2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Jul 23, 2021

Editor's: 3.9/5
A promising segment contender, even on its entry-level form.
2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Tech & Safety
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Price
  9. Color Options
  10. Verdict

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review: Introduction

Let’s talk about perceptions. For years I personally see Volkswagen vehicles as straightforward and business-like. For some, it’s boring but I prefer calling these German machines mature. Timeless, even. 

But that has changed, at least with the car that the company sent me to review – the newly-launched Volkswagen T-Cross. 

With the Volkswagen brand still finding its niche in the Philippine automotive market, is the VW T-Cross the volume-seller that the company has been waiting for? I had the T-Cross in its entry-level S variant for a good amount of days and here are my thoughts.

3.9/5

Volkswagen T-Cross 2021 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics
    4.0/5

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology
    4.0/5

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance
    3.0/5

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality
    4.0/5

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money
    4.5/5

    Sticker price vs overall package

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Exterior Review: The most exciting gray

The VW T-Cross has made waves when it was announced, practically because it looks different from the rest of the range. It does look youthful and even though the media unit for the entry-level S comes with the playfully named Chinchilla Gray, it’s the most exciting gray color I’ve ever seen on a car – next to Mazda’s Polymetal Gray.

A picture of the front of the VW T-Cross

The Volkswagen T-Cross

As an entry-level unit, the T-Cross S does come with halogens, rid of fog lights and daytime running lights, but the entire design execution, albeit busy, is still cohesive which I like. That goes the same at the back where the LED taillights highlight the fascia, while the minimalist T-Cross emblem at the center somehow gives it an interesting appeal. The attractiveness of the thick, shiny piano black trims on the tailgate is up for debate but personally, I love the execution and how they complement the overall youthful vibe. 
 
Size-wise, the T-Cross is bigger than your average subcompact crossover within its price range. The 16-inch alloy wheels’ design on the S can be better; those who will go for the higher SE variant will get a different-looking set of 17-inch alloys.

A picture of the side of the Volkswagen T-Cross

The T-Cross assumes the typical crossover silhouette

Overall, I like what Volkswagen has done with the T-Cross and despite the halogens, the S trim can still suffice to satisfy your desire for a great-looking crossover even when bathed with the most basic color.
 
By the way, the T-Cross is the first Volkswagen vehicle in the Philippines that bears the updated VW emblem. Nice.

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2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Interior Review: Roomy but bland

The T-Cross is actually billed as a youthful vehicle with a bevy of colors you can get it with – particularly the red (Romance Red), yellow (Tribu), and purple (Syringa Violet) – that also reflects on its dashboard trimmings. However, the entry-level S doesn’t come with this visual upgrade.

A picture of the interior of the VW T-Cross

The interior is well-arranged, but it leans towards simplicity

With that said, the entry-level’s cabin is a bit bland and uneventful, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the use of textures and shapes, the hard plastics and the execution are somewhat parallel to what you’ll see inside the Santana sedan. The polyurethane tiller is also a bit too thin for my liking. There were some marginally soft touchpoints that you’ll surely appreciate, but they’re limited to the elbow rest with sliding and height-adjustable function. Otherwise, plain durable polymers are what’s on the menu, which could work for the older set of buyers rather than the demographic that the T-Cross is being advertised to.

A picture of the T-Cross' rear seats

The T-Cross' rear seats

Despite that, what I appreciate with the T-Cross is the several and massive storage areas. It has a large space for your wallet and smartphone near the gear lever, while the central cupholders and bottle holders on the doors are both spacious for your gulping needs. Without the sunroof, headroom is also plenty, while legroom at the rear seats would be comfortable enough for those standing around 5’10”. There isn’t any rear air-conditioning on this variant but at least there are illuminated USB ports (Type A and Type C) for gadget charging.
 
The 329L cargo area is more than enough for intended use, expandable up to 1,319L by folding the rear backrests and removing the tonneau.

A picture of the T-Cross' trunk with the rear seats folded down

That's plenty of room to work with that's for sure

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross: Tech & Safety Review

Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much from the entry-level S in terms of tech, but I was surprised with the inclusions. The wireless Apple CarPlay paired with the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment is one of the biggest surprises, along with the one-touch up/down function on all four windows. There’s also cruise control for convenient highway drives, while the lack of a rear parking camera is just fine since there are parking sensors available.

A picture of the T-Cross' headunit

The T-Cross' eight-inch touchscreen headunit

Of course, there are some omissions like a bigger touchscreen, hand gesture control, and ambient lights, but I guess the lack of those wouldn’t be hard to live with.

