Volkswagen Debuts T-Cross Breeze Convertible in Geneva
Concept Previews Subcompact Crossover Production Model
Volkswagen showed off its new baby today, the subcompact T-Cross Breeze crossover teased last week. Based on the bones of the Polo subcompact hatchback, the T-Cross distinguishes itself from other little SUVs with its two-door convertible body style.
The idea of a crossover cabriolet isn’t new. Nissan made an effort to little success with the 2011-2014 Murano CrossCabriolet, and Range Rover’s pretty little Evoque will get a convertible variant later this year. However, with a possible starting price of less than $30,000, the Volkswagen would be the least expensive in this party of three.
Volkswagen says the T-Cross Breeze concept is powered by a 1.0L turbocharged I-3 making 108 hp and 129 lb-ft (coming on at just 1,500 rpm). The front-driver channels its power through a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission, and at less than 2,800 pounds, it’s light enough to move with some verve. That light weight also enables a projected efficiency of 39 miles per U.S. gallon, which far outstrips any other convertible SUV on the market. Come to think of it, it’s probably tops of any convertible, period.
Its crisp styling should give us a good idea of what to expect from the company’s future crossovers. The headlight and grille treatment look much like that of Volkswagen’s previous crossover concepts, with a dash of BUDD-e thrown in for good measure. The hood is muscular and sculpted, and the bodysides are clean and uncomplicated, with fender scallops that look nicer than the fake vents applied to many new vehicles today.
Its Summer Green Metallic paintjob gets picked up again on some interior accents, and the black soft top doesn’t wreck the crossover’s silhouette when the roof is up. The T-Cross Breeze is much more interesting to look at than the company’s handsome, yet unremarkable, Jetta and Passat sedans, and its styling emphasizes its width and planted stance to great effect, looking something like a modern Rabbit GTI or a downsized 2017 Tiguan.
The T-Cross’ Human Media Interface infotainment system was previewed on the Volkswagen BUDD-e, featuring several touch-sensitive virtual buttons and gesture-recognition technology. There are only a handful of physical buttons, primarily for operating the windows and power top. The design frees up a good deal of space in the console and center stack, and the floating front seat armrest looks like it’d be a good spot to store phones, wallets, and any other flotsam a driver might carry in his or her pockets.
The concept of a convertible SUV is a bit mystifying, as many crossover and sport-ute shoppers choose this class of vehicle for its cargo and people-hauling capabilities. With the exception of the Jeep Wrangler, drop-top utility vehicles don’t tend to sell well, so it’s not certain if Volkswagen will put the T-Cross Breeze into production. Still, a four-door fixed-roof version of the concept would still be a handsomely Teutonic alternative to the funky Fiat 500X or recently refreshed Chevrolet Trax, so plan on seeing a production T-Cross show up in some form sometime soon.