Thursday, August 15, 2019

Brazilian Volkswagen T-Cross: surprisingly the cheaper engine not available on the local market

Recently introduced in Brazil, the Volkswagen T-Cross had been available only with turbocharged engines also fitted with direct injection, either the 3-cylinder 1.0L or the 4-cylinder 1.4L of the TSI range. However, for some regional export markets such as Argentina and Uruguay, the 1.6L MSI still naturally aspirated and with port injection is the only one available. There were times when Brazilian versions of certain models had the simpler engines, while the ones available in neighboring countries were more sophisticated, so it's somewhat surprising to see it going the other way around. Possibly the fact that both Uruguay and Argentina don't have such a strict displacement-tiered vehicle taxation structure as the one enforced in Brazil, most of the Europe and China renders an older engine with a greater displacement more competitive than the 1.0TSI for the entry-level versions, even though at least the 1.4TSI could eventually make its way on to the export markets for the Highline trim. At least in Argentina, it's also worth to notice the popularity of CNG aftermarket conversions, for which the port-injected 1.6L MSI is easier to implement than the TSI range, even though both the 1.0L and 1.4L TSI engines are available in a TGI trim optimized for CNG while retaining the ability to use gasoline on limp-home mode.
Another aspect to consider is the eventual altitude compensation provided by a turbocharger, even though the turbo-lag becomes somewhat more noticeable further above the mean sea level. Uruguay is comprised mostly of flat lands, so this effect is mostly negligible, while Argentina also features some stretches of hilly terrain on its part of the Andean Mountains. Among other regional export markets, Paraguay and Mexico are also relevant to consider when it comes to the difference between some eventual suitability of different engine layouts on each market. Versions available officially in Paraguay are fitted with the very same TSI engines used in Brazil, including the ethanol-capable "flexfuel" trim, while in Mexico there is some rumor about which engines will be offered, and some sources mention the 1.6L MSI to be more likely to become available there and eventually supplemented with the 1.4L TSI to become available for the higher trims. But in the end, considering the differences between the tax structure in Brazil and export markets, the seemingly outdated yet cheaper 1.6L engine is still clearly favored over smallest TSI on regional export markets where the T-Cross is sourced from Brazil in order to benefit from the Mercosur and other trade agreements.

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