Volkswagen T-Cross review
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a competent small SUV, but it’s relatively expensive and lacks pizzazz
The Volkswagen T-Cross has all the fundamentals to provide stiff competition in the compact crossover segment. Among its many attributes are a practical cabin with a sliding rear bench seat, and a strong engine line-up, which provides enough performance and decent fuel-efficiency. However, it’s not quite capable of toppling the best in the class.
Many of the T-Cross’ rivals are much more eye-catching, for instance. The VW is rather plain inside and out, and as a result lacks the fun-factor most alternatives offer. It’s as refined as you’d expect of a VW, although the T-Cross isn’t the most exciting behind the wheel.
We used to hold the VW’s expensive price tag against it as well, as it was often undercut by its competitors. VW addressed this by introducing a new entry-level Move model, which is now our pick of the range. Partly due to its cheaper price, but it’s also well equipped; so well in fact it makes the more expensive specifications on offer look a bit redundant.
Our choice: Volkswagen T-Cross Move
About the VW T-Cross
The Volkswagen T-Cross started from a rather left-field concept called the Breeze that was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The Breeze looked pretty much identical to the production-spec T-Cross, aside from not having a roof. The T-Roc Convertible filled VW’s drop-top SUV niche a few years later, however, and the T-Cross took on the popular small SUV segment, first going on sale in March 2019. A facelifted T-Cross has also been unveiled, and is set to arrive in the UK in early 2024.
Rivals include the Citroen C3 Aircross, Renault Captur, Nissan Juke, Toyota Yaris Cross and Peugeot 2008, as well as the other similarly sized models from within the Volkswagen Group: the Seat Arona and Skoda Kamiq. The higher-spec SEL and R-Line versions of the T-Cross are even priced as rivals to our reigning Car of the Year and Small SUV of the Year, the Hyundai Kona. The T-Cross is the smallest of the six SUVs in Volkswagen’s range, sitting below the Taigo, T-Roc, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and Touareg.
Car group tests
- Skoda Kamiq vs Volkswagen T-Cross vs Citroen C3 Aircross
- Volkswagen T-Cross vs Mazda CX-3 vs SEAT Arona
- New Volkswagen T-Cross facelift review: VW’s baby SUV gets a midlife refresh
- New Volkswagen T-Cross Move 2023 review
- New Volkswagen T-Cross 2019 review
Used car tests
The majority of the VW T-Cross line-up is powered by a 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine that produces either 94bhp or 108bhp, while higher-spec models can also be had with a 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine. The 1.0 motor can be paired with a manual or automatic transmission, while the 1.5 is auto-only. A single diesel was available in the T-Cross for a time, but the 94bhp 1.6 TDI unit has since been axed.
There are four trim levels available for the T-Cross: Move, Black Edition, SEL and R-Line. Move is the most recent addition, and has a starting price of just over £23,000. Despite being the base model, it’s well equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, digital driver’s display, eight-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus several safety features including front and rear parking sensors, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control and driver fatigue detection.
For around £550 extra, you can get the Black Edition, which adds 17-inch rims, LED headlights, upgraded front seats, tinted window and black styling pack. The SEL trim costs around £2,700 more and adds slightly more supportive seats, different wheels, silver roof rails, two-zone climate control, plus an uprated infotainment system with sat-nav built-in. For around £2,000 more, the range-topping R-Line is yours. This 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 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