The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
But aside from how high you sit, the whole arrangement feels similar to that of the Polo on which the T-Cross is based. That means there’s a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment, including standard height and lumbar adjustment on all trims. Our only minor grumble is that, depending on your leg length, you might find that the base seat digs into the backs of your knees.
The Active Info Display (standard on range-topping R-Line trim and optional on SE and SEL trims) replaces conventional analogue instruments with a 10.3in digital screen behind the steering wheel. This places a lot of useful information, including navigation maps on models with sat nav, right in front of you so is worth considering.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Thin windscreen pillars keep the view forwards unobstructed but, like many of its rivals, the T-Cross’s thick rear pillars are a hindrance when you're looking back over your shoulder.
Fear not, though. Manoeuvring worries can be alleviated by adding the relatively inexpensive rear-view camera to our favourite SE trim. Front and rear parking sensors come as standard from SEL trim upwards, but it’s disappointing you get no sensors at all on S or SE trim unless you dip into the options list.
Ultra-bright LED headlights come as standard with SEL and R-Line trims, but are a very expensive option if you go for an SE model.
Sat nav and infotainment
Every T-Cross has an 8.0in colour touchscreen, along with a USB connection, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Volkswagen Connect also comes as standard – this allows the car to communicate with an app on your phone to, among other things, analyse your journeys and check the car's location.
Our recommended SE trim has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, so you can use a few of your phone’s apps – including Google Maps and Waze – through the touchscreen. If you'd prefer a built-in sat nav you'll need to either pay extra or upgrade to SEL trim or R-Line trim, but we wouldn't bother.
Whichever trim you choose, the basic hardware and software remains the same and works just as well as it does in other Volkswagen models. That is to say that the operating system is user-friendly and the screen responds promptly to prods. However, as with other touchscreen-based systems, some of the smaller icons can be hard to hit on the move. Meanwhile, the standard sound system has six speakers but can be upgraded with the Beats Soundpack; this adds a subwoofer and boosts power to 300 watts.
Sadly, the T-Cross doesn’t mirror the cheaper Polo – on which it is based – for interior quality. Everything feels well screwed together and should stand up to the rigours of family use but, where the Polo displays a mix of soft-touch materials on the top of its doors and dashboard, the T-Cross presents a sea of hard, shiny plastic. Surprisingly, the closely related Skoda Kamiq feels quite a lot more upmarket inside.
At least you have the option of jazzing things up with a range of trim packages; you can add coloured and textured dashboard panels, for example, as well as ambient lighting to provide a bit more atmosphere at night. R-Line trim adds some logos to the interior and highlights such as ‘aluminium-look' pedals to give it more visual flair.
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