In the extremely competitive and lucrative subcompact crossover segment, being “just alright” doesn’t cut it anymore. Technology has been trickling down into these pseudo SUVs, embracing things like heads up displays (HUD) and the latest safety features. Buyers are more educated and expecting nothing but the best from their favorite manufacturers, and those brands that decide to send their best warrior into the subcompact crossover ring must be prepared to take the heat.
In this article, we’ll be talking about a good number of crossovers and their respective interior quirks, each with their strengths and shortcomings. We’ll also be dividing these small crossovers into two groups; with the second batch being for those who have quite a bit of cash to burn. Of course, the expectations are much higher when the price of admission is higher, but that doesn’t mean that the rest can take it easy; we’ll still be poking holes in their respective cases. Let’s jump in, shall we?
Up to P1.2-million
A minor nip and tuck on the exterior has done well for the already successful Ford EcoSport, but the best part is that the improvements are more than skin deep, as major updates to the interior and mechanicals have elevated this small crossover once again. Right away, you’ll notice that the interior has received a thorough reworking in terms of layout, material updates, and a brand new infotainment system. More thoughtful storage layouts and an updated instrument cluster with a TFT driving display add bonus points.
Much of the EcoSport’s cabin shares the same design and material choices as its bigger brother, the Everest, bringing in a swath of soft touch plastics and leather bits. Add some nice white stitching, aluminum colored plastic inserts, and less piano black accents, and you’ve got a pretty premium looking and feeling cabin. Ford Sync 3 makes an introduction in the EcoSport, and the seamless integration for your smartphone is priceless, especially for those looking to be connected at all times. Move up the trim levels and you get niceties such as automatic climate control, a start-stop system, push button start, keyless entry, hill-start and hill-descent controls, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic headlights.
The GAC GS4 slots itself in a good spot because it provides compact crossover sizing for the price of a subcompact, bringing it very close to people looking for the benefits of more size without paying more money. Plus that diesel engine might just seal the deal for some. The GS4 also brings a wealth of technological toys to the segment– automatic climate control, speed-sensing door locks, cruise control, parking sensors, reverse camera with around view monitor, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic parking brake, brake hold function, and huge touchscreen infotainment system with bluetooth, auxiliary, and iPod connectivity. Sadly, no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
High quality materials dot the cabin, and the black and brown leather adds a nice contrast to the interior. Leather is nice and smooth, but the steering wheel isn’t as nicely made as the rest of the interior. Plastics are soft, and the textured matte finish adds a bit of class.
Hyundai’s much anticipated entrant in the smaller crossover segment has been a long time coming, and after the attempt that was the Creta, it’s good to see the Kona make it to our shores. Quirky looks and brave styling cues have led us to believe that the Kona is for the young or young at heart, and it helps that the color choices can be quite distinctive. You’d expect some drama to creep into the interior of the Kona, as well, yes? Not really. You see, it seems that Hyundai went for a conservative execution with the interior, focusing on a dark theme with matte plastics. Faux leather occupies the center console box, and the fabric seats are comfortable but uninspiring.
On the infotainment side of things, a monochrome display for a touchscreen is an interesting choice in this day and age, but it does handle bluetooth and streaming without an issue. As for other comforts, you do get cruise control, speed sensing door locks, keyless entry, and push button start.
The Volkswagen T-Cross is the brand’s entry to the ever-competitive subcompact crossover segment. Its funky and youthful styling continues into the cabin, with the T-Cross having some quirky design cues that are pleasing to the eyes, including exterior color matching panels found on the dash as well as the unique patterns found on its combination leather and fabric seats. The plastic used throughout the cabin leans more towards the durable rather than the supple side.
In terms of tech, the T-Cross comes with two screen size options. The S variant gets an 8-inch unit, while the top-of-the-line SE variant gets a larger 9.2-inch system that both support Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, and are paired with a 4-speaker sound system. Only the range-topping trim comes with rear air vents and a panoramic sunroof while the rear USB ports are standard on both variants.
