THERE is no doubt that one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK’s new car market has been SUVs.
Almost every manufacturer from Rolls Royce to Dacia has joined in the craze for these vehicles – so little wonder then that one of the biggest, Volkswagen, has now launched their fourth SUV.
The T-Cross is the baby of the bunch joining their recently launched T-Roc, which sits below the Tiguan while the Touareg is the biggest VW SUV.
With just one engine size, a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo petrol, there are two power outputs to choose from, 93 or 112bhp, and four trim levels – but all are front wheel drive only. VW are promising a diesel version soon.
We were invited to the UK media unveiling of the T-Cross in the rolling Berkshire countryside where VW had laid on virtually the entire range for us motoring hacks to try out.
I got behind the wheel of a top range R-Line 115PS with seven speed DGS auto gearbox and found it to be a very pleasant place to be. As you would expect from VW the car is extremely well put together with attractive external styling and an interior very like its best-selling stablemate the Golf (which is now the UK’s number two on the list).
Despite that small power plant the car is plenty fast enough (0 to 62 in 10.2 seconds and a top speed of 120) and reasonably quiet for a three-cylinder unit unless pushed hard. Economy-wise things are good too with VW claiming up to a shade over 52mpg on a long run.
And even though it is VW’s smallest SUV the space inside is surprising – plenty of room for four adults and five at a slight squeeze. VW have also added a clever feature which allows the rear seat to slide forward or backwards by a few centimetres so you can choose between more legroom or luggage space.
The T-Cross starts from £16,995 for the 95PS (five speed manual only) S model through SE and SEL versions up to our R-Line auto at £25,055. Six speed manual gearboxes are available on SE models and above.
We also got to try a manual SE model (in a striking special order ‘Energetic’ orange colour scheme) and, despite it being several thousand pounds cheaper at £19,555, the level of equipment was still good – which is why VW expect this version to be the UK best seller.
That list includes auto lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control DAB radio, 17 inch alloy wheels and a raft of safety systems. Sat-nav comes as part of a £725 option pack which is standard on the SEL and R-Line versions.
So have VW done it again? Well they sold 6.2 million vehicles globally in 2018 so if anyone has their finger on the automotive pulse it is them… and if they think there is a market for this car in an already very crowded sector then I for one am not going to disagree.
In fact, if I was a manufacturer competing for small SUV customers then the arrival of the T-Cross would have me very worried indeed.
More information at www.vw.co.uk
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth