Volkswagen T-Cross review - Interior, design and technology
Some rivals are more funky to look at, but the T-Cross cabin is smart and the in-car tech is great
According to Volkswagen, the T-Cross is intended to sport a more funky design than the brand’s larger SUVs. There are elements inspired by the rest of the VW family, such as the side crease that’s reminiscent of the Polo supermini, and the foglight surrounds mimic those on the T-Roc small SUV. Meanwhile, the full-width reflector around the back is designed to emphasise the car’s width.
In a class that’s full of quirky, colourful and interesting designs, the T-Cross is not the most eye-catching small SUV around, but it looks smart in a way that is sure to appeal to Volkswagen’s fan base. If you do want to liven things up a bit, the T-Cross is available in bold Makena Turquoise and Energetic Orange hues, as well as the usual array of white, grey and black paint options. Three new colours – Grape Yellow, Clear Blue Metallic and Kings Red Metallic – will be added to the selection when the facelifted T-Cross goes on sale in the UK.
Inside, the dashboard layout is almost identical to that of the closely related Polo. That means there’s a large infotainment display sitting above a pair of central air vents, simple, logical control layouts and an attractive steering wheel design. In entry-level Move trim models, the upholstery is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles and polyester, and there’s a bit of silver trim across the dash that’s a bit more jazzy than the darker panels of the higher-spec cars.
Car group tests
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Used car tests
The majority of the T-Cross line-up, including the base model, comes with an eight-inch digital driver’s display, while the range-topping R-Line gets a 10.3-inch digital cockpit instead. This allows the driver to customise the information presented, choosing a regular-looking speedometer and rev counter, or prioritising trip or navigation readouts. The graphics are sharp, and while it isn’t completely essential, it does make the cabin feel more high-tech than those of many rivals.
There’s little in the way of soft-touch plastic: the large expanse along the top of the dashboard is hard and scratchy, unlike in the Polo, where it’s made of a softer, rubberised material. The cabin doesn’t feel as premium as the Renault Captur or Peugeot 2008’s, but it’s all logically laid out and the T-Cross does feature physical climate controls for the climate, which we’re always fond of.
While the dash design is pretty much the same as the Polo’s, the driver gets a better view of the road ahead, thanks to a hip point located 100mm higher than in the supermini.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Every model in the T-Cross range comes with an eight-inch touchscreen as standard. In the Move model, this includes Bluetooth and a DAB radio, but no built-in satellite navigation, which is a £960 option unless you stretch to an SEL or R-Line model. However, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard-fit, so we don’t expect many people will bother forking over the extra cash, and just use Google Maps instead.
The infotainment system itself is still one of the best in its class to use. The graphics look clear and sharp, while the touch-sensitive shortcut buttons that surround the display are big enough to not be distracting on the move. The two physical dials – one for volume, one to adjust the navigation zoom – are quite small and fiddly, though.
Programming the navigation system is easy, thanks to a large on-screen keyboard. Loading times are quick enough, and it’s possible to pinch and swipe on the display if you want to preview a route.
The audio experience is the one area of the VW infotainment system that lets the side down. Sound quality from the standard speakers is nothing better than okay; the speakers lack clarity and punch. A six-speaker Beats sound system is among the optional extras available, though.
In this review
- 1Volkswagen T-Cross reviewThe 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 technology - currently readingSome rivals are more funky to look at, but the T-Cross cabin is smart and the in-car tech is great
- 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, and reliability should prove to be solid