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View all Volkswagen T-Cross reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

An enticingly competent choice among so-so small crossovers

Volkswagen T-Cross SUV (19 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
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PROS

  • Tough-looking styling sets it apart from the Polo
  • Efficient, peppy range of petrol engines
  • Wealth of personalisation options
  • Plenty of interior flexibility for small families

CONS

  • Interior plastics feel hard and inexpensive
  • Ride quality can feel unsettled on larger wheels
  • Cabin will be a squeeze for five adults
  • Polo is still cheaper to buy and run

PROS

  • Tough-looking styling sets it apart from the Polo
  • Efficient, peppy range of petrol engines
  • Wealth of personalisation options
  • Plenty of interior flexibility for small families

CONS

  • Interior plastics feel hard and inexpensive
  • Ride quality can feel unsettled on larger wheels
  • Cabin will be a squeeze for five adults
  • Polo is still cheaper to buy and run

Verdict

Expect to see a lot of the Volkswagen T-Cross SUV in the coming years – if VW’s expectations prove correct, supermini-sized crossovers are set to be a huge growth area, with this model likely to be one of the brand’s best-selling models.

That’s quite a claim in a range that already encompasses household names such as the Volkswagen Polo and Golf. As the fifth member of VW’s SUV range, the T-Cross is the entry-point, below the slightly larger T-Roc, with the Tiguan, seven-seater Tiguan Allspace and flagship Touareg above it.

What is the Volkswagen T-Cross?

First and foremost, while the T-Cross is an SUV, it’s not a hardcore off-roader that will see you traversing tricky terrain – that it’s front-wheel drive-only will immediately limit its cross-country potential.

Think upon it instead as an alternative body for the Polo, with a higher, more commanding seating position. Both share the same underpinnings – Volkswagen’s MQB A0 platform if you’re into the detail – as do their respective sister cars, the SEAT Ibiza and its SUV stablemate the Arona. Skoda is also getting in on the act with its forthcoming Kamiq, although the current Fabia is still based on older architecture.

Small SUVs are definitely becoming more popular, so the VW has to be more than simply good to beat the likes of the Citroen C3 Aircross, the dire Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur to name but a handful of the popular alternatives.

Volkswagen T-Cross: small petrol engines only

Given that only a tiny percentage of small cars are sold with diesel engines, VW is unsure whether the 1.6-litre TDI option will come to the UK - it could appear if market demands change sufficiently, but they’re not expected to - watch this space, in other words. From launch a pair of 1.0-litre TSI petrols will be on offer, with 95hp and 115hp, while there are sadly no plans to bring the punchier 1.5-litre TSI Evo producing 150hp to these shores.

That lower-powered 1.0-litre powerplant will only be paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, while a choice of transmissions is offered on the gutsier version: a six-speed manual and a seven-speed DSG automatic.

No official word as yet on plug-in hybrid or fully-electric versions of the T-Cross, although they are surely in the pipeline. Instead, Volkswagen is keen to promote its forthcoming standalone range of fully electric models that will include a production version of the I.D. Crozz concept SUV.

Which trim levels does the Volkswagen T-Cross come in?

No surprises here as the T-Cross line-up follows VW’s standard-issue trim hierarchy of S, SE and SEL with a sportier looking R-Line crowning the range.

Before those models arrived in showrooms was the special T-Cross First Edition, a gussied-up version limited to just 250 examples in the UK, and set apart by a high level of equipment and distinctive bodywork graphics.

Connectivity technology is standard higher up the T-Cross range, including Android and Apple smartphone integration, plus up to four USB sockets to keep everyone’s devices topped-up.

VW T-Cross driving

Whether in time there’ll be a range-topping, performance-focused T-Cross GTI or R remains to be seen, but hatchbacks are becoming less popular as more buyers switch to SUVs – and like the larger T-Roc R, it’s not an inconceivable proposition.

More immediately, VW’s allowing buyers with a sense of adventure to personalise their T-Crosses with a suite of bold paint choices, with matching interior dashboard panels and alloy wheels.

One note about those eye-popping dashboard finishes: although they offer the cabin a visual lift, from a tactile perspective it feels disappointingly downmarket with a swathe of hard plastics and a lack of fabric on the door panels.

How practical is the Volkswagen T-Cross?

Given that it’s Polo-sized, you’d be forgiven for assuming that space in the T-Cross would be at a premium, but four adults are able to sit comfortably with generous levels of head- and legroom – a fifth on that centre rear seat would definitely be a squeeze, though.

All T-Crosses feature a sliding rear seat, which is a welcome addition, particular when babies and small children are sat in the back, allowing them to be within closer reach of adults in the front.

Cargo space is generous at up to 455 litres with the 60:40 split rear seat in use, plus there’s a variable-height boot floor to accommodate larger items on SE models and above.

The Parkers VerdictShould you by a Volkswagen T-Cross?

Whether anyone actually needs a small SUV is a pertinent point – despite their ever-increasing popularity, they’re more expensive to buy and run than their humble hatchback counterparts. So be honest with yourself as to how important those factors are when you’re considering one.

But, assuming you’ve decided to go down this path, then there’s much to warrant picking a T-Cross over its other rivals, even though it’s at the pricier end of the spectrum – even if its cabin plastics might have you wondering otherwise.

It doesn’t do any single thing spectacularly well, but it is a thoroughly competent all-rounder. Not only that, it feels more like an SUV than the closely-related SEAT Arona, while simultaneously feeling more special than the Polo it’s based on. Bear in mind that on the early finance deals, while the monthly payments on a T-Cross are reasonable, for an Arona they’re positively good value – around £50 per month cheaper for a comparable model.

If you really must have a small SUV, this is the cream of the crop right now.

VW T-Cross rear

Read on for Parkers’ Volkswagen T-Cross SUV full review

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