2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style 85TSI Review
Price & Equipment:8
Interior & Practicality:7.5
Performance & Economy:7.5
Ride & Handling:8
Service & Warranty:7
What we like:
- Compact size hides practical interior
- Handsome styling
- Very zippy around town
What we don't like:
- Unrefined gearbox tuning
- Missing some key features
- Interior quality is not up to the usual VW standard
Small SUVs are all the rage at the moment with many buyers moving out of their hatchbacks and into this relatively new segment of vehicle. Most brands these days have an offering and Volkswagen is no exception. Enter the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross. Introduced for the 2021 model year, the T-Cross has already had a few price rises and equipment changes, so is it still good value? Let’s find out.
There is very stiff competition in this popular segment as the T-Cross goes up against the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Venue, Kia Stonic, Ford Puma and its own brother: the Skoda Kamiq. Aiming for a more premium look over its rivals, let’s find out if it has what it takes to come out on top. Like all other cars in this segment, the T-Cross is based off a small car and in this case it is the Volkswagen Polo.
Price & Equipment: 8/10
The 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross range starts out with the entry-level $30,750 plus on roads Life, though our test car is the top-spec $33,750 plus on-road costs ($36,990 drive away in New South Wales) Style. The pricing for the Style model of the T-Cross has increased by $2,760 in the short time it has been on sale, so is it still good value?
The 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel, cloth upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB-C ports, a six-speaker audio system, digital radio, wireless phone charging, automatic LED headlights, front (halogen) and rear fog lights, automatic wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, auto-folding and heated mirrors, keyless entry with push button start, LED interior ambient lighting, manually operated cloth seats and chrome roof rails.
There is an abundance of safety kit in the T-Cross, which includes six airbags, forward collision alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, low-speed rear auto braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring, driver fatigue monitoring, and semi-automatic park assist.
We would like to see a few more features added to the T-Cross Style for the price: heated front seats, a digital driver’s instrument cluster, an electric parking brake and satellite navigation.
There are a few option packages available on the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross range. There is the $2,200 Sound and Vision Package which adds wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 300-watt Beats sound system, voice control, a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display and satellite navigation. There is also the $2,600 R-Line Package, which was fitted to our test car, that adds sportier exterior styling, privacy glass, sports pedals, a black headlining, paddle shifters, larger 18-inch wheels and scuff plates.
The T-Cross is one of the more colourful cars in the Volkswagen range and it shows with the paint options. The standard colour is ‘Pure White’, while all other colours attract an extra $600 charge. These include ‘Deep Black’, ‘Makena Turquoise’, ‘Ascot Grey’, ‘Smokey Grey’, ‘Energetic Orange’, Reflex Silver’ and our test car’s ‘Reef Blue’.
The main rivals for the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style are the $30,490 plus on-road costs Kia Stonic GT-Line, the $31,900 +ORC Hyundai Kona Elite, the $32,090 +ORC Mazda CX-3 sTouring and the $37,990 (drive away) Skoda Kamiq.
Engine & Performance: 7.5/10
The only engine on the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross is a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol three-cylinder unit, which is shared from the Polo on which its based. It produces 85kW (at 5,500rpm) of power and 200Nm of torque (between 2,000rpm and 3,500rpm) and powers solely the front wheels via a seven-speed ‘DSG’ dual-clutch automatic transmission – there’s no manual or four-cylinder options available locally.
While those figures don’t seem too impressive on paper, the behind the wheel experience of the T-Cross is far more positive, especially at low revs. Higher up in the rev range you can occasionally be searching for more (especially when compared to the 110kW Mazda CX-3), but for a city car, the engine is more than adequate. We especially love the three-cylinder growl of this engine, especially compared to the zingy and mostly characterless four-cylinder options in this segment.
Unfortunately, the automatic transmission is where the drivability of the T-Cross starts to dip. We found this transmission to be quite lurchy in everyday use. There was quite a delay in setting off from a standstill, which was made much worse by the fuel-saving auto start stop system – thankfully this can be turned off for smoother progress. When moving the transmission seemed to change gears too low in the rev range to save fuel, meaning that any acceleration would need the gearbox to downshift. At higher speeds, the DSG box is great, we just wish it was smoother when setting off and parking.
The claimed average fuel consumption of the T-Cross is 5.4L/100km, which is rather good for a city SUV. Our week spent behind the wheel of the T-Cross with mostly urban and some highway use saw an average figure of 7.1L/100km. It requires 95RON premium unleaded fuel and has a 40-litre fuel tank.
