Polo Reloaded – Volkswagen T-Cross

Volkswagen came late to the baby SUV party, but immediately created a best-seller. I experienced the cool, lifestylish T-Cross in trendy Makena Turquoise.

Volkswagen is known for building great SUVs: Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, T-Roc and obviously the legendary Touareg. Finally they targeted the mini SUV segment – and killed it. The Polo-based T-Cross came late, but not too late. It’s already a best-seller in SA. I am sure some regular Polo customers are switching to the refined version of the country’s best-selling vehicle. It’ll also poach considerable numbers from the competition.

United Colors of Bo-Kaap

I immediately loved the look of the new Volksie. The bold Touareg-like grille and the uninterrupted rear light band, unique to VW - and obviously ‘borrowed’ from family member Porsche. The fresh, contemporary colours, three of them new, are popping and are going so well with the hip, non-boring styling. Especially the Makena Turquoise, closely followed by Energetic Orange, which I also loved.
The compact car is more than a Polo SUV. Wolfsburg’s latest offering is a real SUV and it sells like hot cake in SA since its inception at the end of last year. Their new baby SUV crosses all the T’s. Albeit being entry-level it is an absolute great vehicle. Looks-wise, with the LED daytime running lights and the optional R-Line exterior with those 17inch Manila alloy wheels, the car ticks all the boxes.
And surprisingly, even the tiny ‘motorcycle’ engine convinces. The car is so much fun to drive, especially on narrow, windy roads, like the one between Nature’s Valley and Bloukrans Pass at the Garden Route. And the DSG auto box shifts flawlessly as usual. As soon as you need a bit more pull to overtake, just switch the mode button to ‘sport’. The steering tightens and the DSG shifts down. It’s not only dynamic, it stays quite comfortable as well.
The car feels bigger inside, when you drive it. It is actually incredibly spacious, with room for four substantial adults. The rear sets are adjustable by 14cm. And the foldable passenger seat allows for transporting longer loads. Size wise the T-Cross fits between the 6cm shorter Polo and the 12cm longer T-Roc, which is based on the Golf. And you are sitting 10cm higher than in the hatchback sibling. Giving you more ground clearance, but no AWD. The 377-liter boot is one of the biggest in the segment, containing a full-size spare wheel.
Obviously Volkswagen had to save a little bit of money, so the interieur has this hard plastic ambience, but luckily it can be pimped with some colour options. You’ll find fully digital instruments and an 8-inch touch screen in the centre of the dash.
Safety is always a bit of a concern in smaller cars and on South African roads, but the T-Cross is not only equipped with all the usual driver alert systems, it has a convincing 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
To sum it up, the T-Cross is an amazing package. A Polo in a super hero costume. And I can’t wait to drive the range-topping 110kW version soon. In Energetic Orange of course.

Volkswagen T-Cross
Engine 1.0-l. 3 cyl. turbo-charged petrol, paired with a 7-speed DSG auto box
Power 85kW and 200Nm
Top Speed 193 km/h
0-100km/h 10.2 seconds
Price from R334 600
Expect the entry-level 72kW T-Cross for under R300 000 in the second quarter of 2020. And the range-topping 110kW version even sooner.


1 March 2020