Volkswagen − which translates into ‘people’s car’ − has always been iconic with creating people’s cars designed to meet the needs of all types of people. As people’s needs have changed over the years, many consumers are opting to buy more versatile vehicle.
In keeping with this thinking, VW has decided to enter the mini or baby SUV market and they used the platform of one of their bestselling vehicles, the Polo. On first sight, the T-Cross looks small compared to its sibling SUVs, the Tiguan and Tuareg, yet it is still a very distinct vehicle. The pure white test T-Cross was fitted with the R-line exterior package with 17-inch mag wheels. This package changed this little SUV from a standard baby SUV to a sporty-looking and slightly aggressive mini SUV.
Like its bigger siblings, the T-Cross has a stubby front end with squared-off angular headlights and distinct creases along the side of the vehicle. This crease has been raised to the door handle level and black plastic inserts running the bottom of the door as well as the wheel arches give the illusion of the vehicle looking higher than it is, completing the SUV go-anywhere look.
With its blacked rear lights that are connected by a reflective blacked panel, the rear of the vehicle is unique to the T-Cross. The rear windscreen is small and angular which also makes it look bigger. The unusual look is one that you would either love or hate, but it does look better in person.
Opening the door and entering the vehicle is easy as you just slide into the seat. No need to drop down or climb up into the chair. In keeping with VW standard, the cabin is sombre and lots of shades of grey cover the top and bottom of the dashboard. The centre dropdown section houses the touchscreen infotainment display. Central air vents are set midway down and below that are the controls for the climate control. The steering wheel is wheel sized and has good feedback, and the speedometer and tech display is clean and functional.
The interesting thing about this vehicle is the amount of space inside the cabin. To test it out I asked a colleague who is more than 1,8 metres tall to sit in the driver’s seat and then to sit behind the seat he just adjusted. To our surprise he fitted comfortably and there was still a full boot available for the luggage.
So, the car looks good and is roomy, but can that 1,0-litre engine even move? To be honest, it does not have neck-cracking take off and it’s not a car that you will take to the track, but it is a car that you will use to take the crew to the track. The 1,0-litre motor mated to the DSG gearbox is a perfect balance for a city runabout. There is enough power to get you around and to get you on the wrong side of the speed limit. When driven sensibly, it is frugal at the pumps too.
On the road, the vehicle drives more like a car than an SUV − until you try to take high-speed corners. It is very capable in the bends, but you do need to keep in mind that it does have a raised ground clearance, so the centre of gravity is elevated.
On the whole, the T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline is a fun, practical vehicle that will grow with you from a single person who loves to go off the beaten track (gravel roads, not off-road) all the way up to being a family person with kids. For those who prefer more power, VW have launched a 1,5-litre TSI version.
In my book, this is one of those almost perfect all-round vehicles which is small enough to whizz between traffic but also big enough to take the family down to the cost for the holidays. All in all, a great fun addition to the VW stable.
AUTHOR | Torque Talk is a member of SAGMJ