At last VW makes SUV Polo that doesn’t suck(and it looks perfect for Bermuda!)
Welcome to the new Volkswagen T-Cross – basically a Polo with a whole lot more space.
It’s a compact crossover that’s available with various different design packs to jazz the car up for the young style-aware customer.
Splashes of colour trim inside and even orange alloy wheels are available. There are exciting exterior paint colours a too, like Makena Turqoise. Our test car is black with a dark interior.
No splashes of brightness, just some triangular lines on the dashboard trim sections that look as though they could have been copied from a Leonardo da Vinci drawing.
The T-Cross is based on the popular Polo (using the group’s remarkably versatile MQB platform) but is 54mm longer and 138mm taller, putting occupants’ backsides 100mm higher up.
It’s a proper job rather than VW’s last effort in SUV-ising the Polo which involved raising the ride height a few millimetres and calling it the Polo Dune.
The T-Cross range starts at just under £17,000 with our SEL 1.0 TSI coming in at £20,795.
For that you get the 115bhp version of the three-cylinder petrol engine (there’s a 90bhp unit, too) and a six-speed manual gearbox.
A more powerful 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel engine will be along later. All models are two-wheel drive – a double clutch automatic gearbox is an extra £1,500.
Slip inside the T-Cross and you’ll immediately see why many people will choose this over the cheaper Polo.
The driving position is raised to give a better view but doesn’t feel uncomfortably lofty. A negative, though, are the acres of hard plastics.
A chunk of cost cutting has taken place and it’s noticeable.
This aside you get an infotainment system that’s straightforward to use, and all models get an 8inch colour screen.
At SEL trim level there’s a lot of equipment included, from climate control to automatic rain sensing windscreen wipers. You also get space in the T-Cross.
Those extra dimensions over the Polo give more room for passengers, especially in the back where six-footers will be comfortable, and for luggage.
For general storage there are vast door bins and a recess in the dashboard with a rubber liner so things don’t slide about.
There’s a handy drawer under the passenger seat plus a cubby under the climate controls that includes wireless charging for your phone.
The rear bench seat, as well as splitting 60/40, can be slid back and forth and you can order a passenger seat that folds flat in case you want to carry longer objects in the back.
The T-Cross is perfectly average to drive. The ride is reasonably comfortable, the steering light and accurate.
All other controls up to the job. I suspect if you made use of the carrying capacity the lower powered engine option would really struggle.
There’s no point in not going for the 115bhp engine – because with a fuel consumption of 44.8mpg for the least economical models and 48.7mpg for the most thrifty there’s not a lot of difference.
I suspect that the T-Cross is going to be as big a success for Volkswagen as the T-Roc is proving to be.
The smaller car is not a bad car at all.
Without question I’d buy the design pack which adds colour and sparkle yet costs only £650 when added to this SEL spec car.
I’d still rather have a Polo but then I don’t need the extra space that comes with the T-Cross.
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder, 115bhp
Fuel consumption: 48.2mpg
This first appeared in The Mirror