With world premieres in Amsterdam, Shanghai and São Paulo, Volkswagen recently presented its new T-Cross.
This is their first small SUV, and the German car maker says it “resolutely continues the SUV product offensive begun in 2015”. This new model, they add, “combines style, practicality, flexibility, connectivity and economy” and sets new standards for its class.
Shorter (and therefore better suited to the city) than the T–Roc, the new car is also more compact than the Tiguan. Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen Brand, explained at the world premiere in Amsterdam: “We’re actually presenting the T-Cross today three times over! We unveiled it a few hours ago in Shanghai, and São Paulo will follow later tonight. It shows just how important the T-Cross is to the Volkswagen brand as a truly global product.”
At 4.11 metres in length, the new SUV is around twelve centimetres shorter than the T-Roc but despite that it offers easy access through four large doors – a major advantage of the MQB modular transverse matrix, which allows the driven front axle to be positioned much further forward.
The long 2.56-metre wheelbase forms the basis for a spacious interior, with plenty of room for up to five people. The luggage compartment holds between 385 and 455 litres, and thanks to a sliding and folding rear bench seat, the car can be transformed into the equivalent of a small van with a flat cargo area and up to 1,281 litres of storage volume.
There’s a choice of four turbocharged engines: three petrol and one diesel. The two 1.0 TSI three-cylinder petrol engines with petrol particulate filter generate 70 kW/95 PS or 85 kW/115 PS. The top model is the 1.5 TSI four-cylinder engine with 110 kW/150 PS. Completing the range is a 1.6 TDI four-cylinder engine with 70 kW/95 PS. All engines comply with the latest Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard.
Depending on the selected drivetrain, a five or six speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG directs power to the front axle.
Standard equipment includes numerous driver assistance systems which were previously reserved for higher vehicle classes. Together with the vehicle’s crash characteristics and occupant protection, these ‘increase safety, reduce the risk of a collision and improve driving comfort’.
Already included as standard equipment are Front Assist area monitoring system with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking System, lane keeping assistant Lane Assist, Hill Start Assist, a proactive occupant protection system, and Blind Spot Detection lane change assist system with integrated Rear Traffic Alert.
A Driver Alert System, automatic adaptive cruise control and Park Assist are available as options. Other options include a Keyless Access locking and starting system which ‘makes access to the T-Cross more convenient’, and Light Assist main-beam control that automatically switches the main beam on and off when oncoming traffic is approaching.
Inside, passengers enjoy a ‘superior view’ and good all-round visibility thanks to the elevated seating position: the driver and front passenger sit 597 mm above the road, the rear passengers 652 mm. The interior is spacious, giving the feeling of a larger vehicle. It can also be adapted to meet a range of requirements. The process is flexible, quick and simple. The rear bench seat that can be slid forwards or back by up to 14 centimetres, thereby increasing footwell space for passengers in the second row, or maximising luggage volume. The rear seat backrest can be split 60:40 and either fully or partially folded down.
There’s a high level of networking and connectivity and the operation and customisation of the on-board functions are intuitive. Smartphones can be charged inductively, and up to four USB ports provide digital convenience.
Volkswagen is set to invest some one billion euros to serve the particularly strong growth in the market for compact SUVs. For the 2017-2027 period, independent forecasting institutes expect an approximate doubling worldwide of so-called CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicles) in the small car segment – the class to which T-Cross belongs.
Looking ahead, in 2020, the ID. CROZZ will be Volkswagen’s first fully-electric SUV to be launched on the market. Then, with models ranging from the T-Cross to the ID. CROZZ, the German car giant will offer one of the world’s largest SUV ranges and cover practically all segments.