By Amanda Mfuphi
The compact family car segment is quite a busy segment in South Africa and shows no signs of slowing down due to consumer interest. Currently, the segment is contested by cars such as the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Creta, Suzuki Vitara and Renault Duster. It was quite strange that Volkswagen has been absent in this segment with such segment growth over the past few years. However, Volkswagen lovers will be happy with the manufacturer’s decision to introduce a vehicle in this segment of the market in the form of the new T-Cross. In fact, the whole segment seems to have been shaken by the arrival of the T-Cross with the car being a top 10 seller within 6 months of its arrival in the market. We recently had the opportunity to spend time with the T-Cross 1.0TSI Comfortline and got to experience the disruptor firsthand.
The T-Cross is a Polo-based SUV with similar dimensions to the popular hatchback, however, the T-Cross offers more practicality as its body is longer, wider and taller. The Spanish built T-Cross is based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform and it is 4.2 metres long (182 mm longer than the Polo) and boasts a wheelbase of 2 551 mm ensuring that the cabin is adequately spacious and practical. Our Comfortline model came with LED daytime running lights and taillights, 16-inch Belmont alloy wheels, black roof rails and front fog lights. The burnt orange exterior colour of our test model also made the vehicle stand-out and gave it a funky and youthful outlook that attracted a lot of attention on the road during our test week.
Inside, the T-Cross is roomy with enough leg and headroom for rear passengers. The boot space is equally spacious coming in at 455 litres of storage space which increase to about 1,281 litres if you fold down the rear seats. The interior of the T-Cross also looks pleasing to the eye being fitted with a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel and a multi-function display touchscreen. Other interior features of the T-Cross include height- and lumbar-adjustable driver and front passenger’s seats, electrically adjustable side mirrors, electric windows, split-folding rear seatback, a tyre pressure monitoring system, dual front- and side airbags, park-distance control (front and rear) and cruise control. Our test T-Cross can also be fitted with the Beats sound system and the wireless charging pad (both optional extras). Overall, the quality is great although the T-Cross appears to employ more hard plastics than the Polo that it is based on. It’s not a problem at all as it is away from most places that you will usually touch and VW have done a decent job of making it look decent.
Just like the Polo Beats Edition, the T-Cross comes with 4 USB ports (2 at the front and 2 at the rear), which will be appreciated by passengers as it will ensure that they remain connected with their devices being fully charged during those shotleft trips. In terms of safety, the T-Cross has a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. The T-Cross comes standard with front and side airbags to ensure safety. You can increase the standard safety offering by adding on features such as the front-assist monitoring system, the lane-keeping assistant, hill-start assist, automatic adaptive cruise control, park assist and the blind-spot detection/lane change assist system with the integrated rear-traffic alert.
Engine and drive
The T-Cross is a front wheel drive that is powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbopetrol engine which makes 85 kW of power and 200 Nm of torque that is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch (automatic) transmission gearbox. Volkswagen claims a 0-100-kph sprint time of 10.2 seconds, a top speed of 193 kph and an average fuel consumption figure of 4.9 L/100 km. We found the engine power of the T-Cross to be sufficiently powered, offering ample power to take on inclines and execute overtaking maneuvers without worrying about running out of power. The drive is quite comfortable and refined, and enjoyable from both the driver and passengers’ perspective. The engine sounds refined with engine noise being close to non-existent. The seats offer optimal support which enhances comfort, especially for longer trips, making the T-Cross score high for both in city and long-distance driving. The ability to slide the back bench allows forward or backwards allows for increase of legroom or luggage room as required. This makes the T-Cross more practical. The 1.0TSI engine is also easy on the pumps as we managed to average 5.4L/100km, which was not too far off from the claimed 4.9L/100km.
The T-Cross pricing starts at R334,600.00 and it comes standard with a 3 year/45,000km Service Plan, 3 year/120,000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.
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