The VW T-Cross is Volkswagen's smallest SUV in their range, so while this small five-seater might not be the obvious choice for a family car, we are giving it our unique BabyDrive testing! Let's find out how it gets on…
The 2021 VW T-Cross is a great looking little family SUV, the one tested here is the ‘Life' base model that starts at $29,000, not a bad price for a family car. For that kind of money, I was expecting it to feel cheap to drive and to have that hollow plastic feel that most more affordable cars do but that wasn't the case with the T-Cross. It has that typical Volkswagen solid on-road feel while still being light and nippy like a hatch.
The interior is minimal but the surfaces don't feel or sound cheap to the touch.
There are a few of the details missing us parents rely on; such as rear aircon vents, it does get hot inside and making sure the rear little passengers are kept cool in the Australian climate is difficult without rear vents.
There are also no handles above the rear doors of the VW T-Cross Life either so I had nowhere to hang a toy for my baby, to keep her happy on car journeys.
There are no cup holders in the back either, so you will be forever passing water bottles backwards and forwards to your kids!
In the front there are no lights in the vanity mirrors and no glasses case in the ceiling.
AND that's it! That's all I can find to complain about! So let's find out about the rest!!
For a small SUV space is pretty good! We found it best to put our rear-facing child seat on the passenger side of the car and the forward-facing child seat behind the driver. This way a 186cm adult could fit in the front in either position. That's actually better than the larger VW T-Roc!
Two child seats fit really nicely in the back with a little space between them but I found not enough for a third passenger to sit between them.
Legroom is quite compromised in the back for the child in the forward-facing child seat but we managed perfectly well during our week with the T-Cross.
Although it is a small SUV, I didn't find bending in to do up their harnesses very straining on my back.
There are ISOFix points in the two outer rear seats and top tether anchorages on the back of all three seatbacks, so you have flexibility if you wanted to position a child seat in the central seat instead of the sides.
One of the best things in the VW T-Cross is in the boot! The floor can drop down about 10cm which is really handy for families as it gives them extra space to fit everything they need for the kids.
That's especially true for those with two small children for example because all sizes of pram will fit in the boot, even a twin stroller or tandem pram would go in with the boot floor in the dropped down position.
For such a small SUV the boot of the VW T-Cross is quite practical, it fits eight shopping bags which is comparable to the Hyundai Venue and Mazda CX-3. If you need more space, the Hyundai Kona fits nine, the Nissan Juke and Citroen C3 Aircross both fit ten and the Mitsubishi ASX fits eleven shopping bags in the boot.
Or a small-sized dog would fit in the boot, though it would be better if you drop the boot level down to give them more head space too.
The media system in the VW T-Cross is easy to use and navigate and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The reversing camera is great, the image quality is excellent, the picture fills the whole screen and you can turn the parking sensors off with a button on the dash easily.
There is no sat-nav in the ‘Life' model but I found it fine to just use Apple CarPlay.
Storage is good throughout the VW T-Cross, in fact it is more practical than in the slightly bigger VW T-Roc which is surprising! It has a sensible shape and size of cup holders in the front, all the door bins hold large refillable water bottles and there's even a hidden drawer underneath the driver's seat for valuables when you go to the beach.
The VW T-Cross Life makes a nice little family SUV to drive, it feels sturdy on the road but nippy and light to steer. Apart from child seats blocking over-your-shoulder vision a bit, visibility is very good while driving and when parking and maneuvering and I found it very quick and simple to park because of its size.
The VW T-Cross Life was given a five-star ANCAP Safety Rating and six airbags come as standard.