A Volkswagen executive says the new T-Cross is not merely “a reworked Polo”, despite the fact the fresh-faced crossover shares much of its underpinnings with the popular hatchback.

Speaking to Autocar at the unveiling of the new model (which is destined for South African shores in 2019), project manager Felix Kaschützke conceded VW was late to the baby-crossover party, but added it was “something we have done before”.

“Usually, we are not the first in a segment but, when we come, we are the best. When customers hear there is a new small SUV from Volkswagen, they know we’ll get it right. We’ve put everything in this car that customers might expect,” he told the British publication.

Riding on the A0 version of the Wolfsburg-based brand’s ubiquitous MQB platform, the five-seater, front-wheel-drive T-Cross will be built alongside the Polo – with which it shares its 2,56-metre wheelbase – at VW’s plant in Navarra, Spain.

But the T-Cross certainly seems more versatile, with its luggage compartment rated to hold between 385 and 455 litres (depending on the position of the sliding rear bench). With that rear seatback folded down, utility space measures 1 281 litres, according to VW.

“We needed to differentiate it so customers could see the added benefits. It can’t just be a reworked Polo; it has to be a truly credible car. People aren’t going to buy this car because it’s an SUV, but because of the versatility it gives them: a higher driving viewpoint and extra space,” Kaschützke said.

He added he believed the new T-Cross could rival the Polo and Golf in the sales charts.

“I think it will be up there with them. Customers are seeking SUVs, and we know some who used to buy a Polo will go into this,” he said.

Interestingly, VW also ruled out a GTI or R version of the new model, with small product line manager Andreas Kruger saying "the T-Cross is not a sports car”.

“We have the Polo GTI in that class, which is a great car - I drive it myself - but the T-Cross is more for the family, it’s a functional car," Kruger confirmed.
Volkswagen T-Cross