Volkswagen’s T-Cross is headed to India sometime in 2020-2021. In Europe, it comes built on the company’s high-tech and expensive MQB A0 platform that also underpins the new Polo. VW will, however, customise the T-Cross for India and build it on a lower-cost version of the platform, known as MQB A0 IN. The sub-platform for India will not only be more affordable, it will be larger and more spacious on the inside, too.
To begin with, it will be built on a longer, 2,651mm wheelbase. A substantial 90-100mm taller than the base European car, the car sold in India will also have longer doors and a more spacious cabin. The biggest beneficiary of all the extra space between the wheels will, of course, be the passengers at the rear, who will now have much more legroom. What VW will do to make the rear of the cabin even more comfortable for the third passenger in the back is lower the height of the central tunnel that sits between the seats on the floor.
Also, to help deal with our poor roads better and give it more of an SUV stance, the Indian version of the car will have slightly higher ground clearance, which could be as much as 205mm. Interestingly, the suspension set-up is likely to be more comfort-oriented too. To counter this, the Indian T-Cross is likely to get larger-diameter, solid, anti-roll bars. And that’s not it – the rear axle will be set-up stiffer as well, in an effort to counteract body roll.
VW will also save money by ‘rationalising’ the platform for India. To begin with, the Indian car will not be built using expensive hot-stamped steel. There will be no vulcanised rubber bushings used in the front anti-roll bar (this helps reduce ‘play’ or ‘lag’ in the front suspension), the seats used on the Indian T-Cross won’t be as expensive as the European spec ones, the sliding second row bench that allows for variable boot space will be deleted, and the sealed-in bearing and hubs on the Indian models will be of a lower spec, too.
Under the hood, the Indian T-Cross will get two petrol engines. The mainstay will be a 130hp, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder EVO TSI. Since fuel economy is so important in India, this engine will also feature cylinder-deactivation technology, which is likely to make it a full 10 percent more efficient. The other engine that will be put on sale in India will be the 115hp, 1.0-litre TSI, a three-cylinder unit. There will be no diesel engine on offer when the SUV makes it to Indian shores, due to Bharat Stage-VI emission norms. But VW is also looking at a CNG version, and once the facelift is done, VW doesn’t rule out the presence of a mild hybrid.
On the whole, if priced well, the Volkswagen should take the fight to the likes of the Hyundai Creta, the Tata Harrier and the upcoming Kia SP2i.