Used test: Suzuki Vitara vs Volkswagen T-Cross interiors
You could save yourself thousands on either of these small SUVs by buying them at a year old. We've put them head to head to see which is the better buy...
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
These cars may be labelled small SUVs, but just how high do you sit in them? Well, measured from the same point, where your hip comes up to on the seatback with the seat as low as it can go, the Vitara positions you nearly 60mm higher than the T-Cross, helping to make it the easier car to see out of.
Visibility is also poorer in the T-Cross because it has thicker rear pillars than its rival, and to handicap it further it didn’t come with any standard reversing aids when it was new.
Both cars offer a good range of seat adjustment, although the T-Cross scores bonus points by having adjustable lumbar support. The Vitara’s seat has rather flimsy side bolsters, too, so you flop around through corners.
The T-Cross’s interior is quite upmarket inside, by the standards of small SUVs, and you also get a sliding and tilting central armrest. Our test car had been specified with the Design Pack (a popular option), which includes tinted rear windows and colourful inserts on the dash and centre console (in orange, green or black, with matching wheels).
While the Vitara has a nice soft-touch dashboard, the rest of its plastics don't feel as sturdy as the T-Cross's, although again you get a sliding central armrest to make long journeys a bit comfier.
The Vitara’s infotainment system is very out of date, with simplistic graphics and small icons that are hard to hit on the move. The 7.0in touchscreen is mounted rather low on the dashboard, too, and changing volume via the touch-sensitive slider on the far left is a faff; fortunately, you can also do this via buttons on the steering wheel. At least the system is fairly responsive and has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
In SE trim, the T-Cross doesn't have sat-nav, but again Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, so you can use your phone’s navigation app. The screen is mounted high up and has big icons, so it’s easier to use on the move, while shortcut buttons at the sides make navigating between menus quicker.
Small though these two cars may be, even 6ft-plus adults will have no trouble fitting into the front of them, with the T-Cross offering marginally more head and leg room up.
In the rear, meanwhile, the T-Cross has a trick up its sleeve: 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 Vitara for leg room.
The Vitara and T-Cross are also tied for rear head room and interior width, with both proving big enough to get a six-footer back there even with another in the front. They’re both a squeeze for three adults abreast, though.
When it comes to oddment storage, the T-Cross has good-sized door pockets front and rear that can swallow a litre bottle of water. The Vitara's pockets are smaller, but it makes up for this with the bigger cupholders and armrest cubby.
The Vitara has the edge when it comes to boot space, too (at least when the T-Cross's rear seats are slid all the way back). Although both cars 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.
Still, both cars have 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 either car.
Once the rear seatbacks (split 60/40 in both cars) are folded down, the T-Cross has a virtually flat extended load area with its boot floor in the highest position. Although the Vitara has a two-position boot floor, you’re still left with a bit of an incline.
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