By Brian Byrne
VOLKSWAGEN’S smallest crossover is intriguing in one respect. The T-Cross feels much bigger than it actually is. That’s a solid achievement for its designers.
The T-Cross is a little smaller than its cousin SEAT Arona, but taller, and more significantly smaller than its other cousin Skoda Kamiq. As a throwaway, this shows the flexibility of Volkswagen’s modular MBQ platform which allows a much greater degree of variance between related models in the Group’s brands.
The Volkswagen’s car has more restrained looks than its relations. The front and rear styling is simpler, less flash around the grille and lights. But it is elegant, and modern. Two parallel sculptings along the side keep the style in visual balance. The review car was a bright turquoise, which did give more impact, as did the optional 18-inch alloys.
Inside also has that bit of larger than life feel. In part because the scuttle line and dashboard seem high, as two of my less tall passengers noted. The dashboard detailing reflects shapes from the front. The well-integrated infotainment screen helps hold the overall design together, and the main dials in front of the driver are bright and colourful.
Operating the radio is a simple swish of the fingers rolling out the station options, with big logos easily tapped. The now familiar Volkswagen system of menu options lifting up as you bring your hand close to the screen remains interesting.
My review car was in R-Line specification, which brought a high level of technology for both driver assist and comfort. I particularly like the adaptive cruise control.
Unlike earlier systems, I’ve noticed lately in VW Group cars that it senses you being in the inside lane, and if there are cars in front in the next lane going slower than you have set, it pulls you back to their speed. You no longer have the issue of ‘undertaking’ while in cruise.
Optional extras on my car included inter alia that bright paint, a rear view camera, automatic headlight dipping, and a better sound system. I think the camera should be standard, for safety reasons.
The T-Cross is comfortable. The driving position suited me very well, and in the chills of recent weeks I was glad of the heated seats. Yes, maybe we’re being made soft, but there’s something good about not having to wait for the whole car to warm up before you feel comfortable.
The review car was automatic, a 7-speed dual-clutch affair that is certainly now at the optimum stage of its development. The proportion of automatic cars I take out has been rising, a reflection of the increased appreciation for this amongst the buying public.
Power was from a 115hp turbo 1.0 petrol, now found in a wide range of VW Group models, even in its larger cars. It seems in all applications so far to be a good one, and I’ve not heard any problems surfacing. It works well with that autobox.
It’s now very hard to find fault with any of the ride and handling characteristics of any car out there, and the T-Cross is just as almost faultless for everyday use.
Pricing: From €23,995, R-Line from €29,495; review car fully loaded, €35,313.
What I liked: The sense that I’d be happy to own this car for the long term, though I’d jib at paying that top price.