Dotting your i’s and crossing your T’s, Volkswagen’s smart compact SUV

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I guess you could say that Volkswagen’s T-Cross is “trending” in the local car world! Let me contextualise my statement – the T–Cross, by virtue of is successful sales volumes, is knocking the ball out the court. At my last check in October, VW sold 1132 units of its new kid on the block. This is the brand’s 3rd best-selling vehicle after their Polo Vivo and Polo models. The T–Cross, with October sales in consideration, took 20.6% of the market share within its category. Considering there is over a dozen compact SUV/Crossover options available, I’d hazard a guess that the T–Cross is now the market leader within that segment.

Let’s see if they can keep it up!

Volkswagen should be able to – currently, there is only one engine variant available with two other options arriving next year – an entry-level and flagship model. More options people, and a great entry-level price point of just under R300k.

So, for now, there is the happy mid-point – the 1.0 TSI engine, with 85kW, in two trim levels - the Comfortline and the fancier Highline (my test car was a Highline). Both are mated to an outstanding 7-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox (DSG). The entry-level T-Cross uses the same engine, only detuned 70kW.  The flagship model is a 1.5 TSI engine with a peppy 110kW of power, in R-Line garb.

Basically, an SUV version of the Polo, the T-Cross is bigger – taller, wider and longer than the standard Polo. It’s actually similar in size to the Golf, only taller. It also shares the same modular platform with both its family members, the MQB platform. As a result, that means the T-Cross is light on its feet, reassured on the road and very easy to drive. The suspension is slightly firm, which gives the T-Cross the courage to take a corner with zest and come out the other end with no difficulty. Both the engine and automatic gearbox are highlights of the package. So good, the T-Cross feels like it is cut from a pricier cloth. Refinement abounds in the drive of the T-Cross - the engine is silent and happy to be revved at any range while the gearbox does an almost non-detectable job of splicing through gears. Steering is light with a little feedback, brakes affirmative and acceleration from the 85kW motor adequate. In fact, power is perfect for the needs of the city while remaining frugal. It is basically a win-win situation. 

The interior is ergonomically well-designed – everything makes sense and the layout is functional. The inclusion of digital instrumentation and an easy-to-use touch-screen infotainment system modernize an otherwise plain interior – it’s more function over form, unfortunately. Almost perfect but not completely. I also found the hard-scratchy plastics a letdown that lowers an otherwise fantastic package.

With a basket full of competitors, all of which I have driven, I’d put a stake in the ground and say we have a class-leading vehicle with this new T-Cross. In many aspects, the T-Cross stands head and shoulders above most of its rivals and by including the entry-level and flagship models, the range is hard to beat.

In fact, I’d be conflicted in deciding which model to purchase – do you go for the 1.0 TSI 85kW Highline or 1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line, which is R38 500 pricier? Considering the fact that my test car came with a removable tow bar, keyless entry, a Beats sound system, a fancy park package and an infotainment package, some of which are standard on the 1.5 TSI model, these mentioned extras amount to an additional of R49 550; it makes no sense!

Here is an outline of the range toppers standard equipment: Sports Seats, Driving Profile Selection, Climatronic Aircon, LED Headlights and Taillights, Composition Media with App-Connect, R-Line interior and exterior with 18-inch ‘Nevada’ alloy wheels, digital Active Info Display and a choice of eight exterior colours. Up to four USB ports and the standard inductive wireless charging ensure optimum connectivity and sufficient power for smartphones.

Optional extras include; Design Package in Energetic Orange, beats® sound system (300-watt, 8-channel amplifier and a separate subwoofer in the luggage compartment), Discover Media (includes Navigation), Park Assist (includes Rearview Camera and Powerfold Mirrors), Adaptive Cruise Control (includes Blind Spot Monitor, Foldable Mirrors, Lane Assist and Front Assist), Keyless Entry, Removable Towbar and Titanium Black-Energetic Orange seats, titanium black instrument panel, black carpets and ceramic headliner.

Plus +

  • Classy
  • Well made
  • Refined
  • Engine
  • Gearbox

Minus –

  • Horrible interior plastics
  • Plane dashboard layout


The competition

Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, Honda BR-V/HR-V, Hyundai Creta/Kona, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Qashqai, Opel Crossland X, Peugeot 2008, Renault Duster/Captur, Suzuki Vitara and Toyota Rush/C-HR.



1.0 TSI 85kW Comfortline DSG®     R334 600

1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG®          R365 000

1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG®           R403 500



Service and warranty

The T-Cross comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty,  a 3 year/ 45 000km Volkswagen Service Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service interval is 15 000km.



My Choice

1.0 TSI 85kW Comfortline DSG®    R334 600



1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG®          R403 500


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