A quick Tagaytay getaway with the T-Cross
There’s nothing like a quick road trip to stimulate and relax the senses. While most treat the destination as the journey, for me and the rest of the motoring enthusiasts, the drive IS the journey while the destination is a mere bonus.
Sure, driving can be tiring at times, especially when you have to endure the horrific traffic conditions in Metro Manila. But when you're out on the expressway and enjoying the sights and sounds of the open road, it becomes enjoyable for folks like me. Think of it as therapy for people that like to drive.
As restrictions continue to loosen and the economy opens up once more, media drives are making a comeback. Whether your destinations are near or far, going for an out-of-town drive is certainly one of the best ways to not only enjoy a vehicle but also to reinvigorate one’s personal drive, too.
Recently, Volkswagen invited us for a ride-and-drive of the T-Cross. First launched back in 2021, it serves as the brand’s B-segment crossover fighter aimed at the likes of the Geely Coolray, Kia Seltos, Honda HR-V, Toyota Corolla Cross, MG ZS, and the Changan CS35 Plus. With a drive set to Tagaytay on a somewhat cloudy day, having a change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila was a welcome one.
This is not the first time we got behind the wheel of the Volkswagen T-Cross. We already made a first impressions article about it back in 2021 and it was followed by a car review we released earlier this year. However, this is the first time we will be actually bringing the T-Cross outside Metro Manila.
Since it’s been months since we’ve driven (and ridden in) a Volkswagen T-Cross, we were more than curious how it will perform out on the open road. And with 76 km ahead of us, we had plenty of time to get familiar with the T-Cross.
Get in and drive
Since our drive took place during a payday Friday, I was expecting traffic to be bad going in and out of the metro. Surprisingly though, there were only several cars on the road when we left Volkswagen BGC to C5 heading towards SLEX.
With C5 notorious for its pock-marked roads and uneven truck lane, we couldn't pass up testing its ride quality on such a road. Despite being a budget crossover, its long wheelbase at 2651mm (+100mm more than the regular model) helped it deliver a somewhat pliant ride. It was neither too soft nor too stiff and was able to absorb the worst bumps with ease.
When we finally got to the expressway where there were fewer cars and more road space, that's where we actually got to enjoy more of the T-Cross. While it may only have a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, it delivered enough pep to propel the T-Cross. What was more important was the vehicle's smooth and quiet ride which frankly made me calm and relax. While I'd prefer to drive at a faster rate of speed going to any destination, with the T-Cross, I actually wanted to keep a steady pace.
Creature comforts aplenty
Would a family of four (or five) be comfortable inside the Volkswagen T-Cross? For me, not only will they enjoy a quiet and comfortable ride inside it, but they will also enjoy plenty of in-car amenities and creature comforts. From a sunroof, a massive 9.2-inch touchscreen, and a host of USB charging ports, the T-Cross has plenty.
We already know that it has a touchscreen infotainment system that has Bluetooth, USB, Aux, an SD card slot, and Apple CarPlay. Sorry Android Auto fans, the crossover still doesn’t come with it as standard. However, we actually never got to try one of its niftiest features, gesture control.
In a nutshell, gesture control allows you to go through different menus by just waving your hand thanks to a number of sensors on the screen. Just place your hand near the screen and then make a sweeping motion to select the desired menu. You can even skip songs by using the aforementioned gesture control. Unfortunately, you can’t lower the volume via gesture control so you’re only way of doing that is on the steering wheel controls or on the screen itself. While it may only be considered a party trick by some, at least Volkswagen made sure it works genuinely for users to actually try.
Another feature I liked about the T-Cross is the huge sunroof. For a car of this segment to have such a feature is a nice touch, especially for those that want the 'wind in the hair' experience while covering hundreds of kilometers. While it doesn't exactly open all the way to the back, the rear passengers will still be happy to know they can get a nice view thanks to the sunroof massive space.
And should your kids have mobile devices or iPads along for the ride, you'll be happy to know it has charging ports for the front and rear. Whether it's a USB Type-A or USB Type-C device, your kids can continue to enjoy whatever they're watching or playing without running out of juice.
Time to Clay
After several hours on the road, we finally arrived at our destination, Kap'ean. Located in Alfonso, Cavite, this quaint little coffee shop is out of the major roadways but still near Tagaytay. Apart from getting to enjoy the local coffee, we actually went there to attend an arts and crafts class.
Under the tutelage of Tahanan Pottery, we were going to make ourselves our very own pot. While I wasn't exactly the greatest when it comes to making handicrafts, I was willing and able to learn how to actually make one.
I was expecting we would use a pottery wheel in order to make our pots from clay. However, Tahanan Pottery decided to change things up a bit as we were going to make them without one. And with that, it involved actually mashing and flattening the clay onto a flat surface without actually damaging the soft material. We even got to use a rolling pin in order to sufficiently make the clay flat enough.
After flattening it, it was now time to apply a decorative design. But instead of painstakingly making etches or cuts on the clay itself, we were allowed to choose what kind of design we want our pot to have via a wide array of prints. All we had to do was select our desired finish, put it onto the flattened clay, and then use the rolling pin to apply the design evenly on the clay. Sounds easy, but you actually have to roll the pin several times in order to make the impression appear on the soft material.
Once that was done, it was now time to form it into a pot. But since we had no pottery wheel, we had to actually fold and cut certain parts of the clay mold in order to achieve the design of the pot we like. After carefully cutting out the shape and folding several pieces of clay, what you get is the pot you see before you.
But in order to fully finish our pots, we had to attach the clay base to the folded pot. While attaching both pieces and then putting them in the oven will essentially fuse them together, the use of a cement-like adhesive will actually help keep both pieces securely in place while it's being heated in the oven to solidify.
I may not be the most artistically-gifted individual, but I now have a new-found appreciation for those that live their lives in arts and crafts. Not only do you have to be patient, but you also have to be easy with the materials and tools you're working with. Use them the wrong way or too hard and the finished product will reflect them in great detail. Much like when we're driving on the road, it's better to keep a cool and calm head in every situation, good or bad.
Since it has been quite a long time since I was able to enjoy a casual out-of-town drive, it made me appreciate what the T-Cross had to offer. Sure, it may not be the most powerful crossover in the market today. But if you're looking for a dependable and comfortable crossover for the family that also comes with plenty of tech, the T-Cross is one of those vehicles you should short-list.
Asking my colleagues who also joined the ride-and-drive, they shared similar sentiments about the car. It might not exactly set the world ablaze, but it's quiet and relaxing vehicle that can bring you from point A to point B with ease. And since it's a comfy crossover to begin with, you'll be surprised you'll be piling on the kilometers without noticing it, I sure did.
For those that want a stylish, hip, and practical crossover that you can also relax in while going on a road trip, the Volkswagen T-Cross can be that vehicle.