; so, if you prefer to have your gears shifted for you, it is Hobson's engine choice. 

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Both engines are fairly hushed at tickover and at lower revs, but both tend to generate quite a lot of harsh vibrations when revved hard. Still, because they both develop reasonably strong mid-range torque and are geared in such a way to aid easy driveability, they seldom need to be overworked.

In all, the T-Cross is an extremely civilised car and although it is probably happiest doing the everyday stuff, like buzzing you to the shops or tackling the school run, should the occasion arise, it will get you to the other end of the country in reasonably relaxed fashion. 

It is also a pretty engaging car to drive. Along with plenty of grip and neatly controlled body movements, the steering efforts are very well judged, providing good feedback in corners and a secure, planted feel on the motorway.

Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 115 SEL six-speed manual  

P11D: £21,430 

Residual value: 41.7%

Depreciation: £12,505

Fuel: £6,852

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,722

Cost per mile: 48.3p

Fuel consumption: 47.9mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 112g/km (26%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £93/£186

Boot space: 455 litres

Engine size/power: 999cc/115hp


Verdict


8/10
  • Strong three-cylinder engines
  • Light and easy to drive
  • Looks and feels expensive.
  • Engines can get harsh with higher revs
  • No diesel option.

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