2020 T-Cross 85TSI Style.

Volkswagen’s T-Cross is a small vehicle that’s the German company’s first entrant in the compact SUV segment. It follows the “T” naming of other VWs – Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and Touareg.

The “Cross” on the name indicates that it’s a crossover rather than a SUV, being aimed at tough urban running rather than bush bashing. Though we feel there are times when bush bashing isn’t as hard on a vehicle as the urban jungle…

Volkswagen T-Cross is sold in two versions, 85TSI Life ($27,990) and 85TSI Style ($30,990).

The Life rides on16-inch Rochester alloys, the Style gets 17-inch Bangalore alloys.

There are several option packages; including a Driver Assistance Package for the Life model grade, a Sound and Vision Package which includes a Beats Sound System and Digital Cockpit for either model grade, and an R-Line package for the Style grade.

We find the styling very simple and unfussed in the German fashion, with few frills and no unnecessary curves. Having owned three VWs for quite a few years in my motoring life I must admit that I like it like this.

2020 T-Cross 85TSI Style.

Sharpish edges that aren’t overdone are also a neat feature. The materials are to a high standard, as they should be because this little German is priced quite high when compared with its Asian and Japanese competitors.

Seating is good for four adults (five is a real squeeze. Unusually for this class I can sit behind myself without having to compromise in the legroom in the driving seat.

The seats in the T-Cross Life are comfortable for long trips, we haven’t had a chance to get my backside into a Style which is said to have sportier seats.

Boot space is larger than you would expect when looking at the outside of the little Vee-Dub and the rear backrest 60:40 backrests fold almost fully flat to give extra versatility.

Interestingly you can slide the back seats forward to increase luggage capacity.

Standard in the Life are an eight-inch Composition Media setup with six speakers, App-Connect, wireless charging and four USB ports. The screen is large and easy to see with a minimum of distraction and has extra large dials when you set it to the driving efficiency mode.

Sound quality is very good without being in any way outstanding.

The T-Cross is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that puts out 85kW and 200Nm through a seven-speed DSG transmission to the front wheels. The Style model has steering wheel gearshift paddles.

2020 T-Cross 85TSI Style.

Both models are bang up to date with numerous safety features: The Life has a rear view camera, automatically dimming rear-view mirror, front assist with city emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, lane assist, driver fatigue detection, parking sensors with manoeuvre braking, front foglights with static cornering lights, automatic headlight on, rain sensing windscreen wiper, and low pressure tyre indicator.

To this, the T-Cross Style variant adds light assist, automatic high beam, adaptive cruise control and blind sport monitor with rear traffic alert.

Engine response is a letdown when you move off the line. The stop/start isn’t as fast to kick in as we like and then there’s some turbo lag.

We did find ourselves adapting to this as our test week went on, so its likely owners will learn to get the best from it.

Once you’re up and running its fine, with only a hint of turbo lag when you want to get up and go, such as when you spot a short overtaking opportunity on hilly country roads.

The engine is quiet and has a nice purr when you’re cruising, with a purposeful note when you want to get serious.

Volkswagen’s T-Cross has that solid feel on the road that we’ve come to love over many years. It handles nicely without being in any way sporting, which is fair enough because it’s an SUV and should lean on the comfort side of the compromise built into any vehicle.

Steering is firm and the feedback is just about right. It’s happy to change direction if required in a hurry or when the road tightens unexpectedly.

Fuel consumption was in the five to six litres per hundred in easy paced country driving, rising to an acceptable eight to nine litres per hundred kilometres in city and suburban running.

A further Volkswagen “T” model, the T-Roc, is scheduled to arrive Downunder later in 2020 to complete the line-up. We will bring you details as they come to hand.

Volkswagen T-Cross in Life format is an attracting looking small SUV with a solid build that makes it feel like a larger vehicle than it really is. It would be high on our short list if we were shopping in this class.

As with all new Volkswagens, the T-Cross comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, capped price servicing every calendar year. As well as guaranteed future value when purchased via Volkswagen Financial Services’ Volkswagen Choice Program


T-Cross Life 1.0-litre turbo-petrol: $27,900
T-Cross Style 1.0-litre turbo-petrol: $30,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 0.999 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 85 kW @ 5000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 200 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.4 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 123 g/km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed direct shift automatic

Length: 4108 mm
Wheelbase: 2563 mm
Width: 1760 mm
Height: 1583 mm
Kerb Mass: 1240 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 40 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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