Whether you have a small family and need a primary or secondary vehicle, are single or a couple that like trips away, have pets or even grandkids, the extra space and height in a small SUV, like the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross, can be a real advantage over a hatch.
For this writer, it’s how many motorcycle parts I can fit in the back to smuggle home via the laneway, along with the beer supplies. The new 85TSI Style version of the T-Cross, tested here with the R Line pack and Reef Blue paint, is the top spec of the range.
Priced from $36,990 drive away, it doesn’t come with the Sound & Tech package, much like the Polo Style, so there’s no wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. What it does come equipped with above the T-Cross Life is plenty though.
You’ll find DAB+ digital radio, park assist, 17-inch alloys, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, blind spot monitoring, LED headlights with light assist, front and rear carpet mats, LED ambient lighting, and comfort front sports seats.
Our T-Cross also had the R-Line upgrade which includes swaps out the wheels for 18-inch Nevada alloys, R-Line logos on the grille and front wheel guards, a lower air intake and rear diffuser, tinted back and rear side windows, and R-Line interior dash panelling.
‘Carbon-Flag’ seat material, a leather steering wheel and sporty alloy pedals are also added. It all looks and feels cool. Overall, the interior and exterior of the T-Cross Style in R-Line guise is sensational, although there’s less soft touch and more hard plastics inside.
Regardless, there are a huge number of accessories available to make the T-Cross your own. Powered by an 85kW, 200Nm inline three-cylinder turbocharged engine and mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the T-Cross Style is zippy and surprisingly quick.
Considering how hard the motor has to work, that’s pretty impressive. We recorded 10.8-seconds to 100km/h in Sports Auto, with 10.9-seconds using manual paddle shift, which is responsive and fun to use. The gearbox is smarter than this reviewer at least.
Unlike with the Polo Style, which made some strange gear choices from time to time, the T-Cross was flawless, always choosing the perfect ratio to keep that triple in the sweet spot, and providing brisk acceleration and response at all times.
We were impressed by the gearbox and engine combo, although we’re not sure whether the larger 18-inch alloys had an impact on just how well the T-Cross does. The small SUV managed 6.9-litres/100km across 1000km of testing, which is pretty decent.
On the open highway, there’s plenty on tap for overtaking, but with a cabin filled with four adults you do feel the engine straining a little harder to get past traffic on those bigger hills. It’s rated to tow up to 1100kg braked, so a small camper could be an option too.
The active cruise works a treat and is responsive to inputs, although it likes to jump 10km/h at a time, which can be frustrating. Engine noise on the highway is minimal, but wind noise is quite loud through the door and window seals, and can get annoying.
The T-Cross Style chassis is a gem. It feels like what it is, a really tall sports hatch, and with the big wheels and reasonably firmly sprung suspension, it can be driven surprisingly hard through the hills, and offers quite the rewarding experience for what it is.
Steering is light and direct, with enough feedback and resistance to let you know where you stand. The brakes have decent initial bite and enough power, without unsettling such a tall car, while body roll is less than you’d expect. In short, it’s still fun despite being an SUV.
Around town, the T-Cross Style is fantastic. Tall, with a commanding view and large windows, well placed mirrors and very supportive, comfortable seats, we found it a car we could happily drive all day long.
This reviewer is 187cm tall, and with my seat in position, the teenager had plenty of legroom in the back seat. We also ran a booster seat in the back to the left for the youngest and had my 8-year-old comfortably in the rear centre seat.
With the other teenager up front, the combination worked well and there is lots of room for bags in the huge hatch. If you need more space, the rear bench can slide forward a little, which is handy. The rear seats split 60/40 or fold all the way down too.
As an added bonus, there are roof racks fitted as well, so plenty of options. The only downside we found were a lack of cup holders in the back. A tiny storage tray in the centre, with two USB-C points, are all the rear passengers get.
There’s no rear central armrest and only bottle holders in the doors. There are also no rear A/C vents, but there are child seat points for all three positions and the doors open right out, making it easy to get in and out, or get the kids sorted.
The entertainment/infotainment package is nothing special but has everything you would want at this price point aside from wireless Bluetooth connectivity for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, which annoyingly required a cable.
There is a wireless charging tray, a small central storage compartment under the armrest and a hard plastic tray on top of the dash. There is also a 12V outlet along with two USB-C outlets up front, as well as a decent sized glovebox.
The climate control system was hit and miss, and you’ll find yourself having to manually turn it up and down to keep a consistent, comfortable temperature in the cabin. At night, everything is well lit inside the cabin and all of driver the controls fall easily to hand.
The dash layout includes a digital display with analogue-look gauges and a central data screen, and there are a few view options to choose from. It’s all simple and easy to navigate from the steering wheel controls, taking no time to get familiar with.
The sound system is good and offers four speakers at the front and two at the back.
Overall, the T-Cross Style is a fantastic daily driver that very much slotted into the role as a secondary car for our large family. Yours truly also enjoyed solo time zipping around in the T-Cross. If we were in our 20’s and child free, we’d buy one for sure.
Back then, with just a dog and weekends free to explore Australia, the trendy but capably T-Cross would have ticked all of the boxes. You can build your own the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style and the R-Line package on the car maker’s website.
If you’re keen on one and need finance, check out CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was proved by Volkswagen Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style R-Line, talk to your local Volkswagen dealer. Images: Heather Ware, HMC Photography.