VW’s T-Cross ready to take on crossover segment

The Volkswagen brand is on a roll, in terms of its global product assault, however, the German automaker has been quiet from a local perspective in 2019.

It recently ended its short-term product drought with what I consider to be one of its most important model introductions in years, the T-Cross. I travelled down to the Western Cape recently to sample the newcomer.

Crossover styling

The T-Cross is most certainly recognisable as a part of the Volkswagen SUV family from an aesthetics perspective, with a familiar front grille, the long, flat headlights, as well as the fog lamps with integrated daytime LEDs, are reminiscent of the like of the upcoming T-Roc and current Tiguan and Touareg models. The side profile of the newcomer features two strong lines that run from the A-pillar to all the way through to the rear taillamps. There are a variety of wheel and tyre options, some which include body-coloured alloy wheels which allow your T-Cross to look overly sporty or understated, depending on your preference. The rear-end features a large LED light bar that extends from the left to the right-hand side and also houses the Volkswagen logo while the lower half of the bumper creates a slightly more rugged look.

Premium interior

The interior of the T-Cross is where I was most impressed in terms of its design and quality. It can be rather bright inside with the design package specified, with the option of having a rather vibrant orange interior colour which matches the seat material and pattern. There’s also the option of ambient lighting, allowing for more colour to fill the cabin. In terms of infotainment, the 6.5-inch Composition is standard on the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline while the Discover Media item is an optional extra on the latter. The Volkswagen Active Info Display is also an option on the Comfortline and Highline models.


As is to be expected, the brand’s smallest SUV is based upon the latest generation Polo’s MQB platform; however, it is 54mm longer, 138mm taller, has a marginally longer wheelbase and is around 80kg heavier, depending on the specification selected. The obvious drawcard for buyers is the raised ride height, which appears to give consumers more confidence or allow them to feel more imposing than other road users, which may explain the explosion in SUV sales over the past decade. The T-Cross features a handy 385-litres of boot space too, some 30-litres more than in the Polo along with a more practically-shaped loading bay. That being said, the T-Cross is most certainly more a four-seater, with five occupants likely resulting in a  bit of a squeeze in the second row.


For now, the T-Cross range is available with one engine and gearbox combination, which has already proven a successful recipe in the new Polo. Unfortunately, for those looking for a compact crossover with the proverbial ‘bundu bashing’ credentials, the T-Cross is only available with front-wheel drive, making this more of a city slicker than an off-road adventurer. The engine in question is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol unit which produces 85kW and 200 N.m of torque. The engine is best described as sufficient, despite some turbo lag low down in the rev range, while the seven-speed DSG gearbox is as sublime as ever. The engine and gearbox combined with respectable handling, great on-road refinement and very little road noise, making the T-Cross a fantastic daily companion.

Claimed fuel consumption is rated at 4.9-litres/100km, which I didn’t find was realistically achievable, with a figure of around 6.0-litres/100km being realistic. Performance is adequate, with 100km/h coming up in 10.2 seconds and the top speed is 193 km/h.

2020 additions to the range

Volkswagen has confirmed that there will be two lower output 70kW manual versions in both Trendline and Comfortline specifications launched in the second quarter of 2020. The Trendline variant is set to retail for around R300 000, making the T-Cross a rather attainable prospect considering the upward swing in vehicle pricing. Also destined for local shores in 2020 is the flagship 1.5-litre TSI version of the T-Cross, complete with 110kW of power, the sporty R-Line design treatment inside and out, LED headlights and taillights, the Composition Media infotainment system and 18-inch ‘Nevada’ alloy wheels.


I was expecting to be impressed by the T-Cross, and all things considered, I feel that it delivers the compact crossover goods. It is reasonably priced, well built, is well packaged, relatively practical and the perfect vehicle type for current automotive trends. Expect to see many of these on our local roads in the near future.

Service plan and warranty

All T-Cross models come with a three-year/ 120 000km warranty as well as a three-year/ 45 000km service plan.


T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline DSG R334 600

T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline R-Line DSG R352 450

T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline DSG R365 000

T-Cross 1.5 TSI R-Line DSG (March 2020) R403 500


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