Volkswagen has recently come back in style as the T-Cross is making waves in the segment. In terms of subcompact crossovers, it shares the arena with several newcomers and several veterans, one of which is the Honda HR-V.
So to settle a few disputes and to give you the verdict on which one is better, here’s a head-to-head comparison of the two crossovers. We’ll be pitting the two top-of-the-line variants against each other this time around, with some special mention of base-level trims for a broader perspective.
It is without a doubt that Volkswagen did their homework when it comes to young and modern design. The T-Cross looks absolutely youthful with its bright color scheme and its playful styling—well, for a Volkswagen. We’re used to seeing straightforward designs coming from the German brand, but the T-Cross does just enough to catch your eye but not sear its image into your memory. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not the most ultra-modern model in the market right now, but it’s enough to make you rubberneck just a bit. As for its kit, you’re greeted with LED headlights, DRLs, and taillights, but with halogen fog lamps, which is acceptable given the price point that this model competes in. On top of that, you get 17-inch wheels in the top trim and go an inch down if you want the base.
What can we say about the HR-V, other than it’s a modern classic? We mean this in a good and a bad way. We’re pretty sure Honda’s crossover made many people swoon back in the day, and it still retains its good looks and charm even to this day. Honda has designed something that stood the test of time, and it doesn’t look that dated. The front looks more futuristic than the T-Cross, but the bad part is that it’s a little too common nowadays, especially since we’ve gotten used to seeing many go down the road. However, it’s still plenty modern by today’s standards, coming with LED headlights, taillights, and DRLs. No foglights here, however, but the two-tone 17-inch wheels give it a nice contrast and look nice on the RS variant.
Overall, it’s going to weigh heavily on what you’re after. If you are considering the HR-V, know that it is an older model, and reaching the end of its lifespan, but don’t let that take away from your want for it. The T-Cross, however, is newer and the boldest crossover that VW Philippines has launched so far, but you can definitely tell whether it is or isn’t for you. Either way, looks may be subjective, and since the HR-V might get phased out pretty soon, an objective view would say that the T-Cross wins simply because it has fog lights and the fact that it will remain new for longer, being a young nameplate to the market. Yeah, we know, the Honda looks a lot more dynamic, but not everyone wants or prefers that.
Winner: Volkswagen T-Cross
Interior and Technology
Moving over to the interior of the T-Cross, and the boldness continues. Again, for Volkswagen, this is a pleasant surprise. We’re used to seeing very grey and black interiors from the brand, but the T-Cross doesn’t shy back to the norm that the brand imposed on many of its older releases. The T-Cross has the boldest interior of the bunch by far, and the interior color will match the exterior color for a fun and tied-together look. Other than the splash of color, however, you will notice that it is still the same general design that Volkswagen has been implementing into its cars ever since. Everything feels very familiar, and the model doesn’t stray too far away from the positively good ergonomics than other models have had over the years. Space is adequate, and you even get a panoramic sunroof. In terms of cargo area, the T-Cross has a trunk capacity of 319 L and a cargo capacity of 1,319 L.
Meanwhile, in the Honda camp, it’s ironically black and grey with a futuristic approach. We’ve seen this before with Honda, and we’re still impressed by the quality of the model’s interior to this day. Though it is getting a little long in the tooth, you still get a good amount of soft-touch plastics and panels, but it lacks a little bit of that wow factor especially when a lot of the models in the segment have introduced an exciting interior design with their models. Still, however, it’s plenty spacious and comparable to compact-sized cars in the market. Even the trunk space is pretty big at 419 L with a max cargo of 1,665 L.
So it’ll boil down to the tech side of things, right? Volkswagen has incorporated its infotainment system with a large 9.2-inch touchscreen that gets Apple CarPlay. Great if you’re an iPhone user, not so much if you’re in the other smartphone OS camp. If you decide that the top-spec variant isn’t for you, then you can settle for an 8-inch unit that still has Apple Carplay. On top of that, cruise control is standard for all models, and you also get a reverse camera to ease backing up at parking lots.
