From £18,3607
VW brings a more powerful engine to its most compact crossover, pushing the price towards that of bigger rivals

What is it?

It’s a big engine in Volkswagen’s smallest crossover, the T-Cross. Although big (it’s only a 1.5) is relative in family car terms these days.

The T-Cross is among our favourite small crossovers, being pleasant inside and tidy to drive. So far it’s been available with a 1.0-litre petrol engine in a couple of flavours, and a diesel that few people buy.

Now, though, it gets a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit making 148bhp, driving the front wheels, exclusively through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Headline performance is 0-62mph in 8.5sec, and economy is 43.2mpg/148g/km on the official combined cycle.

This one comes to us in range-topping R-Line trim, which means it looks a bit sporty but isn’t really, though it has 18in wheels; quite big for a small car. At 4.1m long the T-Cross is just a smidge longer than a VW Polo, though in 1.5 R-Line trim that doesn’t stop it having a pre-option price of £27,785.

What's it like?

Inside the T-Cross can win you over quickly. All of the materials have that very VW-look where they appear solid. It’s when you go poking them to see if they’re soft that it lets you down – only the door armrest and the obvious touch points – wheel, handbrake – have a soft feel to back this up. Elsewhere, especially in the rear, they feel more scratchy.

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On R-Line versions there are digital instruments and an 8in central touchscreen that’s given a bit too much to do, although climate controls remain on real buttons, thankfully, and it only takes two quick steering wheel button pushes to disable or enable the lane keep assist.

I didn’t find it as easy as usual in a VW to get a good driving position. With the seat low the front of the squab is high and the wheel didn’t reach far enough to prevent the top section of it being a straight-arm stretch, unless the seat back was too upright. I don’t think competitors are necessarily better, but it’s worth checking it works for you. Rear room is good – the rear bench slides and plays off against boot space too.

And to drive, it’s fine. Motorway stability is good, the steering has a sophisticated, accurate and responsive weight, with jus the ‘right’ amount of self centring and directness. A Ford Puma is more alert, a Kia XCeed (a slightly longer car) a bit more chilled.

The rear suspension is a torsion beam and the dampers passive. The ride is mostly pliant enough, but I think it’d cover surface imperfections with less thudding on smaller tyres/wheels than the 215/45 R18s it comes with – there’s a 205/55 R16 spare under the deep boot floor and I imagine it’d be much nicer on four of those.

The engine’s quiet and smooth but unenthusiastic if left in full auto mode. Legislative forces at work – the 95g/km range average CO2 target is incoming, this car exceeds it by 50% already and if it was overtly peppy it’s be worse still. So the DSG really tries to lug things out in a high gear, reluctant to kick down and making progress treacly unless you’re insistent with the throttle. You can take control of the gears yourself, mind.

Last week I tested an Audi A3 with a very mild hybrid system attached to this drivetrain, which improved things because it electrically filled the torque gap at low revs – it also stop-started much more smoothly. I haven’t tried the 113bhp 1.0-litre on offer but m’colleagues say it’s an enthusiastic powertrain, so if you can try both, do.

Should I buy one?

The T-Cross remains a classy car in this market but the Puma recently moved the driving experience onwards, while I’ve got a soft spot for the Kia XCeed, which drives with a fine blend of comfort and engagement in its lightest-engined, small-wheeled form. Both are longer than the T-Cross – the XCeed particularly – which could be more or less appealing, depending on your outlook.

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But for me, the T-Cross remains at its most compelling lower down the range than at a level that brings such competitors into the mix.

T-cross R-Line 1.5 TSI EVO 150PS 7spd DSG specification

Where Surrey, UK Price £27,785 On sale Now Engine In-line 4 cyls, 1498cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3500rpm Gearbox 7-spd Dual clutch auto Kerb weight 1330kg Top speed 124mph 0-62mph 8.5sec Fuel economy 43.2mpg CO2 148g/km Rivals Ford Puma, Seat Arona

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Comments
22

30 July 2020

What a beautiful shoe horn!

30 July 2020

 You get the look of expensive, sporty without paying a lot, that's it.

30 July 2020
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 You get the look of expensive, sporty without paying a lot, that's it.

Without paying a lot?
I'd say you pay a lot for a car with a cheap interior that the reviewer says looks nice, and a sporty look with huge ride ruining wheels.

30 July 2020
si73 wrote:
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 You get the look of expensive, sporty without paying a lot, that's it.

Without paying a lot? I'd say you pay a lot for a car with a cheap interior that the reviewer says looks nice, and a sporty look with huge ride ruining wheels.

I know it sounds silly but, under that figure seems to be the most will pay,and,  I think there aren't many others, we all know people who buy to impress, we all know people who buy something cheap but looks worth more, ultimately,mits what you like, how it makes you feel, not what someone else thinks.

30 July 2020
I get what you mean but this is now in the price range of the next car up, size wise, which makes it seem expensive, but that is quite often typical of top spec models I suppose.

30 July 2020

That 205/55 16 reminded me of the days of when basic Golfs had multi link and rode like they were engineered for driving rather than looking the part, and it was only 10 years ago.

30 July 2020

looked at one recently then went to look at Seat Arona, basically same car, same powertrain, interior quality not much different. On the Arona you got a lot more toys for the same money, on the VW you got a badge. Total no brainer! your nuts if you buy the VW.

30 July 2020

It makes you wonder if prices are being jacked up so  muchthat they can suddenly bring in an ev at the same price inthe next 18 months. to make you think you bought a bargain ev

30 July 2020
Ski Kid wrote:

It makes you wonder if prices are being jacked up so  muchthat they can suddenly bring in an ev at the same price inthe next 18 months. to make you think you bought a bargain ev

More likely prices are being 'jacked up' to gain profitability... and list prices are largely irrelevant to most, not many buy cash, most private sales will be on PCP/PCH, meaning you never pay the full cost of the car, only for the time you use it.  CH deals to fleets will be discounted by 20-30%.  Even then, the purchaser will never pay the full amount.

30 July 2020

This car has no joy at all what ever - no standout features, it seems like it's just okay nothing special. That's a lot of £27k mediocrity to have - all these latest VAG models seems to just blend into one. That X-Ceed mentioned is far far more appealing than this, more interesting to look at, sit and drive it seems 

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