Driven: Volkswagen CrossFox 1.6 Total Flex
Could this be Brazil's trendiest car? Don't laugh – we're serious. And so is VW.
Following on from the Gol, time for something a little more familiar. This is a Volkswagen CrossFox, the urban warrior in the Brazilian Fox city car range, regular versions of which were offered in the UK between the Lupo and the Up! It never sold particularly well on our side of the Atlantic – the spaciousness of the cabin defeated by dull styling and . But judging by my brief experience here, it is a shame we didn’t get this version.
According to Dr Egon Feichter of Volkswagen do Brazil, who joined us for dinner following the test drives, the CrossFox is the car that started Brazil’s current passion for the urban ‘cross’ vehicle. It’s no half-hearted effort either – VWB hasn’t just added a bunch of plastic cladding to this car, it’s also jacked up the ride height and given it a funky, properly engineered external spare wheel carrier.
The result is a very striking looking little car, helped by an overall range facelift that’s amplified the Fox’s character. So what if it’s only front-wheel drive? Given the surfaces and some of the driving, it looks like the perfect solution for a keenly mobile Brazil, fusing fashion with practicality and VW’s typically solid construction quality.
It’s also powered by a 1.6-litre engine. Which means it has considerably more oomph than any Fox ever sold in the UK. On ethanol it offers 104hp and 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds, on petrol 101hp and 10.6. The engine’s noisy under power, but in more of a sporty than an annoying way, and compared to the Gol it feels like a much more cohesive car. You worry less about the bumps in the road, as the high-rise suspension irons them out just fine, the steering is more accurate, and it generally has a more modern air.
Cleverly, it also offers more rear legroom than the Gol, so passenger comfort increases. And it features the full extent of VWB’s environmentally friendly construction techniques – fibre board and insulation made from natural rather than synthetic materials, and seat fabric that’s formed from recycled plastic bottles. While this last looks little difference to the equivalent back home in the UK, I found it started to feel a bit sweaty. Perhaps that’s just the humidity of the Brazilian climate.
Overall, though, I really liked it. The CrossFox has both practicality and charisma, backed up by an appealing sense of depth to its quality. At the right price I genuinely suspect it would go down rather well in the UK (it’s the equivalent of around £14,500 in Brazil). Too late by now – but perhaps a CrossUp is on the way. If not that, then at least the Taigun…
On the road with the landmark Lambos for special golden anniversary drive.
Date 13/05/13, Duration 4:26, Views 9128
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