Volkswagen has finally dropped the sheets from its long-awaited compact SUV, the T-Cross, over three star-studded reveals across the world… but Australia has to take a back seat until at least 2020.
The five-seat, five-door T-Cross was revealed at events in the Netherlands, China and Brazil over the weekend.
Based on the same platform as the recently released Polo, the T-Cross is, at 4110mm long, smaller than the category-leading Mazda CX-3. Claiming up to 455 litres of space behind its seats, however, it will arguably have more cargo space than all of its potential rivals, including the voluminous Honda HR-V (411 litres), Mitsubishi ASX (393 litres) and Hyundai Kona (361 litres).
The Volkswagen T-Cross will be available in front-wheel-drive guise only, and while Australian specs aren’t yet available, WhichCar.com.au understands that a five-speed manual variant won’t be offered here; ditto the diesel versions announced at the launch.
Instead, the local range will likely feature two model grades powered by 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engines (one at 70kW and one at 85kW), while the top-spec T-Cross variant will sport VW’s latest 110kW 1.5-litre petrol turbo four-cylinder. All will be teamed with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Expect to see Comfortline, Trendline and Sportline variants on offer, with R-Line additions as an option.
Based on a modified version of the VW Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform – which underpins everything from the VW Golf and Arteon to the similar sized Skoda Karoq – VW says the T-Cross will come standard with its Front Assist area monitoring system that includes pedestrian detection and AEB , active lane assist and hill start assist, as well as a blind-spot detection lane change assist system with rear traffic alert.
Systems like adaptive cruise control and automated parking assist will be available on higher grades.
Inside, expect to find an inductive phone charging pad, VW’s capacitive touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android auto smartphone mirroring, VW’s digital dash as an option, up to four USB ports and more.
Despite turning up very late to the compact crossover party, VW is betting big that the sector will continue to grow strongly across the world; for example, both China and South America will get bespoke versions of the T-Cross for their respective markets.
The T-Cross will be built in Spain alongside the newest Polo, with VW earmarking $2 billion to upgrade the Navara plant by the end of next year to increase production.
VW Australia has been shouting loud and long for the T-Cross to lob into our SUV-mad market. “It simply can’t arrive soon enough,” said head of communications for VW Australia, Paul Pottinger, who confirmed that it’s unlikely to arrive before 2020.
One of the big reasons for the lengthy delay in the arrival of the T-Cross is the worldwide harmonised light vehicle emissions testing regime (WLTP), which is twice as complex and time-consuming as the previous emissions testing protocols.
The move to WLTP testing has meant that VW Australia has to stand in line as more than 200 models and their respective variants are ratified to the new standard, which has just come on line in Europe.