Ian Lamming tries to take control in the new Volkswagen T-Cross .
THIS car is a good driver; no misprint there, I don’t mean drive, I mean driver.
Many cars come with variously appointed ‘lane assist’ systems. These are the latest technological gizmos which uses on-board cameras to monitor the white lines so you don’t stray off the carriageway.
Some beep if you do, others vibrate through the steering wheel to wake you up. An increasing number actually steer for you and flash up on the dash politely that you might want to take control.
They started working on the big fat motorways where the lanes are straight, steering input is mild and the white lines are clear to see. They didn’t bother with country stuff because they weren’t accurate enough and would go and sulk in a corner with a headache or, in extreme circumstances, slam the brakes on panic-style.
The latest generation are much more accurate and hint of what is round the corner, I’m sure, the driverless car.
Volkswagen’s latest diddy SUV, the T-Cross, is just such a vehicle. It’s not quite autonomous but the way it steers for you is pretty close.
At first the system can seem strange, if not alarming, as it wrests and fights for control of the steering wheel. As if this isn’t enough it also vibrates its consternation when changing lanes unless you signal long and early.
Control-freaks may feel affronted but once you get used to the ‘help’ it is just what you need on a long drive home when you are a tad tired.
T-Cross joins a burgeoning family of Volkswagen SUVs as the world’s appetite for pseudo-4x4s shows no sign of abating.
It is a neat little looker with a funky derriere, chunky clean lines and a serviceable interior with all the info-tech you could ask for. It’s not lavish but it is only 18K and it is well thought out and functional.
This particular T is the 1.0 litre petrol, a three cylinder which should be too small, but isn’t thanks to the turbo.
It produces a thoroughly respectable and torquey 95PS, which means the T-Cross never lacks pulling power and still returns around 50mpg. If you work it, it will drop into the 40s but cruise on a whiff of throttle and 55 becomes the norm.
Handling and ride are safe and secure, comfortable and agile, so no complaints there and it is fun enough to drive once you win the battle of the steering wheel (Pssst, you can switch it off, but it defaults back on every time you restart the car).
T-Cross makes sense, if you think about it, by placing an SUV variant in just about every sector of the VW range. This is the shrimp but it comes packed with big car luxuries, like the steering assist, helping you take control of every situation while enjoying the drive.
Engine: VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI
0-62mph: 11.5 secs
Top speed: 112mph
Combined MPG: 56.2
Transmission: five-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 112