Driven - October 2019

Is the New Volkswagen T-Cross a budget Tiguan?

Volkswagen T-Cross Driven Review

We drive the new VW T-Cross in South Africa

With consumers always in search for something new, exciting and different – the current crop of crossover vehicles on offer in SA tend to tick the correct boxes for many. This segment gives you vehicles that look like small SUV’s, some of which are actually quite capable off road, whilst others can merely climb Sandton pavements. Other brands simply offer funky styling that screams adventure and #livingyourbestlife. Mainly aimed at a younger professional audience, crossovers need to be a value proposition to those who may not want a fully-fledged SUV but have outgrown their hatchback. Enter the new Volkswagen T- Cross.

Volkswagen T-Cross Front

The name suggests it all, this Volkswagen is a bigger Polo on steroids, with a unique look to it that is both striking and good looking. Having driven it on launch and spending time with a bright orange unit on test for a week, we’ve come to the conclusion that this is one impressive vehicle. Surprise surprise, another good Volkswagen – you’d swear this company sells thousands of cars in South Africa per month. Sarcasm aside, the new T-Cross is built on the MQB platform, giving it dimensions that fall within a Tiguan and a Polo. Having team members of varying proportions, no one complained about the size offering of the T-Cross. Instead, as a cyclist, I was able to ditch the bike rack and simply drop the back seats – unlocking 1281litres of storage space, enough for my roadie to sit comfortably. When the back seats are up, you’ll have 455 litres, which should be enough for all two and a half children of yours.

Volkswagen T-Cross Back

Inside the T-Cross is the usual Volkswagen story. Quality materials. Plastic yes, but durable plastics that don’t seem cheap. Depending on the specification you choose, you can customize your dashboard. For instance, the Energetic Orange unit we had on test, featured an orange dashboard and some fine metal bits – creating a quirky and premium feel. Technology-wise, the unit we had featured Apple CarPlay, a decently sized infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB, aux and whatever millennials want in a vehicle. Starting up the T-Cross you’ll notice the rasp of a 3-cylinder engine. Being a boosted engine, you’ve 85kW/200Nm mated to a 7 speed DSG gearbox. This configuration is nice for day to day driving and when the vehicle is moving the power on offer is reasonable and offers enough for cruising and overtaking, our only complaint would be that on pull off and low-end acceleration, the T-Cross can be sluggish at times. Apart from that, we really can’t fault it from a driving perspective. The T-Cross is comfortable enough for long journeys, it’s effortless to drive and it even has an element of fun in it. It has a likeable personality to it that is reflected in its overall design.

If you do find the 85kW variant lacking when it comes to power, do not fear. A 110kW version is coming to South Africa in the near future which will offer more usable power throughout the rev range and will be even better suited for the open road. We’ve had the pleasure of sampling this engine in the new Audi A1 and that version turned out to be the pick of the bunch for us. Aesthetic wise, there’s a range of colours to choose.  Favourites such as Reflex Silver Metallic, Pure White and Deep Black Pearlescent, can be selected. For those looking to express themselves more, options such as Makena Turquoise Metallic, Flash Red and Energetic Orange are available – with matching interior trim as well.

The T-Cross is no Tiguan, but it certainly bridges the gap between VW’s hatches and SUV’s by providing more space and flexibility at a good price point. Out-grown your Polo but a Tiguan is out of reach? Your answer is the T-cross.

Volkswagen T-Cross

It may sound like we’re singing the praises of this car strongly, but the fact is that the German outfit has delivered time and time again on price, reliability, and product across the range. Nothing has changed with the T-Cross either, they just seem to understand the consumer and deliver on the wants and needs of South Africans.  They say the “proof is in the pudding”, VWSA has already sold 850 units in the first week due to pre-orders and aggressive marketing campaigns. Need we say more?

Volkswagen T-Cross Pricing in South Africa

The 110kW model will be available from the first quarter of 2020, while the entry-level 70kW T-Cross will be available in the second quarter of 2020.

1.0 TSI 85kW Comfortline DSG®       R334 600

1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG®             R365 000

1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG®               R403 500

The T-Cross comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty, a 3 year/ 45 000km Volkswagen Service Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service interval is 15 000km.

Learn more here.