Ride & Handling: 8/10
The ride characteristics of the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross are rather grown up for a small playful SUV. The ride can be on the firmer side, especially when compared to the Hyundai Venue or Kia Stonic with smaller wheels, but in typical Volkswagen fashion, it feels very solid and stable. The larger wheels of the R-Line pack do make the ride firmer than it needs to be, and that begs the question: style or substance?
There is one way to describe the handling ability of the T-Cross: playful. Being such a small car with such a small wheelbase, it’s great fun to throw around city streets and with the firmer suspension and bigger wheels, the T-Cross can handle its own around corners. We prefer the drivability of the T-Cross over the Kia Stonic and the Mazda CX-3, for sure. The T-Cross is also relatively quiet at speed and features well-tuned active safety systems – though the adaptive cruise control’s inability to undertake on multi-lane highways is infuriating.
Interior & Practicality: 7.5/10
The interior design of the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross is rather modern, though typically Volkswagen-conservative and while – for the most part it shares its design with the Volkswagen Polo – it still remains a practical interior for a small SUV. Being a car aimed at a younger audience the T-Cross needs to have some modern and cool tech, so does it? Let’s find out.
One rather disappointing aspect to the T-Cross is the interior quality. There are hard plastics everywhere you look and touch. The only surfaces that have soft touch materials are the door panel arm rests, the steering wheel and the centre console lid. Everything else is hard plastic. This is rather disappointing considering other cars in this segment offer even slightly better-quality interiors – and its Skoda Kamiq cousin is far more luxurious inside with its soft touch materials and textured plastics.
However, there are some good storage solutions in the T-Cross such as large door pockets with bottle holders, the wireless charger to store your phone (it is quite large so a wallet would fit too), a large centre console, a glove box that can store the owner’s manual and cup holders behind the gear selector. But one annoying aspect of the T-Cross’s interior is the location of the start button, which is on the passenger side of the gear lever, so you have to reach around it every time you start and turn off the car.
Thanks to its boxy shape, getting into the rear of the Volkswagen T-Cross is rather easy for a small SUV. There is a good amount of leg and head room, which makes sitting in the back seat tolerable for longer journeys. Rear passengers are also treated to two USB-C ports, door pockets, storage pockets on the back of the front seats and storage where rear air vents would be (but are not). There is no fold down centre arm rest or rear cupholders, but the seat does slide fore and aft.
The boot capacity of the 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross with the rear seats in place is 445-litres which is quite respectable for this segment. There is also a false floor with storage underneath, cargo tie down hooks and a cargo cover. Folding the seats down opens up this space to 1,281L. In comparison the Mazda CX-3 has a 264L/1,174L boot, the Kia Stonic can hold 332L/1,132L and the Hyundai Venue has 355L/903L of boot space. The clear winner in this segment is the Skoda Kamiq which can hold 400L/1,395L of cargo space – less than the T-Cross with the seats erect but more with them folded.
Service & Warranty: 7/10
The 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style comes with the brand’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty that is pretty standard for cars in this segment. The T-Cross only comes with 12-months of roadside assist but the Mazda CX-3 comes with five years of roadside assist while the Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic come with 12 months’ worth that is extended at each scheduled service up to five years in the Hyundai and seven years in the Kia.
The Volkswagen T-Cross needs servicing every 12 months or 15,000km, which is the same as the Hyundai Venue and Skoda Kamiq, whereas the Kia Stonic GT-Line and the Mazda CX-3 requite being serviced every 12 months or 10,000km. The price to service the T-Cross over the span of five years or 75,000km is $2,886 (an average service cost of $577.20). This is very expensive when compared to the $1,575 it will cost to service the Mazda CX-3 over the same timeframe (but to less distance). Buyers can choose a five-year service pack for $2,100 at the time of purchase, but that’s still not cheap.
2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.6/10
The 2022 Volkswagen T-Cross Style is an interesting proposition. It offers small dimensions and a cheerful driving experience with a low-rent interior, an unpredictable dual-clutch transmission and a slightly firm ride. In saying this we do like the T-Cross, it is fun to drive around in and it does come reasonably well equipped for the money. It also offers more character than a lot of its rival thanks to its cute styling and its peppy and angry-sounding turbocharged three-cylinder engine.
So you want a small SUV but want a premium car. Is the Volkswagen T-Cross the car for you? It’s definitely a good car but we would keep in mind that it’s not perfect and rivals do some things better – the Skoda Kamiq is more practical and better quality, while a Hyundai Kona is much cheaper to service and offers better drivability. But regardless, the T-Cross is a good all-rounder – exactly what you’d expect from a Volkswagen Group product.