Volkswagen T-Cross 2020 review

Find out more about the Volkswagen T-Cross in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£20,916
Average price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Spacious interior
  • Good to drive
  • Funky design

Cons

  • Top-spec models are quite expensive
  • Interior isn’t as upmarket as you might expect
  • Not the most refined
  • MPG

    54 - 54

  • CO2

    116 - 119 g/km

Model review

Just like for many manufacturers these days, SUVs are absolutely integral to Volkswagen’s range and it would struggle to survive without them. 

The Tiguan – introduced little more than a decade ago – is now the firm’s most popular new car, and along with the Touareg and T-Roc, they account for a big chunk of Volkswagen’s sales. 

And with small SUVs and crossovers also hugely rising in popularity, the firm introduced a more compact model called the T-Cross in 2019. 

Based on the same underpinnings as the Polo, the T-Cross is a compact SUV, yet is impressively spacious for a car of its size, and also comes with a range of small and efficient engines. 

It also comes packed with tech and safety kit – including the likes of blind spot monitoring, which is a rarity on a car of this size. Funky styling was also delivered thanks to a range of trims – including a sportier-looking R-Line and various colour packs, including being able to have orange wheels. 

Latest model

Given the T-Cross only arrived in showrooms in 2019, it remains a new model and one of the freshest small crossovers available. 

That doesn’t mean Volkswagen hasn’t made any changes, though, with the firm introducing a pair of engines to the line-up since then. The first is a 1.6-litre diesel option, which is the most efficient option available, along with a punchy turbocharged 1.5-litre unit producing 148bhp – this being the quickest engine in the range. 

There’s also been a new ‘United’ trim level, too, which gains additional kit and bespoke styling. 

Value for money

Remain modest with your T-Cross and it actually makes good value for money – especially considering the generous standard kit. All models come with a large touchscreen, plenty of safety kit and alloy wheels, and even a mid-spec SE version makes a lot of sense at just over £20,000. The special edition United model also makes a shrewd buy, too, thanks to all its extra kit. It’s also priced on par with key rivals, including the Skoda Kamiq and Renault Captur

Top-spec versions are expensive, though – particularly the R-Line, which could cost more than £27,000, even before you add any optional extras. 

There are some great discounts on nearly-new models, though, with one-year-old examples available with around £3,000 off list price. 

Looks and image

The T-Cross won’t be winning any design awards any time soon, but it’s still a funky-looking thing and one that prioritised practicality and functionality over a sporty design. It’s got the chunky and boxy looks expected from a crossover, but wraps it up in an appealing-looking package. The personalisation options are also extensive, with the colour packs going a little further than most, especially with the choice of having the car’s wheels painted green or orange if you really want it to stand out. 

Inside, there’s still the scope for personalisation, but it’s not quite as extreme, while the rest of the cabin is all very standard Volkswagen affair – the touchscreen is the same as the one in the Polo, the controls are easy to use and there’s a really sturdy feel. The quality might not quite match the rest of the VW range, but it’s worth remembering this is the firm’s most affordable SUV, and still feels more ‘premium’ than plenty of its rivals. 

This crossover also performs well behind the wheel, with minimal body roll that’s impressive considering its boxy design. The ride is also comfortable and the suspension does a good job of absorbing pot holes. It’s not brilliant when it comes to refinement – especially at higher speeds – but is no worse than plenty of rivals. 

Space and practicality

Look at the T-Cross and it’s quite a compact model – in fact it’s only about 5cm longer than the Polo supermini. However, how Volkswagen has managed to make it so practical is impressive.

Its 385-litre boot is larger than that of the Golf hatchback, though thanks to a sliding rear bench, it can be increased to 455 litres with them moved forwards, or 1,281 litres if you fold them down completely. There’s also plenty of rear space, with the boxy shape allowing for plenty of headroom, while legroom should be plentiful for two adults. 

It’s also an impressively safe choice, with the T-Cross being awarded a five-star rating from safety experts Euro NCAP, with high scores recorded in all areas. 

Engines

While, unlike rivals, the T-Cross isn’t available with any electrified powertrains, there’s still plenty of engine choice with the T-Cross

A turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine kicks off the range, which produces 94bhp in its basic form, when it’s paired to a five-speed manual transmission.  You’ll also find it with outputs of 108bhp or 113bhp – both of these being available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The most powerful T-Cross engine is the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol unit, which is mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic. With a 0-60mph time of 8.3 seconds, it’s noticeably the quickest T-Cross

If you fancy a diesel, then the only option is a 94bhp 1.6-litre TDI unit, which is again available with both manual and automatic transmissions. 

Running costs

Regardless of which T-Cross you go for, you should expect low running costs, but it’s the 1.6-litre diesel that’s the most efficient – returning up to 54.3mpg when configured with a manual gearbox. 

The turbocharged 1.0-litres remain efficient choices, though, returning up to around 50mpg, while actually having lower CO2 emissions than the diesel at 132g/km. 

It should also prove affordable to insure, with the 94bhp versions coming in group eight, and going up to 17 for top-spec R-Line models. 

Things to look out for

The T-Cross is still a new model, and all versions will be covered under warranty until 2022 at the earliest, providing they don’t exceed VW’s 60,000-mile limit. For that reason, there’s a certain level of mystery around its reliability, but given it uses technology and engines widely used across the Volkswagen Group, there should be little to worry about. 

Rivals

Few segments of the new car market are more competitive than when it comes to small crossovers. You could take a look at the Seat Arona and Skoda Kamiq – both sibling products to the T-Cross, while the Ford Puma and Renault Captur are also worthy considerations. If you fancy getting a little more bang for your buck, the MG ZS and Dacia Duster are the value offerings in this class. 

Depreciation

Given the popularity of this segment and the desirability of the Volkswagen badge, the T-Cross should hold its value well, and likely better than more mainstream rivals. Good savings will still be available on nearly-new models, though. 

Which T-Cross to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.0 TSI S 5dr

Most MPG

1.5 TSI EVO SEL 5dr DSG

Fastest model (0-60)

1.5 TSI EVO SEL 5dr DSG

Trims explained

Five trim levels are offered on the T-Cross, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.

S

All T-Cross models come with plenty of standard kit, with S versions coming with 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and DAB radio. It also comes with air conditioning, electric windows and electric and heated door mirrors. Standard safety kit is also impressive, including autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring.

From £18,360

SE

Upgrading to SE – our pick of the range – gets you an alarm, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and a leather steering wheel. Practical touches include a front armrest and a variable boot floor, with adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and a driver attention alert adding to the safety kit. It also gains an auto-dimming rear view mirror and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

From £20,210

United

Special edition United models come with smaller 16-inch alloy wheels, but gain tinted class, heated windscreen washer jets, ambient lighting, heated front and rear seats and front and rear parking sensors.

From £20,410

SEL

High-spec SEL models gain LED headlights, silver roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and satellite navigation.

From £23,070

R-Line

At the top of the range, the stylish R-Line trim comes with a revised bodykit incorporating gloss black accents, wheel arch extensions and larger 18-inch alloy wheels. Sports seats are also added, along with aluminium-look pedals and a 10.3-inch digital cockpit system.

From £24,970

Summary

  1. Lots of personalisation options
  2. Range of petrol and diesel options…
  3. But lacks an electrified variant
  4. Very spacious interior
  5. Plenty of standard kit
  6. Decent value for money…
  7. Aside from pricey top-spec cars
  8. Efficient range of engines
  9. Good to drive
  10. One of the best small crossovers available

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