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Yet another SUV is taking to Irish roads, the Volkswagen T-Cross which slots into the compact sector of the market and with this arrival the family has expanded to five strong.

The newcomer borrows on style cues from its larger siblings and has a more rugged appearance than the T-Roc which is the top selling SUV across the European market.

Built on the MQB platform it is a mere 12mm shorter than the T-Roc and 54mm longer than the Polo.

Driving through the front wheels with a choice of engines, two petrol of one litre capacity, 95 and 115PS. Gearbox choice is two manual (five or six speed) and a seven speed DSG gearbox.                                                                                                                  In the Republic of Ireland and in the larger European market there is a 95PS diesel engine, the latter is not available in the UK and I am sure that some will be disappointed that this engine is not currently on offer in Northern Ireland, however this has not been ruled out.

This is Volkswagen’s first foray into the compact SUV sector of the market which continues to grow as customers move away from the more traditional hatchbacks and small saloons.

I had the opportunity to drive the attractive new T-Cross and right away I was impressed with the quality/ sturdy build and the level of onboard equipment, dependent of course on the trim chosen and there is an excellent choice.

The trim levels are S, SE, SEL and R-Line (Northern Ireland), and in the Republic of Ireland trim levels include Life and Style with design packages available. Competitive pricing will certainly make this vehicle very attractive.

Taking into account the success that T-Cross is having in Europe, Volkswagen see it becoming a strong seller after the likes of Golf and Polo. Where T- Cross will prove very popular will be in urban areas with ease of parking thanks to its compact dimensions. A zero emission version the ID.CROZZ has already been decided and it will be the first fully electric SUV from the giant German carmaker who now tops the worldwide charts for car production with fifty plants throughout the world and a point of interest China accounts for about half of all sales.

One of the plus benefits of an SUV is practicality and in this respect I particularly like the sliding rear seat, a movement of a mere 14mm delivers 455 litres of boot space. Equipment levels of course depend on the trim level selected and even the entry level model has a respectable level to add to the driving pleasure.

Connectivity is a must for many modern day drivers and with this Volkswagen comes a high end level also regarding safety. The company’s second generation Active Info Display as well as up to date infotainment systems all add further to the enjoyment factor. Re safety, amongst the highlights, Front Assist featuring Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Brake, Blind Sport Monitor, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control etc. Much the same as larger and more expensive cars. Options include keyless locking and the starting system Keyless Active, designed of course to further aid ease of motoring.

We like our vehicles to stand out from the crowd, so there are a number of bold exterior finishes and various trim versions.

My time behind the wheel and I tried a 95PS with a five speed transmission which was better than I expected, performance wise rest to (100kph) 62mph in 11.5 seconds with an emission rating of 112g/km and as regards the more powerful version equipped with the DSG gearbox, rest to (100kph) 62mph in 11.2 seconds, not much difference, however re top end performance, the less powerful version can reach (180kph) 112mph with the 115PS achieving (193kph) 120mph.

Behind the wheel, the new T-Cross has that familiar well built feel that we have come to expect from the brand and sure footed handling.

Over the bumps it rode well, the less powerful version I tried had 17 inch wheels compared to the 18 inch wheels of the more powerful version. Sixteen inch alloys also available in the Irish market.

The high seating position affords for excellent visibility which extends to all who travel in the new T-Cross.                                                                                                                               Volkswagen yet again has come up with the goods, a highly affordable and desirable vehicle which is going to conquest.

Ian Lynas

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