2020 Volkswagen T-Cross Review: Crossroads [W/Video]

CarBuyer Team

Driving Experience

One reason is that the engine has to work hard if you need to make a hasty getaway in the T-Cross. This is an engine we liked in the Polo for its three-cylinder thrum and willing nature, and both those qualities are present here.

We had brief drives in the T-Cross (mostly in the rain) and discovered that when it’s slippery out there, the engine is punchy enough to make the front wheels spin and scrabble for traction.

A lot of its puff arrives early, and by 3,000rpm the three-cylinder is going great guns, but at the top of the rev range the urgency does taper off. Essentially, you’ll be able to keep up in the city, merge with fast traffic and accelerate to highway speeds pretty readily in the VW. North of the border, where traffic is faster, just plan your overtaking carefully.

As for the seven-speed transmission, it’s snappy and responsive, and admirably smooth at all but the lowest speeds.

The T-Cross doesn’t come with different driving modes, but there is a Sport mode for the drivetrain (not to mention Tiptronic-style sequential manual shifting via the gearlever or steering wheel paddle shifters) that keeps the engine on the boil.

Still, if you think about the customer groups mentioned above, it’s clear that what might matter more to a T-Cross driver is fuel economy. By that measure, the Volkswagen excels, with a rated consumption average of 5.2L/100km.

That’s a figure that needs to be coaxed from the car through gentle driving, but if you’re an economical driver, the T-Cross will do its part.

For something that looks fairly aggressive, however, the T-Cross has an easygoing character. The steering is feather light, it’s easy to see out of the car, and the suspension does a surprisingly good job of smushing down the unevenness of a badly patched up road.

That’s if you’re up front; from the back seats things get noticeably more jiggly on the move, but never more so than the SUV norm. 

We didn’t spend enough time with the car to explore its handling in that many situations, but in spite of its height the T-Cross feels stable and easy to place in corners. Perversely, SUVs are descended from jungle-bashing 4x4s, but the T-Cross is an example of one reason the breed works well in the city: You get a great view from behind the wheel.

Cockpit, Tech, Safety

Driving the T-Cross is actually an unexpectedly gentle experience, but the interior actually hints at a funky time. In Singapore, three colour schemes (white, orange, and blue) for the car offer matching interior/exteriors — choose the eye-catching orange and the colour is paired nicely with flashes of orange on the dashboard, seats and the alloy wheels, for example. 

The cabin itself is built down to a cost noticeably, with hard plastics throughout the interior and a manual handbrake, which feels like something of a throwback these days.

The front seats are manually adjusted, and it’ll be interesting to see how Singapore customers take to the fabric upholstery — it looks and feels good in the T-Cross, but buyers here tend to deduct points for cloth seats #becauseleather.

Cabin feels built to a cost in some areas, but the new design steering wheel feels excellent to hold and to use

There are no rear air-con vents (which isn’t an uncommon omission in the segment), but the climate controls are dual-zone (always good for marital harmony) and four USB-C ports (two front and two rear). You can also distract passengers, or drown out their howls, with the 300W Beats premium sound system.

The cockpit packs VW’s 10.25-inch Active Info Display, and its sharp graphics are still a treat. There’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that outsources the heavy computing work via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

This setup we’ve already seen in previous VW models, like the Golf, and it all works very well and is presented with sophistication, although in CarPlay we did notice an occasional laggy response to inputs.

One key omission in the T-Cross is active safety. While it does have a good conventional safety loadout as well as VW’s post-collision safety system and driver attention monitoring, it lacks autonomous forward collision warning/mitigation, lane guidance, blind spot monitoring, and similar active safety systems, which can now be found in mainstream cars ranging from the Toyota Corolla Altis to the Mazda CX-30.

Continue to Page 4: Conclusion, Video Review, Gallery

Page 1: Introduction, What is the T-Cross?
Page 2: Dimensions, Practicality, Space
Page 3: Driving Experience, Cabin, Technology
Page 4: Conclusion, Video Review, Gallery

Pages: 1 2 3 4


1.0 TSI R-Line 5 seat 5-door petrol SUV T-Cross volkswagen

About the Author

CarBuyer Team

CarBuyer Singapore brings the most relevant, accurate and useful car news to Singaporeans in both print and online formats.

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