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Volkswagen T-Cross 2021 review: Style

Looks good, feels good, and fits the fam.

There are some cars that are just seriously convenient. Add a sprinkle of fun and you have the Volkswagen T-Cross. 

It’s a small to mid-size SUV, competing with cars like the Kia Seltos and Honda HR-V. Think of this size car as the family version of a small car, so instead of a VW Polo or Mazda3, you’d opt for one of these instead. 

I test drove the Volkswagen T-Cross 85TSI Style, which is the more swanky version of the two on offer, and costs $30,990, before on road costs and extras. Here’s how it did with my family over seven days of driving. 

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How does it look?

Like a whole lotta fun, especially in this colour. It’s got a curvy shape, no hard angles and a cute front end with chunky bumpers and it’s higher off the ground than a regular small car. It’s very likeable and it looks friendly. 

The T-Cross is a very likeable car. The T-Cross is a very likeable car.

Inside is not the fanciest but in this price bracket you wouldn’t expect it to be. It still serves the purpose of a cool small car. There are fabric and leather-look seats throughout and this model has the comfortable sport seats. 

There’s a leather covered steering wheel and gear shifter and it’s got 'Lizard Shadow' steel black trims throughout which lifts the design to a good level. 

Inside is a leather covered steering wheel.  Inside is a leather covered steering wheel. 

How easy is it to drive

The front seats are manually adjustable and there is no power tailgate. On the plus side you get two cupholders in the front and bottle holders in each door. 

There’s also a wireless charger with a deep pocket for things like keys or a wallet. Plus a decent sized centre storage bin and a bonus drawer underneath the driver’s seat for anything super secret! 

Up front are two decently sized cupholders. Up front are two decently sized cupholders.

The T-Cross is a good height off the ground for kids to climb into, it’s not too high but is high enough to feel taller than a regular car on the road. There are also two USB ports in the front and two in the back. 

Rear passengers miss out on cupholders which is a fairly standard omission in this category.

How spacious is it?

Interestingly, the T-Cross has enough space for my family of four. I wouldn’t be taking it away on holiday for a long time, but it could deal with a weekend away and you can also fit things on the roof.

The clever part of the interior design of the T Cross, is the sliding rear row, so you can either give passengers extra leg room in the back seat or move it forward and get extra boot space, depending on your needs. 

The T-Cross has enough space for my family of four. The T-Cross has enough space for my family of four.

So, boot space varies between 385L and 455L, and it’s up to you when and where you use that extra room.

  • Boot space is rated at 385 litres. Boot space is rated at 385 litres.
  • Slide the rear seats forward and cargo capacity grows to 455L. Slide the rear seats forward and cargo capacity grows to 455L.

There’s also a good amount of leg and head space in the front row even for taller passengers and the car generally feels spacious for the size it is, thanks to the width of the design.

The T-Cross Style has comfy sport seats. The T-Cross Style has comfy sport seats.

How does it drive?

Like a zippy little car! It whizzes around town with the agility of a small car, but do you do sit higher on the road thanks to it’s SUV shape

It’s got a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo engine which is enough for a car this size, there’s a good amount of power to get up large suburban hills and it drives nicely along highways. 

The steering turns easily and you can manoeuvre into parking spots that wouldn’t fit a large SUV, which is quite a nice feeling after weeks of driving big vans

The turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder produces 85kW/200Nm. The turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder produces 85kW/200Nm.

Ditto for the T-Cross's small turning circle. It actually makes quite a big difference to your day-to-day driving to be able to start a U-turn and make it more often than not!

There’s a good reverse parking camera to help you into parks too. 

It handles well around corners, and my only bugbear is the stop/start function isn’t as immediate as I’d like, but that’s hardly a deal breaker. 

How safe is it?

The T-Cross Style has airbags for front passenger and side curtain airbags for first and second rows. For advanced safety there is blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane assist and lane-departure warning system, park assist and auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection. 

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for kids car seats. The T-Cross scored a full five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2020 (against 2019 criteria).

What’s the tech like?

There is thankfully a plug-in version of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (I say thankfully because I have trouble with wireless versions sometimes). 

The 8.0-inch touchscreen features Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The 8.0-inch touchscreen features Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

It syncs immediately with the main apps on your phone and you can navigate with maps and listen to streaming services via your phone apps. It makes technology that much easier. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Volkswagen T-Cross 85TFSI Style costs $30,990, before on road costs. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 5.4L/100km and I averaged 6.5L/100km with a mix of highway and city driving. 

It's covered by Volkswagen's five year/unlimited km warranty. There are three year and five year service plans available and you can save from $256 with the three year and $645 with the five year if you buy into those. 


The Wrap

This is such a fun small SUV, I found that when you do need a smaller car because of your circumstance or preference, it actually is enough to fit a family and you don’t necessarily need the bulk of a larger car if all you’re looking for is ample interior space and a decent engine. 

It’s got style, the boot’s size is adjustable plus this model has all the safety you’d want for a family. I gave it a family rating of 7.7 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same. They’re obsessed with this aqua colour right now. 

Likes

Exterior design
Fun drive
Fuel efficiency

Dislikes

No AWD option
No higher spec models for swanky interiors
Stop/start inconsistent

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

3.9

$30,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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