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The production version of Volkswagen‘s compact T-Cross SUV was unveiled simultaneously in Amsterdam (Netherlands), Shanghai (China) and Sao Paulo (Brazil) recently. It is the first SUV VW has made in Brazil – at its Sao Jose dos Pinhais manufacturing plant in the southern state of Parana.

Brazilian production required a spend of BRL2bn/US$550m. The T-Cross is the second of five new SUVs VW will launch by 2020. The Polo-based CUV, the Argentinian Tarek and a new version of the North American Atlas will follow.

The T-Cross underwent changes during development for the Latin America and Mexico regions at VW’s design department in Sao Bernardo do Campo which also extended to the Chinese market variant.

Interior room is larger due to the Virtus saloon wheelbase (104.3in versus the Polo-based European version’s 100.7 in). It is also 0.35 in taller and wider and has minor styling differences front and rear. 

Interior changes include climate control vents for the rear seat which lacks the European model’s fore/aft adjustment. The rear seat backrest can, however, be reclined at two angles in order to partially compensate for the diminished boot volume which is either 13.2 or 14.8 cubic feet.

The Brazilian version also includes a temporary spare wheel as standard – an air pump and a bottle of gunk don’t cut it on tough Brazilian roads.

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The Brazilian T-Cross has LED ambient lighting in the front foot wells, centre console, dashboard and door handles. A seven-speaker Beats 300 watt audio system with boot mounted subwoofer is optional.

Equipment claimed exclusive in the segment includes full digital active info display instrument cluster, driving profile selector, standard ESC, electronic differential lock, Park Assist 3.0, a dashboard dock for mobile phones, four USB outlets (rear seat included), LED cabin lighting, and dashboard applique finishing. Full-LED headlamps, six airbags and panoramic sun roof are among other features standard or optional. 

In Brazil, the T-Cross will be powered exclusively by one- and 1.4-litre TSI flexible fuel engines that combine direct fuel injection and turbocharging to assure high efficiency and performance. A naturally aspirated 1.6-litre will be available in export markets.

Pricing is expected to be a shade lower than the also locally produced Honda HR-V, currently leader of the SUV compact segment.