Villa Samadhi, Singapore – From Rolls-Royce to Renault, Ferrari to Fiat, anyone and everyone has their finger in the crossover pie with offerings of all shapes and sizes to pander to different tastes.
One of the latest compact city crossovers (and the smallest SUV in the VW line-up that sits between the Polo hatchback and T-Roc SUV) to rock into the Singapore scene is the Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI, a perky and punchy performer, which like many things these days, is more about the 'show' than the 'go'... NTTAWWT of course.
So what's the T-Cross then?
The T-Cross's styling is more aligned to that of a traditional SUV than modern crossover. This means its rugged, chunky monkey aesthetics that would otherwise look intimidating and utilitarian in a vehicle of larger proportions suit the cheeky compact T-Cross to a, erm, 'T'.
Aside from an imposing Touareg-esque R-Line front grille, the front-drive T-Cross gets a whole LED complement for headlights, taillights and DRLs, so it creates a distinctive, larger-than-life visual impression as it scampers around our urban jungle.
Is it a good size?
Don't be fooled by its compact 4235 x 1760 x 1584mm proportions, because the 2551mm wheelbase provides decent accommodation for both warm bodies and barang-barang in the cabin.
With the 60/40 rear-seats folded flat, the boot-space swells to 1281-litres (from 385-litres) allow the T-Cross to gobble up large and odd-sized items.
In particular, we like the sliding rear seats, which allows one to adjust the rear seats to/fro by up to 140mm to either free up more storage space in the boot, or accommodate taller passengers.
Will people look?
The T-Cross R-Line's rugged chic had folks craning their necks for a better glimpse of the car – we definitely noticed some Peugeot crossover owners checking it out during the course of our hour-long drive.
Mind you, we weren't in one of the lurid Energetic Orange (or Makena Turquoise) test-cars with matching 17-inch alloy rims, but a subdued and stealthy Limestone Grey, which was artfully embellished with sporty black exterior trim.
Naturally, there are several matching exterior/interior 'Design Packages' to let you spec the T-Cross to be as understated (or as loud) as your personality can tahan, with VW Singapore bringing in the high-grade R-line as starting point so you get a tonne of equipment as standard.
Standard fit on these cars include colour-coded interior trim, the Beats sound system, wireless charging and digital cockpit, which features an eight-inch Infotainment touchscreen with Gesture Control, as well as a 10.25-inch Active Info Display with App-Connect.
How does it go?
For city-driving, the turbo'd three-pot that is matched to a slick-shifting 7spd dual-clutch gearbox delivers brisk progress, with a full-fat 200Nm on tap from just 2000rpm that'll let it dive in and out of gaps in traffic.
(Click HERE to read about another pair of turbo'd 3cyl tykes, the Charade GTti and A1 Sportback)
At highway speeds, you'll need to plan ahead if you intend on overtaking, because it takes awhile to muster the steam needed to charge ahead. The elevated driving position provides good visibility, yet the T-Cross isn't too tall to handle itself in the twisties.
All in, the T-Cross is a lively and versatile companion with a too-cool-for-school attitude that lets you enjoy life, and isn't intended to tackle every journey like it's a rat-race.
If anything, we feel racing from one traffic light to the next and flooring it everywhere would be missing the point of the car.
The T-Cross's S$128,900 starting price isn't exactly cheap (we understand a limited number of ex-stock Audi Q2s were sold at S$111k the same weekend the T-Cross was launched), however VW has knocked-off S$10k for its launch discount (which is valid till 9th December 2020).
As with most things in life, if you want to play, you gotta be prepared to pay, especially if it's more fun than functional you're after ...
VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI R-Line
Engine 999cc, inline3, turbo
Transmission 7spd dual-clutch DSG
Top Speed 193km/h
Fuel Consumption 5.2l/100km