Volkswagen T-Cross review
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a competent small SUV, but others offer better value
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.
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.
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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.
The 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 seats, a leather 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.
Volkswagen has also introduced the mid-spec United equipment level. It is based on the SE trim and adds heated seats, front and rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass and unique badging and interior decorative inserts in the dash and door panels.
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 with sat-nav. An upgraded Car-Net service is also included.
Top-spec R-line adds 18-inch alloys and a host of interior and exterior styling upgrades and a standard 10.3-inch Active Info Display digital instrument system.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volkswagen T-Cross is a competent small SUV, but others offer better value
- 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