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Volkswagen T-Cross 2022 review: Style

The Volkswagen T-Cross packs a lot into a small space. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The Volkswagen T-Cross is a light SUV built on the Polo base. It has a funkier style, feels more spacious and gives you a higher vantage point than the popular Polo.

I spent a week driving my family and friends around the city and the suburbs to get a feel for how the T-Cross drives and how much family-lifting it can handle.

The top-of-the-range T-Cross is the Style and it has a list price of $32,800, before on-road costs and options.

The T-Cross competes with cars like the Toyota C-HR, the Skoda Kamiq and the Mazda CX-3, but you have to pay extra for some of the features that come as standard with its rivals.

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What does it look like?

Volkswagen is known for its practical designs but compared with the Polo, the T-Cross Style is a bit more fun, particularly in this optional 'Reef Blue' paint, which is an extra $600. This review focuses on the Style with the 'R-Line' package which adds an additional $2600 to the price.

One of the main design features for the Style is the black grille and the LED highlights. The contours of the T-Cross show its shape off well and help it look a bit different compared to other vehicles in the Volkswagen stable.

One of the main design features for the Style is the black grille and the LED highlights. (Image: Dean McCartney) One of the main design features for the Style is the black grille and the LED highlights. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The R-Line package gives you the front and rear bumpers in the body colour and 18-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with chrome roof racks, chrome highlights, rear and rear side tinted windows and a black rear spoiler.

You get R-Line badging, sports front seats trimmed in cloth and microfibre, which feel like a combination of leather, suede and cloth. I found them a bit stiff, but they do come with lumbar support.

The R-Line comes with decorative dashboard panelling. (Image: Dean McCartney) The R-Line comes with decorative dashboard panelling. (Image: Dean McCartney)

If you like the look, the R-Line comes with 'race' decorative dashboard panelling, the leather steering wheel is comfortable to use, and there are aluminium pedal covers, a lower air intake and a rear diffuser.

Volkswagen is known for its practical designs but compared with the Polo, the T-Cross Style is a bit more fun. (Image: Dean McCartney) Volkswagen is known for its practical designs but compared with the Polo, the T-Cross Style is a bit more fun. (Image: Dean McCartney)

I like the positioning of the accelerator pedal compared to some versions of the Polo I've driven which I've found to be at an uncomfortable angle, leaving me with hip pain after a long drive.

There is a digital instrument display but it’s quite simple, it’s missing the teched out touches of its cousin – the Skoda Kamiq. You can add the optional 'Sound & Vision Package' (digital cockpit and premium audio) for another $2200 if you want to upgrade.

How does it drive?

The T-Cross comes with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine. It’s only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and it’s a front-wheel drive. 

It may have a small engine but for the size it has good power, and the ride is smooth, even though the suspension feels a little firmer than it needs to be (especially noticeable over speed bumps). But the car goes up steep hills easily and handles well. 

The T-Cross comes with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Dean McCartney) The T-Cross comes with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine. (Image: Dean McCartney)

You also have good fuel mileage for driving around town, and even with the air conditioning going at full tilt the car doesn’t lose a large amount of power. 

The turning circle is decent and it’s quite easy to park as it's small. The reversing camera is nice and clear and I found I had good visibility.

You have good fuel mileage for driving around town. (Image: Dean McCartney) You have good fuel mileage for driving around town. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Given the size of the car, the seats are nice and high and I had a good vantage point, better than some other small SUVs. The leather steering wheel makes for comfortable steering and it’s predictable and really easy. 

How spacious is it?

This is meant to be a compact SUV, not a big bruiser, so you’re not going to have the space to bring half the footy team with you, but in saying that, for it's size it's pretty spacious.

I’m 178cm (5' 10") and had a decent amount of space which is impressive for a car this size, even in the back.

I had a decent amount of space which is impressive for a car this size, even in the back. (Image: Dean McCartney) I had a decent amount of space which is impressive for a car this size, even in the back. (Image: Dean McCartney)

I drove the T-Cross with four adults and we all fitted comfortably, a passenger in the back was 190cm (6' 3") and he had just enough room to be comfortable. But it would have been a tight squeeze to have a third adult in the back.

You could fit three children, depending on their size and as long as most of them aren’t in car seats. One thing to note is that if you have a rear-facing child seat installed it eats up a lot of leg room for the front seat passenger. My knees were pretty much touching the dash.

You could fit three children, depending on their size and as long as most of them aren’t in car seats. (Image: Dean McCartney) You could fit three children, depending on their size and as long as most of them aren’t in car seats. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The boot size is 385 litres, and I was able to fit the car seat and a small carry-on suitcase in the boot, but nothing else. With the rear seat folded you get 1281 litres, which is really good for such a small SUV

  • The boot size is 385 litres. (Image: Dean McCartney) The boot size is 385 litres. (Image: Dean McCartney)
  • 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style I Boot 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style I Boot

One thing to note – which is rare for this class – is the way the back seat slides forward to give you more boot space. I struggled a bit with the lever that’s hidden under the front of the rear seat but once you figure it out it's easy to use. The extra space comes in handy but it does eat up the legroom in the back seat.

