Make: Volkswagen

Model: T-Cross

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

First Impressions:

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.

Tech Inside:

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.

Most Impressive:

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.


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.