By Maggie Barry on 2020-03-07 - Experienced car journalist.
SE 1.6 TDI
VOLKSWAGEN is the world's top selling marque. Last year it beat all comers and provided more vehicles to more people across the world than any other brand.
With its problems apparently safely behind it, the company is now looking to the future with two production lines working in tandem - one for internal combustion engine cars and the other for its new ID electric car range.
So organised is VW, that should demand increase in either sector, it will simply shift focus from one to the other.
"Our scale is our strength," commented Mike Orford of Volkswagen.
So too is their line-up with Golf and Polo regularly in the top ten cars in the UK but models like T-Roc, Tiguan and the one I am driving today, the T-Cross, increasing in popularity.
The T-Cross is a small crossover slightly bigger than the Polo but smaller than the T-Roc which of course makes it an ideal car for city driving.
It is also more than a step away from the image of VW as a no nonsense car manufacturer that focuses particularly on reliability for the T-Cross is fun and perky to drive.
It is less than a year old and is the smallest SUV in the company's line-up with a vibrant palette of colour choices to match its personality. It sits cheekily on the driveway with a neat nose, pretty alloys and a sporty antenna at the rear.
Inside there are five seats and the rear three fold down for extra luggage space - a total of 1,281 litres.
The dash is clean and uncluttered with simple controls that mask the fact the T-Cross comes well equipped in the tech department. There is Bluetooth, DAB, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and not only USB and aux-in charging in the front but two USB ports in the rear too. For an extra Â£725 you get VW's excellent sat nav.
Until now, the T-Cross has been exclusively petrol-driven but the company have recently added a 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine which fairly pushes this little car along.
The five-speed manual gearbox is slick and easy to use and the T-Cross is just a joy to throw around country roads. Its size, however, means it is also easy to park and manoeuvre even in the tightest of spaces.
It also boasts a load of driver assistance features like blind spot detection, front assist and pedestrian monitoring, city emergency braking, hill start assist and many more.
There's adaptive cruise control and emergency e-call, an emergency alert should you get into trouble.
While the diesel engine is certainly a boon for anyone expecting to do long distances in this car, for those who just want to use it as a city runner, there are two turbo charged 1.0-litre petrol engines with particulate filters to keep down emissions.
The T-Cross is fun and stylish and offers enough load flexibility to make it attractive to singletons, young families or those who are downsizing.
Volkswagen T-Cross SE 1.6 TDI
Mechanical: 95ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 111mph
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 52.9
Insurance Group: n/a
C02 emissions: 110g/km
Bik rating: 30%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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