Bowen's Report Card
VW T-Cross 85TSi R-Line
- Perky engine
- Compact but easy to access
- Excellent gearbox
- Well sorted suspension
- No AWD option
- Leg room tight in the rear
- Only takes 98RON at the bowser
THE BOWEN SCORE
Deep within me lies a substantial amount of bad blood when it comes to SUVs. They killed off our Aussie greats such as the Commodore and Falcon. Sedans simply just came off the boil, as did their spin off utes. This resentment is built upon a couple of things, like handling, stability and performance. But I’ve parked these issues aside. Just because it’s a SUV doesn’t mean it’s an atrocity. The Volkswagen T-Cross 85TSI Style surprised me, here’s why.
For the second time this month I’ve found myself sitting behind a three-cylinder turbocharged engine. The BMW 218i Gran Coupe offers a 1.5-litre effort with outputs of 103kW / 220Nm. The VW shrinks down to just a 1.0L-litre and 85kW / 200Nm.
The T-Cross doesn’t exactly launch like a SpaceX rocket, but it’s more than enough around town. In fact, it even has a rather dashing soundtrack. The T-Cross sends power to the front-wheels only. You’ll have to wait for a T-Roc if you want AWD.
Power is delivered via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. These snappy gear boxes are fantastic when they work but I could cite numerous occasions of faltering cogs. These situations arise at roundabouts for example, not the best time for a solid 3 second delay from the tricky gearbox. However, the T-Cross seemed to be far removed from that, the only hiccups occurring when the engine Stop/Start button is on.
Handling is on point; European cars just feel so different to vehicles produced and designed elsewhere. The ride is a tad firm, but the steering is fluid and predictable. I found the interior lacked pizzazz, but very well put together. All the usual touch points are well padded while there’s solid insulation from the world outside.
The Volkswagen T-Cross is a legitimate prestige car, but it sits in a very competitive field.
Value for money
The car I tested was the 85TSI Style R-Line variant. But you can enter the T-Cross world from $27,990 if you go for the 85TSI Life. My car peaked at $30,990 before options, there’s little doubt many will add on a Sound and Vision pack for $1900 or Driver Assistant Package with the R-Line that adds another $2500.
Just a couple of months back I was getting around in the Kia Seltos Sport+, that variant was priced from $34,990 and has AWD. The Volkswagen feels substantially more special, but when you crunch the numbers it’s quickly clear the T-Cross is an indulgent choice, while buying the Seltos utilises more grey matter in your noggin.
The T-Cross is a very pleasant space, the cloth seats were soft but supportive and looked very sporty indeed. You can blame the firm ride on the 18-inch alloys, but hey you need to look the part, right? All of the automatic features I go looking for were onboard this car: rain-sensing wipers, auto rear dimming mirror and automatic LED head lights. There are four USB ports front and back and decent cup holders.
AEB is present and accounted for, at low and higher speeds. It’s actually a very sophisticated system, with lower speed impacts under 30km/h warded off by sensors. However, a front assist system will apply the brakes at much higher freeway speeds.
What I love
I find the fact that Volkswagen have used the Polo platform to make a compact SUV, hilarious. But in a good way, I really like this car. If I was a buyer in this category it would be near the top of my list. The Mazda CX-3 should also be examined.
Bowen’s report card
Yes, I am aware I’ve gone from trolling SUVs at the start and then switched to glowing platitudes. But a good thing is just that, a good thing. I award the Volkswagen T-Cross Style 85TSI R-Line 85 out of 100.