New Volkswagen T-Cross vs Seat Arona vs Suzuki Vitara
Volkswagen’s new T-Cross has its sights set firmly on being the best small SUV you can buy. That means beating the Seat Arona and Suzuki Vitara...
Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
Small these cars may be, but even 6ft-plus adults will have no trouble fitting into the front of any of them. It’s worth noting that the Arona has the most head and leg room up front, although the T-Cross runs it very close. The Vitara is stingiest for both, and head room is restricted in top-spec SZ5 trim, due to its panoramic glass roof (a feature not available on the Arona and T-Cross).
When it comes to oddment storage, the Arona and T-Cross are closely matched, with good-sized door pockets front and rear that can swallow a litre bottle of water. But while both get a handy cubby in front of the gearlever, the Arona’s lack of a central front armrest means you miss out on some extra storage. The Vitara scores for having the biggest cupholders and armrest cubby, but it has the smallest door pockets – although you can still fit a litre bottle in them.
In the rear, the T-Cross has a trick that its two rivals can’t match: a sliding bench. This means you can prioritise boot space or leg room, depending on your needs. With it slid all the way forwards, you’ll only really get kids in the rear, but slide it all the way back and it equals the slightly larger Vitara for leg room. The Vitara and T-Cross are also tied for head room and interior width, both proving big enough to get a six-footer back there even with another in the front.
The Arona is slightly better for rear head room but has a little less leg room, so taller folk might find their knees rubbing the front seatbacks. Both the Arona and T-Cross have tall, narrow humps in the floor for middle-seat passengers to straddle, while the Vitara’s lower, wider one is less intrusive. They’re all a squeeze for three adults abreast, though.
The Vitara has the edge when it comes to boot space, too. Although all three can swallow five suitcases, the Vitara’s boot is very nearly big enough to swallow a sixth, with the parcel shelf only slightly lifted if you attempt it. You’d think the Arona and T-Cross would be virtually the same as each other, but the latter has a higher load lip and a smaller boot aperture, making it slightly more awkward to load bulky or heavy items.
All get a height-adjustable boot floor as standard, and while you don’t get remote rear seat releases for folding them, it’s easy enough to reach the catches next to the rear head restraints in all three.
Once the rear seatbacks (split 60/40 on all of our contenders) are folded down, the Arona and T-Cross have virtually flat extended load areas with their boot floors in the highest position. Although the Vitara has a two-position boot floor, you’re still left with a bit of an incline.
As with its rivals here, the Arona gets a two-position boot floor as standard, so you can maximise boot space or minimise the load lip. Large aperture makes loading easy.
Boot 400-1280 litres Suitcases 5
The Vitara’s boot is an irregular shape, but handy cubbies means smaller items won’t roll around. With five cases aboard, there’s more space left over than in the others.
Boot 375-1120 litres Suitcases 5
The only car here with a handy sliding rear bench. Moving it forwards frees up boot space, but it also leaves a gap between the bench and the boot floor.
Boot 455*-1281 litres (with rear seats slid forward) Suitcases 5