Drove one of the most accomplished cars in it’s segment recently in the beautiful Knysna area, the Volkswagen T-Cross. Could this compact SUV or Crossover be the perfect storm, that unseats the Ford EcoSport from it’s perch as top seller? Time will tell, but there was most certainly a glimpse of that at the launch. Coming with two engine derivaative’s, a 1.0L which we drove at launch, and a 1.5 TSI which will come in 2020, the 1.0L gave a convincing nod, that it was highly capable.
The T-Cross, joins the Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and Touareg in the model range in South Africa. Manufactured in Navarra, Spain I am confident it will capture the hearts of many SUV mad SA car buyers.
The T-Cross looks great, it has a striking front end, with smart front spoiler and a wider grille, and longer light units which extend into it’s flanks. It has recessed fog lights lower down, and integrated daytime running lights, and there are optional LED headlamps. The rear features LED lights a standard. The side profile is also particularly appealing, with it’s horizontal sharp character lighns that run front to rear.
The large wheel arches also emphasise the striking appearance. The dynamically designed wheels also contribute to the distinctive and cool look of the new T-Cross. 16-inch wheels are fitted as standard. In addition, 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels are available as options. The exterior of the T-Cross can also be customised in various ways. There is a choice of nine exterior colours or a selection of coloured wheel rims which enhance the combination options. The blue colour was my favourite. This is a proper Crossover, and it measures 182 mm more than it’s sibling, the Polo. It is quite a bit taller(10cm)so you have a high drive feel.
IN THE CABIN.
The T-Cross is pretty spacious, and it is a five door, with seating for five people and luggage. It has a boot that holds approx 455 litres, and can with fold down options, bump that up to a huge 1281 litres.
provides good visibility. Passengers enjoy a superior view and good all-round visibility thanks to the elevated seating position. The interior is extremely spacious, giving the occupants the feeling that they are sitting in a larger vehicle. There is a corressponding colour theme throughoutthe T-Cross, that encompasses the dash pads, seats,steering wheel clasp etc. This gives it a sporty air, and the ambient lighting features accentuate this. Electric windows on all four doors and a height-adjustable driver and passenger seat also come as standard.
The T-Cross provides discerning users with the highest level of networking and connection to the outside world. The optional keyless locking and starting system Keyless Access makes access to the T-Cross more convenient. Another highlight is the optional sound system from renowned US brand Beats with a 300-watt, 8-channel amplifier and a separate subwoofer in the luggage compartment.
The T-Crosscomes with five star rating Euro NCAP. It also has a plethora of driving systemes to assist with safer driving: The Driver Alert System comes standard whilst optional equipment available on the T-Cross includes Front Assist area monitoring system, the lane keeping assistant Lane Assist, Hill Start Assist, the proactive occupant protection system, automatic adaptive cruise control, Park Assist and the Blind Spot Detection lane change assist system with the integrated Rear Traffic Alert.
As usual the T-Cross will come in different variants, to suit all budgets.
Trendline trim (available only with 70kW). The entry level variant comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, split folding rear seats, colour-coded handles and mirrors, electrically adjustable and heated side mirrors, electric windows at the front and rear, height and lumbar adjustable driver and passenger seats, Tyre Pressure Monitor, 6.5-inch ‘Composition Colour‘ display, combined front and side airbags, Rest Assist as well as Titanium black seat and instrument panel, black carpets and ceramique headliner.
Comfortline trim. The Comfortline trim expands on the Trendline and comes standard with 16-inch ‘Belmont‘ alloy wheels, black roof rails, front fog lights, leather multi-function steering wheel with multi-function display, Park Distance Control (front and rear), cruise control, Light and Sight Package and a front centre arm rest.
Optional features on the Comfortline trim include; R-Line Exterior with 17-inch ‘Manila‘ alloy wheels, Beats sound system, Inductive Wireless Mobile Charging, Composition Media with App-Connect, Discover Media (includes Navigation), Active Info Display, Park Assist with Rear View Camera and Foldable Mirrors , Adaptive Cruise Control (includes Blind Spot Monitor, Foldable Mirrors, Lane Assist and Front Assist), LED headlights with Rear View Camera, Keyless Entry and Removable Towbar.
Highline trim. The third equipment variant, the Highline, has additional standard features to the Comfortline which include Comfort Sports Seats, Inductive Wireless Mobile Charging, Driving Profile Selection, Climatronic Aircon, LED Headlights, Composition Media with App-Connect and 18-inch ‘Cologne‘ alloy wheels.
Optional extras on the Highline include; R-Line Exterior with 18-inch ‘Nevada‘ alloy wheels, Design Package in Energetic Orange, Beats sound system, Discover Media (includes Navigation), Active Info Display, Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (includes Blind Spot Monitor, Foldable Mirrors, Lane Assist and Front Assist), Keyless Entry, Removable Towbar and Titanium Black-Energetic Orange seats, titanium black instrument panel, black carpets and ceramique headliner.
As stated in the introduction, the T-Cross is powered by two three-cylinder petrol engines. The Volkswagen’s compact SUV will be available with the 1.0 TSI engine delivering 70kW and 85kW power outputs as well as the more powerful 1.5 TSI engine delivering 110kW.
1.0 TSI engine with 85kW. The three-cylinder 1.0 TSI generates 85 kW of power. The turbocharged direct injection engine develops maximum torque of 200 Nm is available between 2 000 and 3 500 rpm. This version goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.2 seconds and has a top speed of 193 km/h. Claimed fuel consumption is 4.9 litres/100km. This engine is only available in 7-speed DSG transmission. Driving from Knysna to Port Elizabeth, this variant really did well. It is smooth and had sufficient power to overtake. It will be good to test it further in the thinner Highveld air.
Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)
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 (available in 2020)
The Polo is the one of the most popular passenger cars in SA, coupled with it’s sibling, the Polo Vivo. SA are SUV and Crossover crazy, and the T-Cross has all the attibutes, and more of the latter two, so why shouldn’t it be a segment topper in no time? The Ford Eco-Sport has been there for a while, but it’s look is a little dated, so in my opinion, the perfect storm is bearing down on it.