Volkswagen T-Cross

W’s baby ute arrived to huge fanfare. But does it deliver?

We had heard quite a bit about Volkswagen’s T-Cross — the People Car's highly anticipated baby utility allegedly designed to intercept the neck of the woods where the likes of Ford's Ecosport, the Mazda CX-3, Suzuki Vitara and a few other well accepted rivals already roam. Did it live up to expectations? And is it up to all the hype?

Well, first impressions of this quite long-winded Spanish-built Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0TSI 85kW Comfortline R-Line were pretty decent: it looks the part — neat and simplistic, both inside and out. But take a closer peep at it and this one seems to lack the kind of quality it requires to outperform some of those rivals, especially on the inside where plasticky materials contribute to a cheaper than expected feel. 

Volkswagen's infotainment system, on the other hand, definitely has a slight edge over of its most competitor vehicles in this price range — I found it a lot more simplistic and usable too. T-Cross also stars with ample space both front and rear and that coupled to its handy boot size, makes it quite practical as a daily driver.

But I began raising my eyebrows when I started driving the T-Cross. I found the brakes unresponsive, while the throttle has an annoying delay — even in sport mode. Ride is also average, it’s not stiff, but it certainly isn’t plush and I found the driving position challenging too — no matter how hard I tried, I could not adjust the chair to a position where I was actually comfortable. 

On the road, the T-Cross proved no great shakes and our VBox data sums it up pretty well — those numbers are as good as the Ford we noted above, which comes in at 20% less than the Volkswagen, while that Mazda and Suzuki may cost a touch more, but to be honest they are really in a class above — and in so many respects too.

All in all, the new T-Cross comes with its own pros and cons. Yes, it does the job as a daily driver, but it certainly did not provide the driving experience or the quality that we have come to expect — especially from a Volkswagen that was preceded by so much drum beating, boasting and hype. 

Sadly T-Cross failed to live up to either its launch hype or the epic standards we have come to expect from Volkswagen, or what it needs to achieve to properly compete in this neck of the woods. If anything Volkswagen has a bit of work to do because right now, there are cars that do a better job for less money, never mind a others that properly outperform it at similar prices. — Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0TSI 85kW R-Line
Engine: 85kW 200Nm 1-litre turbo petrol I3                 
Drive: 7-speed DC automatic FWD
0-60km/h:                  4.66 sec
0-100km/h:                10.64 sec                      
0-160km/h:                28.43 sec       
400m:                         17.5 sec @ 130km/h            
80-120km/h:              7.40 sec
120-160km/h:           13.71 sec          
VMax:                         193km/h                               
Fuel:                           5.3 l/100km                         
CO2:                          126 g/km
Warranty/Service:   3y 120K/3y 45Kkm 
LIST PRICE:               R361K           
RATED:                      5