Volkswagen is one of the best-selling automotive brands in South Africa. They're known for making good, long-lasting vehicles. And, despite it's incredible monthly sales of the Polo and Polo Vivo in excess of 2000-plus units respectively, the rest of its products have a good rep and sell in satisfying numbers too.
Yet, there was still a little void in its onslaught of cars in the stable.
VW has some hefty SUVs: the Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, and Touareg, and yes, there's the PoloCross, but it's not a real compact crossover or SUV. So enter the German brand's latest offering, the T-Cross 'baby SUV' as an entry-level contribution, and what a gem of a compact SUV it is.
So you might be able to find cheaper alternatives in its class, but the T-Cross' badge will already play a huge part to its success despite the price. During its first month of being introduced to the market, Naamsa reported 47 units sold - most which were probably used for the product launch. Then September figures, its first official month of sales, told a telling tale of what's to come; Volkswagen SA sold a whopping 810 units.
And if you really want your new baby SUV to be kitted out, you'll have to pay for it, but that too doesn't matter much to the cultivated T-Cross buyer. None of it matters because it's a great car that looks the part, and delivers an amazing package in terms of fun-to-drive, practical, and just down-right good to look at. It will be really interesting to see if sales numbers will take a knock out of the Polo market.
Here are 10 quick things you should know about the T-Cross:
1. Pricing starts under R300 000
At its local launch in September, Volkswagen had only the 1.0-litre, 85kW Comfortline and Highline models available, pricing for this model starts from R334 900. Fans shared some dismay as the promise from VW was that pricing for the base model would be under R300 000. Well, they weren't telling any fibs. The 72kW model will be available under the R300k mark, but only when it arrives here in the second quarter of 2020.
2. Another model also on its way
There will also be a 1.5-litre 110kW arriving during the first quarter of 2020, ahead of the base model. It all seems a bit backwards, but it makes sense for the automaker. The 1.0-litre 85kW is such a boon in any case, very few will even be bothered.
3. More about the 1.0-litre 85kW
The three-cylinder 1.0 TSI unit is a turbocharged direct injection engine good for 200Nm available between 2 000 and 3 500rpm. It goes from zero to 100km/h in 10.2 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 193km/h. Volkswagen SA says it has a claimed fuel consumption of 4.9-litres/100km. Also important to note is that this engine is only mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission.
4. So how does it drive?
Man, this T-Cross is gutsy. The 1.0-litre TSI engine packs an incredible punch and its almost difficult to believe that there's only 85kW being generated from its little power unit, but it is more than suffice. The DSG transmission is known for being a smooth-shifting master stroke and it just works in this car. It's more than just a chunky Polo SUV, and it has the cahoonas needed to overtake with absolute ease, something one would not generally think about twice in a vehicle powered by a 1.0-litre unit. It makes this vehicle worth its salt right there.
5. No, it's not blue!
Volkswagen SA says the T-Cross will be available in 9 body colours, three of which are new. That stunning new hue of blue is called Makena Turqoise.
6. It's so safe...
It scored an outstanding rating of 5 stars in the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) safety test. The vehicle scored a compliance rating of 97% in the “Adult occupant protection” category, says Euro NCAP, while the child safety rating of 86% underlines how perfectly suitable the T-Cross is for families. The active support systems scored a rating of 80%. It also features Front Assist that looks out for pedestrians’ and cyclists’ safety. With 81% the vehicle scored very well within the currently valid assessment scenarios in this category.
The vehicle also reduces the risk of a collision, and improves driving comfort. It comes standard with a Driver Alert System but everything else you will have to fork out some extra cash. Optional equipment includes Front Assist area monitoring system, the lane keeping assistant Lane Assist, Hill Start Assist, the proactive occupant protection system, automatic adaptive cruise control, Park Assist and the Blind Spot Detection lane change assist system with the integrated Rear Traffic Alert.
7. How big is it really?
The T-Cross is roomy. It's incredibly spacious. The 2.55m wheelbase allows enough room for five adults without having to elbow each other for room. It has a sliding rear seat that can be adjusted by 14 centimetres, allowing either more passenger leg room or more luggage space. That means the cargo area holds 377 or 455 litres depending if you have the rear seat adjusted. If you have the rear seat back folded down fully or partially, you can create a flat loading space with up to 1 281 litres of storage space making it the best in its class.
8. The new age
This compact crossover provides discerning users with the highest level of networking and connection to the outside world, says VWSA. Another highlight is that the T-Cross comes with up to four USB ports and the optional inductive wireless charging unit for smartphones. The optional keyless locking and starting system Keyless Access makes access more convenient while the optional sound system from renowned US brand Beats includes a 300-watt, 8-channel amplifier and a separate subwoofer in the luggage compartment.
9. The big daddy model
The range-topper 1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG model comes standard with: Sports Seats, Driving Profile Selection, Climatronic Aircon, LED Headlights and Taillights, Composition Media with App-Connect, R-Line interior and exterior with 18-inch ‘Nevada’ alloy wheels, digital Active Info Display and a choice of eight exterior colours. Up to four USB ports and the standard inductive wireless charging.
Optional goodies include: Design Package in Energetic Orange, beats® sound system, Discover Media (includes Navigation), Park Assist (includes Rearview Camera and Powerfold Mirrors), Adaptive Cruise Control (includes Blind Spot Monitor, Foldable Mirrors, Lane Assist and Front Assist), Keyless Entry, Removable Towbar and Titanium Black-Energetic Orange seats, titanium black instrument panel, black carpets and ceramique headliner.
Pre-orders for this model are already open.
1.0 TSI 85kW Comfortline DSG® - R334 600
1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG® - R365 000
1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG® - R403 500
The T-Cross comes standard with a 3 year or 120 000km warranty, a 3 year or 45 000km Volkswagen Service Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service interval is 15 000km.