For an entry-level unit, the T-Cross is already adequately equipped in terms of safety and security. Dual airbags are standard, along with hill hold control, tire pressure monitoring, stability control, immobilizer, and speed-sensing door locks. The higher SE gets extra curtain and side airbags.

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross: Engine & Performance Review

The steering wheel is tilt-adjustable and telescopic, while the driver’s seat has a height adjuster, so finding a comfortable driving position was a cinch. Forward visibility’s great, as well, while placing the relatively small crossover on the road didn’t require years of driving experience. More importantly, the T-Cross is easy to maneuver with its light steering. You might look for additional feedback at times but for the most part, it behaves the way a comfortable crossover should.

A picture of the T-Cross' engine bay

The T-Cross' 1.5-liter engine

Power delivery’s a bit restrained, though. The naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter gasoline engine produces 111 hp and 145 Nm of torque – numbers that should be adequate for this crossover’s size and weight, but lackluster if you want a sporty drive. This is because of the six-speed transmission that’s geared towards fuel efficiency rather than performance. 
 
With that said, sporty drives would mean burying your foot on the accelerator – but at least the T-Cross has a comfortable ride and a behaved platform. Its NVH insulation is above average but can still be improved further.

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross: Fuel Efficiency

As mentioned, the T-Cross is geared towards fuel economy and the numbers I got during testing reflect that.

Mixed highway and city (heavy traffic) drives at an average speed of 15 km/h returned 8.9 km/l, while a steady run on the highway with cruise control set at 90 km/h registered 17.6 km/l. Those numbers are great, I must say, considering that I tested with two people and minimal luggage aboard.

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review: Verdict

It’s obvious that Volkswagen Philippines wants to change our perception of the brand with the T-Cross while trying to take a piece of the healthy SUV/crossover sales pie that the pricier Tiguan once belonged to.

And I think that they have a huge chance of doing so. At P1,068,000 for this S variant (introductory price) and P100,000 more for the SE variant, the T-Cross has all that it takes to become a volume-seller for the company and a solid contender in its segment.

Now, it all boils down to the deals you can get with this car, and which one you’ll choose: the S or the SE.

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review: Price

Volkswagen T-Cross Variants 

Price 

T-Cross 180 MPI AT S 

Php 1,098,000 

T-Cross 180 MPI AT SE 

Php 1,198,000 

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review: Color Options

Volkswagen T-Cross Color Options 

Syringa Violet*, Tribu Yellow*, Romance Red*, Polar White, Chinchilla Gray 

* These colors are only avaialble for the SE variant. 

2021 Volkswagen T-Cross Review: Verdict

Overall 

Make  

Volkswagen 

Name 

T-Cross S 180 MPI AT 

Body Type 

5-door crossover 

Dimensions and Weight 

Length 

4,218mm 

Width 

1,760mm 

Height 

1,599mm 

Engine and Transmission 

Type 

1.5-liter inline-4 gasoline 

Max Power 

111 horsepower 

Max Torque 

145 Nm 

Transmission 

Six-speed automatic transmission 

Chassis and Suspension 

Brakes (Front/rear) 

Disc/Disc 

Suspension (Front/rear) 

MacPherson Strut/Torsion beam 

Wheels and Tires 

205/60 R16 – 16-inch alloy wheels 

Exterior 

Halogen headlamps 

Rear foglamps 

Electronic exterior rearview mirrors w/ side turn lamps 

Rear spoiler 

Panoramic sunroof 

Interior 

Fabric seats 

Manual air-conditioning w/ rear AC vents 

Cruise control 

12V sockets 

8-inch touchscreen w/ Apple CarPlay 

Four-piece speakers 

Safety and Security 

Dual front airbags 

Anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force distribution 

ISOFIX 

Tire pressure monitoring 

Hill hold control 

Rear parking distance control 

Electronic Stability Control 

Engine immobilizer 

Jacob Oliva

Jacob Oliva

Author

Jacob is a motoring journalist in the Philippines. A former musician and a corporate slave, he took the leap of faith amid his twenties and started his writing career as a news and features writer for AutoDeal. It was there where he made his way up to become the chief editor and senior car reviewer before he left the company in 2020.

Right now, Jacob serves as the Content Manager of Philkotse. You may also read his insights about the local automotive industry in his column under Wheels, the motoring section of Philippine Star. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, Jacob is also the weekend editor for Motor1, a leading global automotive website.

Jacob has started his adoration for cars at an early age through his father’s Jeep Wrangler and his older brother’s Nissan Sentra. He currently has a soft spot in his heart for the latest version of the Suzuki Jimny, so don’t be surprised to see him one day driving a black or gray mini-SUV – bone-stock but with upgraded tires and rims.

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