Another configuration for the boot is that it can be lowered to provide more space, meaning you get 455 litres combined. There's also a full-size spare tyre and hooks to tie down loose items.

How easy is it to use every day?

The car has practicality well covered with a bit of fun thrown in, and considering the T-Cross is essentially a Polo on stilts, it has decent storage as well with two cupholders up the front and a drink bottle holder for each door.

The centre console and glove box are a good size and there is a sliding tray under the front seat, possibly for a map. It's a bit old school but I like it. There are two USB-C ports up the front and two in the back.

There’s no centre arm rest for the back seat, so no cupholders for rear passengers, but you do have an air conditioning vent and a small storage space for a (compact) device while it charges.

Compared to its rivals, the T-Cross is missing some electronics, for example the controls to adjust the seats are manual and the design of the bonnet is quite heavy to lift up which makes it a bit of a strain.

How safe is it?

The T-Cross Style grade comes standard with parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, which isn't overly sensitive like some others.

The Style also has auto high beam which automatically turns on your high beams when you need them and dips them when other vehicles are coming, which is really handy on the highway. Adaptive cruise control is another Style-only feature.

The T-Cross Style grade comes standard with parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. (Image: Dean McCartney) The T-Cross Style grade comes standard with parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. (Image: Dean McCartney)

There's low-speed Auto Emergency Braking, and all the other safety you’d expect for this price range. The airbag count runs to six - dual front, front side (chest), and full-length curtain.

The Volkswagen T-Cross line-up received a maximum five star ANCAP rating in 2019 at the car’s Australian launch.  

There are three top-tether points across the rear seat backrest and you have ISOFIX anchors for the seats near the doors. You can choose which of the three car seat positions in the back you want to use, but you wouldn't fit in three seats.

What’s the tech like?

I was a little surprised by what’s not included in the T-Cross Style as the entry-level Life model is pretty basic, but the Style has what you need and as mentioned earlier, you can upgrade to the optional Sound and Vision Package.

The T-Cross Style comes with an 8.0-inch screen, which is smaller than some of its competitors. It also has a wireless charging pad and two USC-C charging points up front.

The T-Cross Style comes with an 8.0-inch screen, which is smaller than some of its competitors. (Image: Dean McCartney) The T-Cross Style comes with an 8.0-inch screen, which is smaller than some of its competitors. (Image: Dean McCartney)

You need a USB-C cord to connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but you can connect your phone via Bluetooth. The screen's design might be basic but it's very clear and functional making it easy to use.

You can upgrade the sound system but the standard set-up comes with six speakers, four in the front and two in the back, and provides a decent audio experience.

The digital instrument display that comes as standard is quite small and sits in the middle of your gauges on the dash. It doesn’t have a built in navigation system, unless you add on the digital cockpit as part of the Sound & Vision option. But it does give you your speed, basic multimedia information and driving data such as your fuel efficiency.

How much does it cost to own?

Relative to city-sized SUV competitors and the asking price, the T-Cross is good value for money. And I like that you can customise it to your budget by adding extra features.

The Style's standard equipment highlights (aside from the safety tech detailed above) include, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels, adaptive cruise, keyless entry and start, auto LED headlights, a reversing camera, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and wireless phone charging.

It also delivers decent fuel efficiency, with an official combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres. 

I drove around doing daily pick ups, a little bit of freeway driving and shopping and the Style gave me an average of 7.0L/100km over the week.

The T-Cross comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is pretty standard these days and you can get a three or five year care plan for the T-Cross for your first three or five services.

For five years it will cost you $1850 meaning you’ll save $787 compared with paying as you go, otherwise you have capped price servicing that is well priced with maintenance required once a year.


The Wrap

The Volkswagen T-Cross might be small, but it uses every inch of space it has, and for a small family living in the city or the suburbs I think it’s a good buy. But you do need to be wary that the fancy features that come with some of its rivals, like the Skoda Kamiq, are optional extras here.

I like the design of the car and the colour options it comes in allow you to show your personality, plus it is a really nice drive for such a small engine and it handles cramped car parks and crowded school pick-ups easily. It also feels solid while you're driving it which is what I want when I’m driving my family around.

I give this Volkswagen T-Cross Style R-Line a four out of five because considering it’s based on the Polo, it’s a great step up and feels comparatively spacious. But for kids its more of a three because of the modest child seat space.

Likes

Bright design
Smooth drive
Different boot options

Dislikes

Low on tech
Cramped with rear-facing child seat
No seat warmers

Scores

Helen:

4

The Kids:

5

$32,800

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.