New Hyundai Kona vs Volkswagen T-Roc: interiors

Fuel efficiency is at the heart of Hyundai’s new small SUV, but does it have enough strings in its bow to beat the five-star Volkswagen T-Roc? Let’s find out...

Hyundai Kona dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

If you like an elevated driving position, you’ll be happy to know that these small SUVs place you significantly farther from the road than regular hatchbacks. What’s more, each offers a wide range of seating adjustment (electric in the Hyundai Kona, manual in the Volkswagen T-Roc) to help you get comfortable.

The only issue is that the Kona could do with more steering wheel reach adjustment; some of our testers found they had to sit too close to the pedals or with their arms outstretched.

In both cars, the raised seating is combined with slim windscreen pillars to ensure you have a good view of the road ahead. And while both have chunky rear pillars that limit over-the-shoulder visibility, parking sensors (front and rear) are standard. As a bonus, the Kona comes with 360-degree camera, whereas Volkswagen charges £290 to fit a regular rear-view camera to the T-Roc.

Volkswagen T-Roc dashboard

In the past, we’ve criticised the T-Roc’s interior for feeling cheap, but this was addressed when the car was facelifted in 2022; there’s now a good mix of appealing soft-touch materials, which feel more upmarket than the textured hard plastics that you get in the Kona.

The Kona’s interior does, however, fight back when it comes to ease of use, because physical buttons control key functions. In an age dominated by fiddly touch-sensitive panels and sliders (as you’ll find in the T-Roc), this really is a breath of fresh air; adjusting things like the climate control while you’re driving is a doddle.

Likewise, the Kona’s physical steering wheel buttons are far easier to use than the T-Roc’s fiddly touch-sensitive ones –
the latter being particularly frustrating when you consider that they control the T-Roc’s far more versatile digital instrument panel. This can be tailored to show everything from traditional dials to a full-size sat-nav map.

Infotainment systems

Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Kona touchscreen

Navigating the Kona’s menus is easy, thanks to physical shortcut buttons, which help to make the system less distracting to use on the move. The crisp 10.25in touchscreen’s onscreen icons are relatively large and therefore easy to hit, too. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring are standard, allowing you to bypass some of the native system’s functions, but you can’t connect wirelessly and always need to plug into a USB-C port instead.

Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc touchscreen

Laggy and buggy infotainment systems have been a sore point for Volkswagen of late, but the T-Roc’s manages to buck the trend; its graphics are slick and it responds quickly to inputs, while the touch-sensitive shortcut buttons at the sides of the 8.0in screen are handy enough. The system isn’t as user-friendly as the Kona’s, though; it has more menus to navigate through to find specific functions, making it trickier to operate on the move.

Also consider