The new T-Cross is Volkswagen’s fifth SUV, and it takes the spot as the smallest one in the firm’s current line-up.
Sitting in a similar ballpark to the Seat Arona, the T-Cross sits on the MQB platform and is close in size to the popular Polo – albeit 55mm longer and 97mm taller. This platform also underpins the T-Roc, which has become Europe’s best-seller in its class, not even 18 months after first going on sale.
It might seem that the T-Cross will be an instant hit, but it has plenty of tough competition.
It unsurprisingly utilises much of the VW Group’s parts – the engines, gearboxes, safety kit and more. But that’s no complaint, with the Group’s superminis and small crossovers being some of the best offered.
At launch, just one engine is available – a 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.
The entry-level choice comes with 94bhp and a five-speed manual gearbox, while the more powerful version packs 113bhp driven through either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.
We got behind the wheel of the latter, which can reach 0-60mph in 10 seconds and go on to a top speed of 120mph.
This engine (with a manual gearbox) is the pick of the bunch, with the unit producing just the right amount of power for the car, along with a slick gearshift. The DSG can feel comparatively sluggish.
A diesel option may be added later down the line, if there is the demand there.
Ride and handling
As it’s been designed for the city, that’s where the T-Cross feels most capable. The crossover’s light steering, compact dimensions and superb visibility makes the model feel truly at home when negotiating narrow urban streets. A relatively soft suspension setup also skips over potholes without any issue.
But away from the city, it’s not quite as accomplished. The ride at higher speeds can feel a bit unsettled over rougher surfaces, and doesn’t provide that much confidence as a result.
Drivers that spend a lot of their time on motorways and out of town would probably benefit from upgrading to the slightly larger T-Roc.See Available Volkswagen deals
Interior and equipment
There’s not too many surprises when it comes to the cabin, but it feels up to the standards we’ve come to expect from a new Volkswagen. Good quality materials are used for the most part, with a few cheaper plastics on lower areas, although admittedly ones you’ll never have a reason to touch.
But the T-Cross has a big practicality advantage, with the model genuinely being able to seat five comfortably. Sliding rear seats are just another advantage, and can improve legroom or boot space, depending on which you need more space for. With the seats in their most far forward position, it offers 455 litres of boot space, which is much more than that of most of its key rivals.
Entry-level S versions come with 16-inch alloy wheels, and an eight-inch touchscreen. It’s packed with safety features too, with adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist included. SE adds larger alloys, adaptive cruise control and automatic lights and wipers.
Our test car in SEL trim added LED headlights, satellite navigation and front and rear parking sensors – making it the pick of the range. The style conscious should opt for the range-topping R-Line that features its own bodykit, large 18-inch alloys and sports seats.
The T-Cross is one of the more expensive cars in its class, with prices starting from £16,995, although it feels good enough to justify this price thanks to its high level of standard equipment and strong powertrain options.
Our SEL test car came in at £21,655, which is bordering on being expensive. However, that still seems decent value given the punchy, refined engine and lengthy equipment list.
With the T-Cross’s 1.0-litre petrol engine, you can also expect a claimed fuel economy figure of 48.2mpg, along with CO2 emissions of 112g/km.
The T-Cross is likely to be yet another hit for the German manufacturer. It’s funky styling, superb practicality and excellent 1.0-litre engine are all highlights in a package that is well-rounded.
It’s a shame it isn’t better to drive outside of town, but with small crossovers predominantly being urban vehicles, this won’t matter to a lot of drivers.