Volkswagen T-Cross

SE 1.0 TSI

VW T-Cross, front action
VW T-Cross, front action 2
VW T-Cross, side action
VW T-Cross, rear action 2
VW T-Cross, dashboard
VW T-Cross, front seats
VW T-Cross, rear action
VW T-Cross, boot

CALL me hopeless, but reversing a car without parking peepers or rear view camera makes me look like a nervous driving test novice.

Talk about leading a pampered life! Why, some of today's cleverer cars reverse park themselves if asked politely.

But not the smallest SUV in the VW stable; the T-Cross demands some manual action if you're not to hit the wall behind - or apply the handbrake with several embarrassing feet left between bumper and bump.

A red face could have been spared on this car with a reasonable £265 worth of reversing camera option, producing a car as easy to drive backwards as it proved to be for several hundred miles of forward motion.

Heading towards the horizon in post-Covid lockdown release revealed a car that might be identified as a VW Group product with your eyes closed (but don't try it, please), thanks to the crisply easy way everything works.

So, the steering is smooth and light, the clutch effortless and the gearchange as crisp as they come. Only the gently over-sensitive brakes took some getting used to.

The little three-cylinder petrol engine pulls with gusto and is near silent at sensible speeds. It also bettered the official economy figure, with 49.4mpg showing on the easily read instrument panel.

Available from £16,995, the T-Cross is a smidgen larger than the VW Polo, with which it shares many mechanical parts but looks the SUV act with a chunky, taller body for that theoretical off-road feel buyers in this part of the market find engaging.

That tempting bottom line (which tops out with a £26,740 T-Cross) brings a cockpit with lots of solid, last-forever plastic but not much in terms of plushness. More down to earth than haute couture, but promising to stand up to anything a family can throw at it.

There's enough room for mum, dad and the kids in seats that are firmly shaped for long-drive comfort and with a rear bench that slides forward a little to enlarge the already usefully sized boot, or rearward to let adults in the back gently stretch their legs.

Beneath the boot floor sits a can of tyre sealant which for £115 can be replaced with a proper compact spare wheel and - generous to a T-Cross - a 'free took kit for the spare wheel'. Money well spent, I'd say.

This car came in SE spec, the most popular trim in the range and decently kitted out as standard. Key features include manual air conditioning, one touch electric windows all round, adaptive cruise control, auto dimming rear view mirror and DAB sound system with Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto installed.

The car added a fine sat nav (£735), wireless phone charging (£105), carpet mats (£95) and heated front seats and windscreen washer jets (£305). Missing, thankfully, was the extra cost Energetic Orange finish to alloy wheels and car interior you see in the car pictured here.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen T-Cross SE 1.0 TSI

Price: £20,210

Mechanical: 94bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 11.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.9

Insurance Group: 8

C02 emissions: 135g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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