Volkswagen’s entry-level SUV is getting a lot of test runs these days

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New spy shots of the Polo-based Volkswagen T-Cross are giving us a clear idea of what to expect when the smallest member of VW’s crossover family hits dealerships next year. The T-Cross was seen testing in and around the Nurburgring with heavy camouflage covering its front and rear sections. The crossover’s design elements are slowly unraveling, and from the looks of it, the T-Cross is going to be what we all thought it’d be. It’s a high-riding Volkswagen Polo with some design elements culled from its big brother, the T-Roc.


2019 Volkswagen T-Cross Exterior Spyshots
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The Volkswagen T-Cross is, essentially, a Volkswagen Polo wearing a crossover body.

The Volkswagen T-Cross is, essentially, a Volkswagen Polo wearing a crossover body. That’s how it was pegged to us previously, and looking at this new batch of spy shots hasn’t given us any cause to change that sentiment. The T-Cross is a small crossover, but it does draw a handful of styling cues from its big brother, the T-Roc. We don’t get to see what the front and rear sections look like clearly — blame the swirly camos for that — but we do get a good view of the rectangular lights adorning the front end. It’s unclear if those lights are the final production versions, though if you look closely at them, they have a different configuration from the ones Volkswagen uses on the T-Roc. It could be that, or it could be the way Volkswagen cut that camo to make it look like the T-Cross is sporting those 90’s-looking headlights. The crossover is said to have headlamps that integrate into the front grille so don’t be surprised to find out that VW is playing mind games with us. Everything else about the front section of the T-Cross appears to fit into what an entry-level crossover should look like. The body is straight-to-the-point and straightforward, exactly what this model is being built up to be.


2018 Volkswagen Polo High Resolution Interior
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Note: 2018 Volkswagen Polo interior pictured here.

There are no shots of the interior here, so our best bet at the moment is to speculate on this section. The good news is that we know how close the T-Cross is to the Volkswagen Polo, so if that holds true into production, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a cabin that’s similar to the one inside the Polo. That could mean a number of different things, but our best bet is that Volkswagen is going to put a premium on style over function considering the market the T-Cross is entering. Expect plenty of colors to be offered, particularly on the dashboard and center tunnel. A good amount of trim options could also be made available, as will an all-digital display, at least on upper-spec trim levels. Premium materials could also be offered, but those are likely to be options for those who can afford them.


2019 Volkswagen T-Cross Exterior Spyshots
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The Volkswagen T-Cross will come with a good number of engine options, beginning with a base unit that’s powered by a 1.0-liter

Just like the Polo, the Volkswagen T-Cross will come with a good number of engine options, beginning with a base unit that’s powered by a 1.0-liter TSI. It produces just 108 horsepower. A similar displacement unit with 93 horses could also be in the mix, as is a slightly larger 1.2-liter with only 88 horsepower on tap. Those who are looking for more power can also opt for the more capable 1.4-liter TSI mill with 147 horsepower in the mix or the range-topping 1.8-liter TSI that can produce as much as 189 horsepower.

Outside of the engine options, all versions of the T-Cross are expected to come with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive versions with Volkswagen’s trademark 4Motion system could be available, but if they do, they’re likely going to come in the form of options, more than anything else. If there’s one thing we can glean out of the T-Cross, it’s that this crossover is going to be offered to the masses, regardless if it has front-wheel or all-wheel drive.


2019 Volkswagen T-Cross Exterior Spyshots
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The Volkswagen T-Cross is pegged as an entry-level model. As such, it’s going to be priced that way. Don’t expect exact pricing figures to be announced anytime soon, but we can speculate on how much the crossover is going to cost by isolating it between the prices of the Polo and the Tiguan, the latter being the model that’s going to sit directly above the T-Cross.

These days, the Polo starts at around $16,000 while the Tiguan will set you back at least $24,850. Use these prices as benchmarks and you come to an educated assumption that the T-Cross will likely carry a starting price of around $18,000 and go up from there depending on the version. The top-spec variant could even fetch as much as $25,000 when all is said and done.


Honda HR-V

2016 - 2017 Honda HR-V High Resolution Exterior
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Once the Volkswagen T-Cross hits the market, it’s not going to have any shortage in competitors. One of its biggest rivals is expected to be the Honda HR-V. It shares similar roots as a crossover that was built on the underpinnings of another small model — the Honda Fit in the case of the HR-V. It also carries similar powertrain options. The HR-V, for example, comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that delivers 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. Over in Europe, the engine options include a 1.5-liter that produces 128 horsepower and 114 pound-feet and a 1.6-liter diesel that offers 118 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Pricing for the HR-V starts at $19,125, right around our expected starting price for the T-Cross.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda HR-V.

Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR
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Speaking of expected adversaries, the Toyota C-HR is as imposing as it comes. The Japanese crossover looks the part of a sporty and aggressive rival, something that Volkswagen should at least be wary of. Good looks aside, the C-HR really isn’t a direct competitor to the Volkswagen T-Cross, at least if you look at it from a number of different points of view. The Toyota crossover is bigger in size — it’s really a C-segment coupe crossover — and has bigger engine options to boot. These include a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 144 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Pricing also starts a level up at around $25,000. I included the C-HR here because it does answer one fundamental question that buyers in this segment routinely ask themselves. “If I’m going to buy a Volkswagen T-Cross, why don’t I just pay a little extra to get a Toyota C-HR?”

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota C-HR.


2019 Volkswagen T-Cross Exterior Spyshots
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It would be unfair to assume that we know a lot about the Volkswagen T-Cross because, at this point, we don’t know too much to make a valid assumption about it. But it is happening, and we’re excited to see how Volkswagen navigates around the difficulties of packing the model as an affordable alternative to bigger crossovers and SUVs. Honda and Toyota found a way to make it work so we expect Volkswagen to do the same. The early returns sound promising, though. Let’s just hope that Volkswagen can keep the momentum going.

  • Leave it
    • Lots of questions that need to be answered
    • Won’t have a shortage of competitors
    • Possibility of cheap shortcuts

Further reading

2018 Volkswagen Polo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Polo.

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen T-Roc.

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Read more Volkswagen news.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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