Volkswagen T-Cross: A little different

SUVs are the contemporary vehicle configuration de jour. Volkswagen’s newest and smallest addition to its SUV line-up – the T-Cross – is a great example of how the brand continues to pinpoint audiences with more specific offerings in an evolving automotive landscape.

For a couple of years now if you wanted a Volkswagen SUV that sat slightly below the popular Tiguan in price and dimensions, the great looking T-Roc filled that niche quite well. So well in fact, sales in this country have exceeded Volkswagen New Zealand’s allocation.

But even with the T-Roc client base placated, there remains yet another sub-set of buyers looking for something specific: those who appreciate the stance and practicality of an SUV but don’t really need the huge engine and presence to do long-haul running. Enter the T-Cross. 

Based largely on the Polo platform – albeit 54mm longer and with a higher ride height – the T-Cross looks great with styling accents that make it stand out inside and out. 

It might feature chunky crease lines and roof rails, but it isn’t designed to replace a rugged off-roader. Rather, the latest Volkswagen to hit the market here is an urban city car that offers the driver a sense of security and visibility on our ever-busier roads. 

While the T-Cross’ exterior dimensions aren’t overwhelming, itinterior space remains generous thanks to a sliding rear seat configuration that delivers 455-litres of boot space with the seats upright and in the forward positionor a surprising 1281-litres of space when folded. 

You also won’t feel short-changed in the interior features with all but the entry-level TSI ‘Life’ specification receiving a brilliant 10-inch, high resolution Active Info display in the instrument binnacle, just like you get in Volkswagen’s larger SUVs. This is of course over and above the central 8-inch infotainment touch screen that is standard across the board. 

The Active Info Display affords the driver a full screen view of the Sat Nav map alongside digital read-outs of all critical vehicle information right in front of them. Coupled with wireless phone charging on all models, Android Auto and Apple Carplay and phone mirroring and voice control from the TSI ‘Style’ specification onward, the T-Cross’ multimedia specification is impressive. 

Underneath the bonnet, the T-Cross is motivated by a 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine, producing 85kW at 5000rpm. The turbo produces a good amount of all-important torque lower down in the rev range and the 7-speed DSG gearbox makes the best use of the smaller engine for most driving situations. Naturally, it’s also very efficient with combined fuel economy of 5.4-litres per 100km. 

If you do have a hankering for more, performance from the range-topping 110kW/250Nm T-Cross R-Line certainly won’t disappoint for a vehicle of this size. 

No matter what model within the range you opt for, it’s great to know safety is uncompromised and Volkswagen New Zealand has ensured all models receive plenty of premium safety features. These include lane assist (lane keeping system), blind spot monitoring, a tyre pressure loss indicator, pedestrian and cyclist monitoring system, driver fatigue monitoring, autonomous forward collision warning and emergency braking.  

Even the anxiety of parallel parking is eliminated with the T-Cross’ autonomous park assist system. These are features that many larger and pricier cars still don’t always offer; seeing them on a vehicle starting at $34,240 plus ORCs is impressive. 

Thanks to evolving production techniques the T-Cross is a solid example of how Volkswagen is tailoring models at an increasingly granular level to its customers. This is more than a Polo in hiking boots; the T-Cross is a model all its own and, as the success of its bigger T-Roc sibling has shown, will prove popular with the evolving Kiwi car buyer. 

The Volkswagen T-Cross is available to sample now in four distinct specifications: 

TSI Life DSG - $34,240 plus ORCs 

TSI Style DSG - $38,490 plus ORCs 

TSI ‘1st Edition’ DSG - $39,990 plus ORCs 

TSI R-Line DSG - $43,490 plus ORCs 

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