Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI R-Line Review
T-Cross The Universe

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
28 Nov 2020
 

How About Passenger Accommodation? Pretty good actually...

Well… we have been waiting in anticipation for this one from the peeps at Volkswagen! Their T-Cross compact SUV is finally here! 

Although this is Volkswagen’s smallest SUV on offer here, there is plenty that the T-Cross offers, in-terms of versatility and people-carrying space.

Those who do follow the brand, would know that the T-Cross is built on the VW group’s MQB-A0 underpinnings intended for their small cars; which also forms the foundations for the Polo supermini. The T-Cross is in no way like how Volkswagen previously created a small SUV by slapping on some extra bits of kit on the previous Polo, and then raising its height.

Volkswagen’s new car is a boxier-upright affair, and shares a good few styling cues with its Touareg flagship SUV, especially in its side sculpting. Personally, I was taken aback by the size of the T-Cross. While it is their smallest SUV, it does seem larger than expected in the flesh. That said, it still does share the same 2,551mm wheelbase as the Polo. For those who like a little play with colour, its 17” ‘Manila’ alloy wheels can even be specced in a matching colour scheme, relative to the car you pick.

The T-Cross also symbolises the emergence of a new Volkswagen, as it is the first car here to be badged their new simplified logo.

Inside

The Touareg-inspiration does not just end with the exterior. The dashboard which has a shaped black panel which encompasses the 8” infotainment touchscreen and 10.25” Active Info Display (instrument panel), are styled as a cross between the both the Polo and Touareg. 

Depending on which of the three design packages you pick, you can have the dash in easy-to-accept black, or even decked out with funky orange accents.

As you would expect out of a Volkswagen, build quality, fit and finish are very good. Buttons seem to have a bit of padding under them as you depress them; a pleasant touch. The infotainment system’s App-Connect ensures easy mobile phone connectivity, while navigation of its menu is made even easier, with it recognising left/right sweeping hand gestures. For those who have compatible mobile phones, the T-Cross is equipped with a charging pad to keep your device juiced up.

While with the T-Cross, Volkswagen seems to be looking to the future, and is equipped with newer USB-C ports; I do wish that they had included just one USB-A port, just in-case you do have a need for some backward compatibility.

As the T-Cross here is only available in their highest R-Line trim, it is equipped with their premium Beats audio system, which features an 8-channel amplifier with 300 watts of output, and a subwoofer stowed away under the boot board.

How About Passenger Accommodation?

Pretty good actually. Volkswagen had designed the T-Cross to provide passengers with an elevated seating position. Front passengers sit 597mm above the road, while those at the rear, slightly higher 652mm. Even with its compact dimensions, rear legroom for adults is quite excellent, with my 172cm frame being accommodated with ease, with heaps of head room, and quite a good number of inches of wriggle room before my knees would even touch the back of the front seat.

Versatility has also been well-thought out. You get 385 litres of boot space, that can easily be expanded up to 455 litres simply with sliding the rear bench forward by up to 14cm. Doing this allows you to have more cargo room, while still being able to accommodate up to three at the rear. With the 60:40 rear seats folded, cargo room can be increased up to 1,281 litres, the largest in this segment. Volkswagen has also offered buyers the potion of a flat-folding front passenger seat backrest, to create even more cargo space. Think bicycles… think of the As-Is section in Ikea with its fully-assembled bargains! If especially the latter sits well with you, you know that you are onto something here.

The Drive

Like the Polo, the T-Cross gets Volkswagen’s 1.0 3-cylinder turbocharged engine, which is also seen in many of the group’s smaller vehicles. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a 7-speed DSG.

The T-Cross performs well, be it tackling steep inclines or simply cruising. The earlier gears in the transmission are set lower, intended for exploiting the narrow 1,500prm maximum torque curve from between 2,000 to 3,500rpm, while the higher gears are made for highway cruising. That said, there is a tendency for the transmission to want to switch-up a little earlier than I would like, and quite often that results in some trummy exhaust resonance intruding into the cabin, while you are cruising down the highway at our moderate expressway speeds. Fuel efficiency is claimed at a lab-tested 19.2km/l, while I did manage around 17.5km/l, but with some considerable start-stop, and a relatively heavy right foot.

My shakedown around some twisty roads reveals a composed car that is quite engaging to drive. Body roll seems quite minimal, especially given the T-Cross’ height. Its front-end ducks quite willingly into turns, and perhaps the lighter 3-cylinder, as compared to a 4-banger affair does have its advantages here. The suspension, which is a MacPherson front and simple torsion rear, does a good job in soaking up the bumps, with just enough firmness for you to get your cornering kicks.

Convenience features to aid in parking the small SUV in the form of Park Assist with Park Distance Control and a Rear-view camera, are included to make the easy-to-pilot T-Cross just that little bit easier to drive.

Passenger safety has also been taken into consideration, like a 6-airbag system, and a Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which holds onto the brakes, designed to prevent the risk of secondary collisions, in the event of a rear-end collision; and as a mark of confidence, the T-Cross is awarded a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

Our Thoughts

The Volkswagen T-Cross has got plenty going for it, but it does come at a price. A launch special, which sees $10,000 knocked off the list price, means that prices begin from $118,900, which is still not chump change. However, all models come in the top-of-the-range R-Line trim package; Beats audio included.

Buyers have 8 exterior colours to choose from, Makena Turquoise, Energetic Orange, Pale Copper, Reef Blue, Reflex Silver, Limestone Grey, Deep Black and Pure White.

Three design packages are also available in Black, Energetic Orange and Bamboo Garden Green, which boasts special design features inside and out… that is if you like a car that is more expressive. If you are into strong colours, the Energetic Orange variant does feature bold orange finishes on the central consoles, seat covers, steering wheel, exterior mirror housings, and even on the wheels.

In Summary

We Like

Composed and planted around the bends, even for its height. Excellent packaging. Bold styling is a hit.

We Don't

Gearbox likes to shift up too early, resulting in some low frequency exhaust resonance which intrudes into the cabin.

Verdict

The Volkswagen T-Cross is a fresh, new SUV, best enjoyed in a relaxed manner. Bold colours make the T-Cross pop. Versatility is another strong point, and cargo-carrying ability is about as best it gets in its class.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 999cc
Engine Type Inline 3
Power 115bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 200Nm @ 1400rpm

Performance

Acceleration 10.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 193 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 19.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4,235 x 1,799 x 1,584) mm
Wheelbase 2551 mm

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs