In-depth reviews

Volkswagen T-Cross review - Engines, performance and drive

Simple engine lineup works well; driving experience safe and easy rather than thrilling

As with most new Volkswagen models, the T-Cross is a car that you can just get into and instantly feel comfortable with. All of the control weights are nicely matched to one another; the clutch engages smoothly when you press the pedal, the throttle response is linear, and the steering is light and precise. Throw in the compact dimensions, and the T-Cross causes little stress when driving around town.

Head out onto the open road, and the handling is safe rather than thrilling. There’s plenty of grip and the balance is neutral, but the steering offers little in the way of feedback. The higher centre of gravity is noticeable when compared to the Polo on which the T-Cross is based, but this is more than balanced out by the fact that the high driving position gives improved visibility.

The ride is smoother than in a SEAT Arona, but the 18-inch wheels of R-Line models make the T-Cross fidget over low speed bumps more than the smaller wheel sizes. The big wheels increase road noise too, so while it’s not bad for the class, refinement is better with the 17-inch wheels on a motorway cruise. The brakes, meanwhile, feel strong and inspire plenty of confidence for emergency stops.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The T-Cross engine lineup is fairly straightforward: there’s a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine offered in two power outputs (94bhp and 113bhp), a 1.5-litre petrol unit with 148bhp and a 1.6 TDI diesel with 94bhp. Both 94bhp petrol and diesel models are available with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 113bhp petrol version has a six-speed manual - all have the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission, which is standard for the 148bhp variant.

The lesser petrol model is okay - particularly if you only intend to drive around town. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds, and pulls smoothly from around 2,000rpm, even in fifth gear. It will struggle below that point, so steep uphill sections on a country road may need a downshift. Officially, top speed stands at 112mph.

For most people, we’d recommend the more powerful 113bhp unit. At 200Nm, its torque maximum is 25Nm higher than the cheaper model, and is available across the same rev range. It’s a similar story when it comes to power: both variants hit their power peak at 5,000rpm, but the 113bhp unit can maintain its figure for a further 500 revs. As a result, the “bigger” engine feels stronger at any speed, as shown by its 10.2-second 0-62mph time and 120mph maximum. That acceleration time is the same whether you choose the manual or the auto gearbox.

Both the five and six-speed manual boxes shift smoothly and are paired to a light clutch pedal which makes traffic driving easy. The DSG, on the other hand, isn’t the best in the business: it can be jerky when parking, and is often slow to kick down when accelerating out of a corner. 

Most Popular

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review
Porsche Macan prototype - front
Porsche Macan

New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a prototype version of the facelifted Porsche Macan SUV
13 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland

Nissan will offer every school child in the North East of England a place on the Nissan Skills Foundation course to mark 35 years of manufacturing in …
14 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development

The Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype will be assessed for off-road and long-range zero-emission motoring
14 Jun 2021