It’s absolutely no reflection on its expectations of the customer base, as I’m sure it would be at pains to point out, but Volkswagen has elected to keep things simple when it comes to the derivative line-up of its new compact crossover, the T-Cross.
Technically, there are two engines to choose from, but honestly, there’s really only one, at least for now: the Group’s 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot. It's available in two states of tune and with a choice of gearboxes. We drove the higher-output 113bhp version, fitted with a six-speed manual, in Majorca recently. And while that can be had with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic, now’s our chance to try the cheaper, less powerful 94bhp engine with its five-speed manual.
If you’d prefer a diesel (and Volkswagen’s market research suggests that only 5% of compact crossover buyers do these days), the 94bhp 1.6 TDI version of the car available in other markets is likely to be added to the UK range later this year. However, Volkswagen UK currently has no plans to let the T-Cross wander too far into T-Roc territory on price by offering us the 148bhp 1.5 TSI.
This car is pretty pleasant, spacious, comfortable and easy to drive – just like we reported earlier of the 113bhp 1.0 TSI SEL. The T-Cross strikes the same mature and rounded impression on UK roads as it did earlier, too, and while its driving experience is a little less vigorous for the inclusion of the 94bhp 1.0 TSI engine, it’s not one that seems particularly slow or frustrating.
Likely to be the most popular in the range, mid-level SE trim gets you a fair bit of extra kit, but it’s the roof rails, variable-height boot floor, adaptive cruise control, Front Assist electronic safety aid and App-Connect infotainment function (which adds smartphone mirroring) that will probably justify the additional £1810 over the entry-level S.
What's the T-Cross like inside the cabin?
There’s plenty of scope for adjustment in the driver’s seat, which is comfortable and of a good size even for the bigger-of-build, and there’s plenty of space of heads, limbs and feet. A sliding second-row bench is fitted as standard, which means you can trade off a bit of space in the good-size boot for extra leg room or vice versa. You’re unlikely to need to except in occasional circumstances, though, because there’s enough space in the back for average-sized adults or teenagers to ride comfortably, and that variable boot floor makes for every bit as much cargo space as you’d expect in a small car.