Variant: 85TSI Life
Engine / Transmission: 1.0 litre – 7 Speed DSG automatic
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 5.4L/100km combined
Price: From $29,990 drive away
I think I’m warming to the idea of a soft-roader. My first impression of Volkswagen’s tiniest soft-roader has been very positive. The ‘Life’ is the base model in the Polo based T-Cross range, so has everything you need and nothing you don’t and I really appreciate its no fuss approach to small family motoring. I’m warming to these mini soft roaders as they blend a kind of North Face puffer jacket look with an ease of parking and low entry and maintenance costs. A roof pod and a bike rack on the T-Cross will look cool. Try the same thing with a Polo and it’ll look ridiculous.
Being the base model, the ‘Life’ misses out on the ‘Style’s’ LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot assist and park assist, but with the exception of the LED headlights, these features can be added to the ‘Life’ for just $1200. I hate adaptive cruise, so I would ditch this pack and direct the funds towards the ‘Sound and Vision’ pack, complete with Beats branded stereo and digital cockpit.
Other reviewers have found the 1.0 litre, three cylinder a little lacking. While the 0-100kph time seems to reinforce this, treating the T-Cross in this way completely misses the point. This is a brilliant engine. I adore three cylinder engines. This format provides so much character and fun and the one fitted to the T-Cross is no exception. In real world conditions it proves perfectly adequate and sips fuel like a hybrid. I love it.
Not So Impressive :
While I commend Volkswagen on including features like the sliding rear seat – adding either rear-seat legroom or boot space – I just don’t see the point. If you prioritise boot space, there is no legroom at all. Therefore, wouldn’t you just flip the split-folding seat to provide maximum boot space? Maybe I’m missing the point. I guess bubs and toddlers don’t need legroom, so maybe that’s the point of it.
There’s another really strange thing about the T-Cross. Now, this is going to get a bit nerdy but bear with me. The T-Cross is fitted with what at first seems to be a full-size spare tyre, rather than a space-saver or pump and a can of goo. In this category, this is highly impressive and a real nod to the T-Cross’ ability to be a fine mini adventurer… except… it isn’t a full-size spare. The spare is a 205/55 on a 16” rim. The tyres fitted to the Australian spec T-Cross are 205/60 on a 16” rim; an ever so slightly ‘baggier’ size. It’s likely that you would never even feel the difference if you drove on the spare, but there is a real possibility that the flat won’t fit in the spare wheel storage space and when you are loaded up on a mini-adventure, that sucks.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Take the time to really test that tiny 1.0 litre three-cylinder on the freeway and the open road. You’ll be amazed by how much the T-Cross can do with so little.