On the other hand, Honda is still running their 7-inch display size in the HR-V. This is still a capable system supplied by Kenwood, however, having Android Auto on top of Apple CarPlay. Even with the smaller screen, we cannot deny that Android Auto support is good just in case you aren’t on an iPhone. Cruise control is also available, and there is also a reverse camera for all your backward-driving needs.
So who is the winner? Well, the T-Cross pulled ahead in the first half, only to be trumped by the HR-V’s spacious interior. Then the T-Cross pulled ahead again with its display size, and then the HR-V sort of one-upped it thanks to Android Auto. Still, however, it seems a little too close to call for this round except perhaps for that panoramic sunroof available in the T-Cross’ top-spec variant. Just for that, it’ll win by a roof.
Winner: Volkswagen T-Cross
As for safety systems, expect up to 6 airbags for the Volkswagen T-Cross for the driver, front passenger, curtain, and side airbags. On top of that, the T-Cross scored a 5-star rating with the Australian, Euro, and Latin NCAPs making it one of the safest in the market. Features of the T-Cross include hill-hold control, electronic stabilization program, along with the standard ABS with EBD. You also get ISOFIX tethers for easy child seat installation.
A total of 6 airbags can also be found on the HR-V, and that includes units for the driver, front passenger, curtain, and side. ABS is also standard as is EBD, and it also has stability control, hill-start assist, and ISOFIX tethers just like the Volkswagen. Where it differs is with its NCAP rating which still hails from 2015. It’s still a 5-star rating, however, so don’t let that detract too much from it.
So in short, it’s a matter of NCAP ratings. Both cars have 5-stars, but it’s been a while since the HR-V was tested. A 5-star rating in 2019 is not the same as a 5-star rating in 2015. So again, the newness of the T-Cross becomes its edge here.
Winner: Volkswagen T-Cross
Engine and Drivetrain
In terms of power, the T-Cross comes relatively well-equipped as a subcompact crossover. With a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine, the model makes 111 hp and 145 Nm of torque, similar to a subcompact sedan. With the extra weight of the vehicle, it’s not that quick off the line. It still, however, has a 6-speed automatic transmission, which means that it feels pretty solid to shift up and down the gear ratios.
Honda knows its market likes horsepower, well to a certain extent. The brand consistently gives consumers rather high horsepower figures and the HR-V is still one of the more powerful in its class for a naturally-aspirated engine. With 1.8-liters of displacement to spare, however, it’s unsurprising to see that it’s faster than the T-Cross making 141 hp and 172 Nm of torque. That’s plenty enough for your daily driving needs and then a little more. However, the CVT that the HR-V comes with may steer you away a little, but hey, horsepower is horsepower, and there are paddle shifters for those that want the RS variant.
So it’s obvious that the HR-V takes this round unless the fact that it has hard gears in its 6-speed automatic transmission sways you.
Winner: Honda HR-V
Things get even more interesting if you look at these two vehicles’ prices. The most expensive T-Cross is more affordable than the most affordable HR-V. At just P1,198,000, you are getting a lot for your money’s worth in comparison to the Honda. The HR-V tops out at P1,515,000, but it's more optimally priced to compete with the T-Cross at its base model, which doesn’t get you all the features and trimmings.
So it’s really a no-brainer here, for the price you pay when buying a T-Cross, it’s more affordable, and you get a more updated interior along with updated tech features.
Winner: Volkswagen T-Cross
Now, it may seem a little unfair that the T-Cross wins. After all, it is newer than the HR-V. If anything, it is a statement of how far VW has come in the segment. It’s now able to offer and trump prior market leaders, proving that the model can be competitive against other more established nameplates.
The Honda HR-V is still a great nameplate in the country. While it may be a bit old it’s still held up pretty well against very stiff competition. The model is still pretty much up to modern standards but could use a few changes or even an entirely new model in order to keep pace. Heck, if it were lower in price, you could say that it’ll give a lot of other models in the industry a run for their money.
Still, the Volkswagen T-Cross is the winner in this head-to-head. If you’re decided on it, then head over to our car guides where you can inquire about these models and connect with an agent for absolutely free!