Another string to the VW bow

Everyone knows that the easiest way for a manufacturer to improve showroom traffic is to fill the showroom with SUVs and that’s exactly what VWSA will be doing as from the third week of September when the compact T-Cross competes for space with the Tiguan and the Touareg.

It’s taken rather longer than expected for the T-Cross, first shown at the recent Festival of Motoring, to reach these shores but the question on everyone’s lips will be whether the wait was worthwhile. Pre-release orders already look encouraging and while we have not yet had a chance to drive the newcomer, we can give you an idea ahead of the media launch of what to expect.

First off, although the four-door T-Cross definitely fits into the compact category, it’s not quite as dainty as you might surmise. There’s decent space for four adults and their luggage, and furthermore, the rear seat can move by 14cm to lift load space to 455 litres from 385 litres. Fold the backrest and a cavernous 1 281 litres is released.

Interior design is innovative, albeit that lots of hard surfacing is on view, and subject to model selection (in Europe buyers have three choices but for RSA, Comfortline and Highline models are initially offered along with an R-Line derivative), a digitised cockpit should be optionally on offer along with generous connectivity and niceties such as keyless entry and App Connect. Please consult your VW dealer for definitive specs, though.

It’s also fair to expect lots of standard “assist systems” in the Highline in addition to LED lighting, climatronic air con, ambient lighting, driver profile selection, Park Distance Control front and rear, sports seats, 18-ich alloys, inductive charging and more. Pricing starts at R365 000.

The Comfortline derivative starts at R334 600 and is still very comprehensively equipped with an identical mechanical spec to the Highline. Please visit www.vw.co.za for the specific details on this and the R-Line package which we can tell you adds lots a visual appeal as well as Active Info Display

The launch models in RSA will be powered by VW’s proven and surprisingly brawny 85kW/200Nm 1.0 litre triple with standard 7-speed DSG driving the front wheels. Then from the second quarter of 2020, an entry-level 70kW version in Trendline and Comfortline trim with 6-speed manual gearbox will be offered at a suggested price starting at under R300 000.

Best of all for those who want the top dog model, expect VWSA to be bringing in the 110kW 1.5 litre TSI model with R-Line kit in the first quarter of 2020. The SA market has waited a long time for this engine to make an appearance so let’s just say this is an exciting development.

Reassuringly, the T-Cross has already earned for itself a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

On our brief (static) acquaintance, the T-Cross gives every indication of providing a compelling blend of style and practicality. Look out in the near future for our full running report.

Article: Richard Wiley

This article first appeared in Ultimate Drive Ed.57

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