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New 2018 Volkswagen T-Cross set to lead baby SUV boom

Volkswagen has grand plans for a full range of electric cars in all shapes and sizes, but before they arrive at the beginning of the next decade, the German brand will address the gaping hole in its current SUV line-up. A new baby SUV, called the T-Cross, will arrive in the second half of this year and could make its debut at September’s Paris Motor Show, before going on sale in the UK towards the end of the year. 

VW has been rather slow in building its SUV portfolio, but within the next two years it has said it will have 19 SUVs on sale worldwide, which will account for up to 40 per cent of its total sales. The T-Cross will play a huge role in that plan thanks to its lower price point, cheaper running costs and style-focused design; it will sit beneath the T-Roc, Tiguan and Touareg in VW’s line-up. 

The past 12 months have seen the baby SUV market become awash with new arrivals from the likes of Kia, SEAT and Citroen, with rivals from Skoda and Lexus waiting in the wings (see below). Our exclusive images give you an idea of how the finished T-Cross could look. It’s set to adopt elements from the T-Roc, with its integrated headlamp and grille design. There are also likely to be lots of personalisation options, with contrasting roof, wheel and interior parts. 

VW will use the all-new Polo as a base for the T-Cross, but because of its bigger focus on practicality the newcomer will have slightly inflated proportions. Spy shots have also indicated that the baby SUV will be even taller than its in-house rival from SEAT, the Arona. The MQB chassis that will sit beneath the T-Cross (the same basic architecture that is used on everything from the Polo to the Passat saloon) means VW will offer the T-Cross with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as the possibility of plug-in hybrid technology. 

The core line-up will be based on VW’s new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol, which will offer power outputs ranging from 75bhp to 115bhp. Five and six-speed manual boxes will be standard across most of the range, while a dual-clutch automatic transmission will be available on higher-spec models. It’s unlikely that VW will introduce 4Motion all-wheel drive on the T-Cross due to the additional cost that this would pass on to the customer. 

Still, there’s the possibility of a GTI version; VW boss Herbert Diess has previously told Auto Express that the GTI badge would be reserved for VW’s smaller cars, while the hotter R badge would only find its way to larger vehicles. Because the Polo and T-Cross will share the same platform, the new 197bhp 2.0-litre turbo from the latest Polo GTI would fit straight under the bonnet. The T-Cross won’t be the first new VW SUV to arrive in 2018, because an all-new version of the flagship Touareg is set to be unveiled at March’s Geneva Motor Show. That car will be one of the most luxurious VWs ever, with an overhauled cabin featuring a completely digital dashboard and centre console.

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