Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI: long-term test review

First report: newly arrived Volkswagen T-Cross SUV impresses as it replaces family hatchVerdict4We’ve only been running the Volkswagen T-Cross for a few weeks, but it’s been all good news so far. Any fears that we may have had about moving into a smaller car have proved unfounded.

Mileage: 1,901
Economy: 45.5mpg

All my life I’ve taken great pride in doing things a little bit differently, so it came as something of a shock to find myself doing what countless others have done before me: downsizing.

I’m moving from a five-door family hatchback into a smaller, supermini-based SUV. On its way out is the SEAT Leon that has served my family for two years, and in comes our new Volkswagen T-Cross.

• Best small SUVs and crossovers

It’s not hard to see why we chose VW’s smallest SUV. It was commended in the 2019 Auto Express Awards, looks very smart, and comes with enough safety kit – and a five-star rating from Euro NCAP – to bring a smile to any parent’s face.

Our car is in what is expected to be the most popular spec in the UK, combining SE trim with the 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine. So, we have air-conditioning, all-round electric windows and adaptive cruise control, as well as a decent infotainment system with Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Beyond that standard equipment, our car also has a few options, of which the most obvious are the Energetic Orange metallic paint and Design Pack. This gives us orange alloys and door mirror housings, as well as unique upholstery on the front sports seats, a special inlay on the dash, and tinted rear windows. Plus we uprated the infotainment package to the Discover Navigation system.

This isn’t the first time our family has run an SUV, but we were a little anxious before taking delivery. The T-Cross would be not just the smallest SUV we’ve ever had, it would be the smallest car we’ve had since our daughter was born six years ago.

And it would have a baptism of fire – or the Christmas holiday, as it’s more commonly known. That meant lots of running around before the big day – including a last-minute dash to the supermarket, of course – and a short stay at my parents’ house in Sussex.

Happily, first impressions were all good. The T-Cross’s small size and high driving position made it perfect for getting around South West London. It’s a nice and simple car to manoeuvre and it slips easily through the traffic, while the Energetic Orange paint stood out in the supermarket car park.

The T-Cross made easy work of the schlep down to Sussex, too, riding comfortably on the near-two-hour trip to the coast. Even more importantly, it was nice and refined – quieter than we’d expected of such a small car, in fact – so our daughter slept the whole way on our late-evening return journey.

Admittedly, the T-Cross isn’t the most exciting car to drive. But, in the dreadful weather that accompanied our trip, I was more than happy to trade some engagement for a feeling of safety and security.

And what did the people inside think? Well, my wife and I were very comfortable in the front – the driving position is particularly good – while I really appreciated the easy-to-access Isofix mounts in the rear.

However, one issue we may have as our daughter grows is legroom in the back. We’ve already pushed the VW’s sliding rear seat as far back as it will go, but there are tell-tale muddy footprints all over the back of the front passenger seat. 

Similarly, the boot has been big enough for our needs – so far. We didn’t have much luggage for just one night away, and that left more than enough room for all the presents; plus, we’ve found the one angle at which our daughter’s bike will fit in without having to fold down a rear seat. But when we go away for a bit longer, or if we need to upgrade to a bigger bike, the T-Cross could struggle.

For now, though, we’re very happy to be downsizing. And, I may have to admit that following the herd is the right thing to do.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

Key specs

  • Model: Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 115 PS SE
  • On fleet since: December 2019
  • Price new: £19,995
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl turbo petrol, 113bhp
  • CO2/tax: 116g/km/£145
  • Options: Energetic Orange metallic paint (£575), Energetic Orange Design Pack (£525), Active Info Display (£375), Discover Navigation (£725), Wireless phone charging (£105), carpet mats (£85), winter pack (£300), profile settings (£140), parking sensors (£450)
  • Insurance*: Group: 10/Quote: £407
  • Mileage: 1,901
  • Economy: 45.5mpg
  • Any problems?: None so far

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