SUCH is the SUV choice among car manufacturers these days that within some brands it is getting a little confusing.

Take Volkswagen, for example. Its new T-Cross is the fifth in its stable.

So before we go any further, let’s just clear up the small matter of where this all-rounder sits within the line-up.

Measuring 4,108mm long and with a height of 1,558mm, it is the most compact Volkswagen SUV, sitting as it does below the T-Roc SUV and above the Polo hatchback. But it is also Tardis-like in its ability to present a large space in what is a relatively small vehicle.

VW calls it versatile and practical. For example, the car’s signature sliding rear bench seat, which comes as standard, provides the choice between enhanced rear leg room or a bigger load area of up to 455 litres. All three rear seats also fold flatto create a load capacity of 1,281 litres.

That gives the T-Cross a huge advantage if you have doubts about whether it will be big enough to meet your needs.

Offered in S, SE, SEL, and R-Line trims, the T-Cross comes with a VW quality interior as a given. Even S trim cars get 16-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with VW Connect, rear LED tail lights and automatic headlights. Standard-fit front assist with the city emergency braking system and predictive pedestrian protection, as well as lane assist with blind spot plus lane keeping system and hill start assist offer one of the highest levels of driver assistance in the class.

SE examples – expected to account for more than half of sales - are equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, black roof rails and front fog lights with cornering function; a leather-trimmed, multifunction steering wheel; and a variable boot floor. Tech highlights include adaptive cruise control, app connect and a driver alert system. Prices starting at £18,795.

SEL brings tinted windows, LED headlights and silver roof rails, as well as front sport seats, carpet mats and an ambient lighting package. Climate control, a navigation system and front and rear parking sensors also feature as standard in this £21,650 version.

Based on the equally excellent Seat Arona, the T-Cross is available with the choice of a couple of turbocharged petrol units offering either 95 PS and 115 PS variants of Volkswagen’s 1.0-litre TSI unit.

They are available with five or six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed DSG gearbox, depending on the engine and specification.

T-Cross models equipped with the 95 PS engine reach 62 mph in 11.5 seconds, with a top speed of 112 mph, while the punchier 115 PS versions top out at 120 mph, reaching 62 mph in 10.2 seconds.

With the promise of about 47 miles to the gallon, the 95PS version tested here will probably find most homes. It handles well, provides for a quiet and comfortable journey on most surfaces and makes up for the lack of thrills by offering a smooth ride.

There’s the option to add some bright trims to the wheels and interior, but this seems slightly at odds with the conservatism of the brand.

A diesel version is due to follow, but it seems very unlikely that it will find many buyers. The petrol engines will do just fine.


Volkswagen T-Cross SE 1.0 TSI

Price: £18,815 (range from £16,535)

Engine: One-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol producing 95 PS

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 11.5 seconds; top speed 112mph

Economy: 47.4mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 116g/km


Performance: ***

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****