Brand arrives late to small SUV segment with £17,000 Polo-based T-cross for 2019
Watch out, Nissan Juke
Volkswagen has revealed the new T-cross with which it plans to take on the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur in the compact crossover market – and says it will be a “truly credible” SUV.
The T-cross sits beneath the T-roc, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and Touareg in the firm’s range of SUVS. It finally gives VW a model in the burgeoning superminisized-crossover market, a year after sister brand Seat launched the Arona.
Project manager Felix Kaschützke admitted VW was late to the segment but said that was “something we have done before”. He added: “Usually we are not the first in a segment but, when we come, we are the best. When customers hear there is a new small SUV from Volkswagen, they know we’ll get it right. We’ve put everything in this car that customers might expect.”
The T-cross is based on the VW Group’s MQB A0 supermini platform, and shares many mechanical underpinnings with the Polo, which it will be built alongside at the firm’s Pamplona factory. But while it shares a number of mechanical elements – including powertrains – with the supermini, the T-cross has distinctive SUV styling. Kaschützke says that was a result of a focus on versatility.
“We needed to differentiate it [from the Polo] so customers could see the added benefits,” he said. “It can’t just be a reworked Polo: it has to be a truly credible car. People aren’t going to buy this car because it’s an SUV but because of the versatility it gives them: a higher driving viewpoint and extra space.” The five-seat T-cross is 4107mm long and 1558mm high, making it marginally bigger than the Polo (4053mm and 1461mm respectively). The wheelbase of the two cars is identical, the extra length coming from larger front and rear overhangs. The T-cross is 127mm shorter than the T-roc, which is similar in size to a Golf.
The T-cross features a rear seat that can slide up to 15mm, giving the boot a variable capacity of between 385 and 455 litres. The seating position is 100mm higher than in the Polo, and a new interior features a 3D-effect dashboard, which will be available in a range of colours.
In the UK, two 1.0-litre TSI petrol engines will be offered at launch, with 94bhp or 113bhp, powered through five- or six-speed manuals, or a seven-speed DSG automatic. A 1.6-litre diesel with 94bhp will be offered in certain markets, and a 1.5-litre 148bhp petrol will follow, although it is undecided if either will be available to British buyers. It will only be offered in front-wheel drive.
There are no plans for a hybrid version, owing to the cost of installing the powertrain in smaller cars, although Kaschützke said the firm was “looking into it” for the future.
A large number of driver assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane assist, will be fitted as standard, along with four USB ports. Four different trim levels – S, SE, SEL and R-line – will be offered in the UK. While exact specifications have yet to be set, higher-end models will receive options such as a wireless smartphone charger and keyless entry.
Higher-end R-line models will receive sportier bodywork and interior upgrades. A variety of personalisation options will include contrasting roof and pillar colours, interior trim and coloured wheel rims.
The T-cross will go on sale in the UK in January next year, with prices likely to start from around £17,000.
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