By: Charles Molefe
It is very seldom that you find a manufacturer advertising an upcoming product literally on each and every single platform, whether it be television, social media and other forms of mass communication, the T-CROSS is currently the talk of the town, it even has a very popular ad that signified how to play by your rules. Well, my time spent with the T-CROSS really allowed me to explore all that the T-CROSS has on offer. With the underpinnings of the Volkswagen Polo, I had no doubts that I will be in a very familiar, yet refreshing place.
The T-CROSS I had on test was wrapped in a very retro electric orange colour that really manages to capture the eye and turn a few heads in its wake. It does not take much for a consumer to figure out that you are in the latest product from Volkswagen. What delights is the rear end of the new SUV, the reflective strip that runs across from brake light to brake light is reminiscent of its siblings in the VAG stable, particularly the Audi Q8. If only the strip was illuminated, I am certain that it would really bump up its street cred and visual appeal to many fellow motorists.
I was fortunate to have been given a beats equipped model, if you are an audio Connoisseur, you will not be doing yourself any favours if you do not tick off that beats sound system option. Not only is the audio system, loud, but it is also packed with immense richness as the tunes are pumped through the speakers. Along with the beats audio system you are presented with a total of four USB ports and a wireless charging pad.
Accents of the Polo are visible in the T- CROSS, the interior is easily the segments top trump, you are presented with digital dials that display pertinent information such as your speed, fuel economy, current playlist and a host of other features that come in handy, one highlight is how the T-CROSS is really geared at saving you fuel at each and every moment. It can detect if your windows are open or if you are not in the optimal gear, an ECO TIP pops up to notify you that you can conserve more fuel by closing the window to reduce drag, or by shifting up to a higher gear to reduce fuel consumption, it’s these little things that make this compact SUV a more attractive proposition to the prospective buyer.
The interior is fairly spacious and will easily transport five adults in relative comfort, however, I found that the boot space is limited, but, it is sufficient for trips that don’t require loads of luggage. If you are planning to travel cross country lugging a ton of baggage I would advise that you look at purchasing or hiring a trailer.
The T-CROSS I had on test was powered by a 1.0L turbocharged mill that produces 85kW and 200Nm of torque, this is good enough to get you to the 100km/h mark in a brisk 10.2 seconds and enable you to achieve a top speed of 193 km/h. If you are looking for more performance, there will be a more powerful 1.5 TSI model that produces 110kW and 250Nm, this is sufficient to achieve a more competitive 0-100 km/h time of 7.8 seconds, nonetheless, this segment is not about performance and you can see how Volkswagen has prioritised fuel efficiency by linking the engine to a seamless shifting 7 speed DSG transmission.
What really makes the T-CROSS outstanding is its fuel economy, Volkswagen claims a combined cycle of 5.3 litres / 100 km. During my test tenure, I achieved an average consumption figure of 6.0 litres / 100 km, this is possibly the most economic vehicle I have had on test, regardless of my over-zealous attempts at achieving the claimed 0-100 km/h time. I managed to cover a total of 600 kilometres on one tank of fuel, I am nothing short of impressed at how economic the vehicle is, it bodes well for any family that is looking at being economic, yet adventurous. There is one little issue that may affect your driving experience, the start-stop function is a bit intrusive and you may find yourself left wanting when you are trying to glide away from the traffic light, however, you do have the option of deactivating the system which will immediately improve your driving experience.
My time spent with the Highline T-CROSS has somehow left me wanting to experience the more powerful iteration, I know it’s not all about power as previously mentioned but a little more punch will be more exciting. When it comes to comfort, technology and the overall experience, it is very easy to see why Volkswagen South Africa was so confident in advertising the T-CROSS with such exuberance, the sales figures alone, speak volumes, it’s not often you find an entirely new vehicle sell 810 units in its month of introduction and follow it up with a staggering additional 1132 units sold in its second month. That is an average of over 90 units sold per day, I challenge anyone who can say they did it better to step up.
It is extremely difficult for me to fault the T-CROSS in any shape or form, it is just that good, a lot of underpinnings from its siblings are well infused into this product and you begin to see how the MQB platform is becoming more of a refined product. There are a number of competitors in this segment and I applaud Volkswagen for introducing their version of a compact SUV, albeit a bit late, however, I do suspect that the T-CROSS will easily become the new compact SUV king, much like its bigger brother the legendary GTI.
- 8.6 / 10
Test car optional features
- Removable Towbar
- KESSY Keyless entry • Active Info Display
- beats® Sound System
- Park Package (Park Assist, Rear View Camera and Power-fold Mirrors)
- LED Headlights and Rear View Camer
- Infotainment Package (Composition Media, App-Connect and Inductive Charging)
- Warranty (3-year / 120 000 km)
- Anti-corrosion Warranty (12-year)
- Service intervals (15 000 km)
- Volkswagen Service Plan (3-year / 45 000km)
- From R 334,600 to R403 500