Volkswagen T-Cross review
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a competent small SUV, but it’s relatively expensive and lacks pizzazz
The T-Cross is among the most accomplished compact crossovers in its class. Its strong points include a versatile cabin complete with a sliding rear bench seat; and an engine lineup which, while small, manages to combine more than adequate performance with decent fuel economy.
However, in a class where eye-catching design really helps rivals stand out, the T-Cross is perhaps a little too sensible – particularly inside. It just doesn’t feel as special as some of the alternatives. Refinement is good, but the T-Cross is neither the sharpest car of its type to drive nor the most comfortable.
It’s a similar story on price with the best of the VW’s rivals undercutting it. So, overall, while the T-Cross enters the small SUV category as one of the strongest competitors, it’s not quite capable of hitting the top of the class.
About the VW T-Cross
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a small SUV that was first revealed as a concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show; the production T-Cross is Volkswagen’s contribution to the hugely popular small SUV segment and went on sale in March 2019.
Rivals include the Citroen C3 Aircross, Renault Captur and Mazda CX-3, as well as the other similarly sized models within the Volkswagen Group: the Seat Arona, Audi Q2 and Skoda Kamiq. The T-Cross is the smallest of the five SUVs in Volkswagen’s range, sitting below the T-Roc, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and Touareg.
The VW T-Cross is powered by either a 1.0- or 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine, with 94bhp and 113bhp, respectively, while there's also a single 1.6 TDI diesel unit available with 94bhp.
The usual Volkswagen trim line-up applies. S kicks off the range and brings a decent – but by no means exceptional – level of standard equipment, with 16-inch alloys, cloth upholstery, manual seat adjustment and an eight-inch infotainment system with DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Manual air conditioning, all-round electric windows and start-stop are also included, as is Volkswagen Connect – the German brand’s connectivity system that allows the monitoring of various car functions via a phone app, plus 24-hour access to a customer service helpline. You also get Lane Assist and City Emergency Braking.
Step up to SE and you get 17-inch alloys, front fog lights, black roof rails, a front centre armrest with air-con vents for the rear cabin, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a variable boot floor, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Rain sensing wipers and adaptive cruise control with AEB also feature at this level along with ‘Car-Net App Connect’ – an improved phone connectivity and mirroring system.
Next up is the Active with navigation plus all-round parking sensors, a styling pack and heated front seats. VW has also recently introduced a Black Edition that has a similar spec to the Active, but with moody blacked-out design details.
The SEL trim level adds slightly more supportive seats, different 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, silver roof rails, two-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, plus an uprated infotainment system. Top-spec R-line adds 18-inch alloys, a host of interior and exterior styling upgrades and a standard 10.3-inch Active Info Display digital instrument system.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volkswagen T-Cross is a competent small SUV, but it’s relatively expensive and lacks pizzazz
- 2Engines, performance and driveSimple engine lineup works well; driving experience safe and easy rather than thrilling
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsDecent fuel economy and solid residual values point to the T-Cross being reasonable to run
- 4Interior, design and technologySome rivals are more funky to look at, but the T-Cross cabin is smart and the in-car tech is class-leading
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceCubby-filled, spacious cabin made even more versatile thanks to a sliding rear bench seat
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe T-Cross features good levels of standard safety kit, while reliability should prove to be solid