by Seán Creedon

Did you know that there are now only five record shops in Dublin city? You may well ask what has that fact got to do with reviewing a new car. Well the VW T-Cross that I drove last week had a CD player, which is a rarity in new cars nowadays.

Recently I spoke to a man in the music retail business and he is not happy that most new cars are being produced without CD players.

He told me that there are now only five record shops in our capital city and when tourists come to Ireland most go to see a show at night where they hear Irish singers.

Then the following day they want to buy a CD of the artist they heard, but there are very few record shops and no CD players in their hired cars.

Clever designs

Size-wise the T-Cross sits between the VW Polo and T-Roc. The neat, but somewhat clever designs makes the car looks substantial.

With rugged styling it certainly stands out in what is now a very crowded SUV market. The main rivals for the T-Cross are the Renault Captur, Ford EcoSport and Seat Arona.

The T-Cross is based on the same MQB platform as the Volkswagen Polo, but it’s longer, taller and boasts a high SUV-style driving position. 

The VW T-Cross in light green. (Picture: Paddy McGrath)

‘Energetic orange’

My test car came in a bright ‘Energetic Orange’ and I certainly had no difficulty finding it in the supermarket car park. It was a 1.0-litre petrol with 115 brake horse power. Also available in 1.6-litre diesel.

This is Volkswagen’s smallest crossover/SUV to-date and it’s a very lively motor. Externally it looks very stylish and that style is continued inside where the Orange colour scheme is replicated on the dash. There is also an attractive ‘wave’ design on the dash and the seats are also very colourful.

In the back there is just about enough space for three adults, while the boot is a decent size and you get a full-size spare wheel, which is always to be commended.

High driving position

I liked the high driving position and my back seat passengers were seated a few centimetres higher. So they really enjoyed the view over the hedgerows.

We are always told that you should never reverse out into oncoming traffic, but there is small area in the heart of Lucan village where, due to the one-way system, every motorist has to drive into a parking spot.

Volkswagen old and new – the new T-Cross and the vintage Beetle. (Picture: Paddy McGrath)

Great innovation

You need to be very careful reversing out and as I did so I couldn’t see the oncoming traffic due to the parked cars alongside. However, the ‘rear traffic alert’ system did see a car and applied the brakes for me. Great innovation.

There are other safety items included like Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Keeping Assist and Forward Collision Warning. I had seen all those in other cars, but the ‘Rear Traffic Alert’ was a first for me.

Apart from the CD player, I also liked the old-fashioned hand-brake in the T-Cross. Prices start at €22,550 while my ‘Life’ version was priced at €29,163. Road tax is €200.

The Energetic Orange was complimented by 16-inch matching Belmont alloys, which really add to the funky look. Two black roof rails also help.

Overall it’s a very neat motor and of course you can opt for a more discreet colour than my Orange-coloured test car, if you want to keep a low profile.