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The India-spec T-Cross will make it to India in 2020 but the version that will come here will be adapted heavily for our market and will be heavily localised to keep costs down. The car will be built on VW’s MQB A0 platform. The car you see here in this test is a prototype of the international-spec model that is, according to the car’s engineers, “95 percent complete.”
This car is inspired by the T-Roc, particularly at the rear. The car has an imposing nose and chunky chin and looks quite grown up for an SUV, despite being only 4.1m long. This car comes loaded with safety tech and it also features a lot of practical elements. The car will come with a full suite of driver assist technology, including VW’s latest front assist area monitoring system, which can prevent impacts with vehicles ahead or ones that are approaching from the side. The car offers a class-leading 455 litres of luggage space when the 60/40-split rear bench is slid forward by 20mm. The boot can be increased to 1,281 litres with the rear seats completely down.
The T-Cross offers “unrivalled flexibility”, according to VW small cars boss Andreas Krüger. The higher-spec trims of the T-Cross will be fitted with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the active info display instrument cluster as well, from the international-spec Polo Hatchback. With this car you can also get an optional 3D print design on the dashboard to spruce things up.
Under the hood of this prototype sits a 115hp, three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (the car will be sold with a six-speed manual as standard). This is the engine that VW plans to localise for the Indian market, while there will be other engines offered on the cars sold abroad.
The T-Cross is available in front-wheel-drive only and while driving it, the SUV feels only marginally larger than a Polo. The 1.0 TSI, familiar from the international Polo and Golf, is an impressive engine - it feels eager and free revving in the T-Cross. The DSG dual-clutch gearbox is quick to shift as well. But VW engineers are still working on this car, so the production car could respond differently from this prototype.
It’s difficult to arrive at a conclusion about a production car by driving a prototype. But what we know now is that the T-Cross has a lot going for it, particularly in terms of practicality. VW’s smallest SUV marries desirability, practicality and affordability in one package. When it comes to India, the T-Cross will compete with cars like the Hyundai Creta, Renault Captur and the upcoming five-seat Tata Harrier.
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