Volkswagen T-Cross

R-Line 1.0 TSI

Volkswagen T-Cross, front
Volkswagen T-Cross, profile
Volkswagen T-Cross, rear
Volkswagen T-Cross, dynamic
Volkswagen T-Cross, boot
Volkswagen T-Cross, interior

I USED to joke about SUVs getting ever smaller, suggesting that one day there might well be a smart fortwo SUV at the severely scaled-down end of the spectrum.

That might not have happened but SUVs continue to proliferate in all shapes and sizes meaning there are now a whole raft of super-small options to choose from.

The T-Cross is Volkswagen's smallest SUV yet and is perhaps best described as an SUV or crossover version of the Polo. It sits on the same underpinnings and it does really feel very much like a crossover version of a Polo, or even a Golf.

Bearing in mind a current Polo is much more like a Golf once was size-wise, in reality it doesn't actually feel that small at all.

Although the term city SUV hasn't been coined yet it is one that might attach itself well to the T-Cross.

It has some of those familiar SUV styling touches, such as elevated ride height and chunky looks but this is very much a city car and for the time being at least is only available in two-wheel drive form.

Being a Volkswagen it is also exceptionally well built, characterised by exemplary quality throughout, meaning it has much more of a big car feel than one might imagine.

My time driving it coincided with a time which involved clocking-up a lot of miles and a real mixed bag of motoring it was too.

It encompassed the urban commute, leisurely driving on empty B roads, long journeys on the motorway and a little more congested city driving than I would have liked.

What I liked about the T-Cross though was it was a car that felt exceptionally comfortable and composed, no matter what it was asked to do.

Looks-wise it's fairly simple and straightforward but is also classy, tidy and smart.

The cabin feels roomy and open, to the point where the T-Cross feels very much up to the mark as a family car if it needs to be.

There's a clever touch in the shape of a sliding rear bench which means you can choose between extra boot space or additional legroom for rear seat passengers.

Push it all the way back and there's 385 litres of carrying capacity, while fully forward it offers 455 litres. With the rear seats folded down there's 1,281 litres of space.

As said already everything feels high quality, particularly the instrumentation and switchgear.

As with many smaller cars choices are relatively simple, particularly when it comes to engines, at least for now.

There are two power variants of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit offering either 95ps or 115ps.

It's an impressive engine in either form and is a smooth and refined unit that defies its small capacity to really deliver throughout the rev range. I never found it lacking in the wide variety of driving conditions I encountered.

Price-wise the T-Cross is competitive, with the range starting at £16,995 for an entry-level S model with the 95ps engine and in reality it's probably possible to pick one up for around £1,000 less than that.

The range goes all the way up to this model, an R-Line powered by the 115ps engine mated to the seven-speed DSG gearbox.

It has a more executive looking list price of £25,055. In between the S and R-Line are SE and SEL trims.

On the infotainment front an eight-inch colour touchscreen comes as a standard T-Cross feature, along with a USB connection, Bluetooth and DAB radio.

You'll need to move up to SEL to get an inbuilt sat-nav but SE trim adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

This means you can use your apps through the touchscreen, including sat-nav.

I loved the way I was able to hear text and WhatsApp messages via my iPhone and could reply to them while on the move by simply speaking.

All versions of the T-Cross have a comprehensive list of safety systems including automatic emergency call.

It's something that can be specified as an option on SE and SEL versions but R-Line models come with the Active Info Display feature as standard.

Conventional analogue instruments are replaced with a 10.3-inch TFT screen in front of the driver. It is both a useful and informative feature that once you've got to grips with really assists the driving process. You can display the sat-nav map on it and do lots more besides.

Given its relatively compact dimensions the T-Cross feels commendably car-like to drive and although the driving position feels high off the ground there's little in the way of pitch and roll.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen T-Cross R-Line 1.0 TSI

Price: £25,055

Mechanical: 115ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 120mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 112g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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