A brand with British heritage, MG has been revitalized under new management, offering a slew of new models. The MG ZS is their subcompact crossover, featuring good looks and a decent feature set for just under P1,000,000. If you’re a fan of a neat and simple interior, with almost no cluttering on the dashboard, the ZS could be a good choice. The dashboard runs smoothly from the driver side to the passenger, complete with anodized silver and chrome trims to highlight the air conditioning vents. The majority of the dashboard is a textured plastic, but leather can be found on the seats, steering wheel, and armrest. Some carbon fiber themed plastic can be found in the lower sections and surrounding the head unit of the cabin.
Infotainment is courtesy of an eight-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Six speakers, steering wheel audio controls, and cruise control are all within easy reach. Hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, a reverse camera with sensors, and speed sensing door locks are all standard.
The Geely Coolray is indeed a strong contender in its segment, with the subcompact crossover dominating sales charts since it was launched in the Philippines. This model currently has one of the most high-tech and sporty cabins in its class. Regardless of which variant you get, the Coolray’s interior is treated with good quality materials that consist of soft-touch materials and durable plastics. Opting for the range-topping Sport trim will add a red and black contrasting theme on its dashboard and seats.
All variants of the Geely Coolray come with a 10.25-inch infotainment system that features QD Link. Exclusive on the Sport variant is a 7-inch LCD instrument panel that can be customized depending on the driving mode selected. While both the mid-tier Premium and range-topping Sport come with a panoramic sunroof.
Chery Tiggo 5X
The Chery Tiggo 5X recently had a mild update. Aside from the new alloy wheels, the subcompact crossover gets notable upgrades like the addition of rear air vents and an improved sound system. The rest of the vehicle remains with the Luxury AT variant still having leather upholstered seats that provide a good amount of bolstering. There's also a fine combination of soft-touch materials and durable plastics throughout the cabin.
Both the mid-tier and range-topping variants of the Chery Tiggo 5X come with a 9-inch infotainment system with Mirror Link that could either be paired with a 2-speaker or 4-speaker audio system. One exclusive feature of the Luxury variant is the power-adjustable seats for the driver and a sunroof.
From P1.1-million and up
The Kia Seltos sits in between the Stonic and Sportage, making it the medium option in the brand’s crossover range. Its cabin has a spacious and clean layout, plus, the Seltos gets a lot of storage areas. Front occupants have one under the air-conditioning controls that is plenty enough for your wallet, two smartphones, and spare coins. Moreover, it’s also got a glove box, center console, average-sized door pockets, and two cup holders for your refreshments. The rear seats also come with a rear seat pocket and bottle holders on each door.
Standard across the Kia Seltos range is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with various multimedia functions like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which allows you to project Google Maps or Waze through the screen and play some music with its 6-speaker sound system. Other SX-exclusive features include a push-start button with smart-keyless entry, single-zone automatic climate control, a leather steering wheel, and a center console with a sliding armrest.
The Honda HR-V proves to be a compelling choice for those looking for a subcompact crossover, marrying Honda’s new design language with splashes of technology and design choices from the Jazz and the Civic. LED lighting and updates to the exterior, especially on the RS trim, is a definite looker, adding the much needed edgy styling when compared to its competitors. Good thing that the interior matches the exterior for the most part, with leather and some soft and textured plastics sprinkled around the cabin. Unfortunately, piano black fingerprint magnet plastics are used extensively, including on several touch interfaces. Overall, it’s mostly a black on black theme.
Infotainment is courtesy of a Kenwood system that offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but being third party means that the microphone for calls sticks out behind the rearview mirror, the USB port is hidden in the glove compartment, and no steering wheel controls for your calls. You do get automatic climate control, keyless entry system, and speed-sensing door locks. The lack of automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers are a bummer, though.
The Mazda CX-30 is as plush as some of the other CX crossovers in the lineup. As you’d expect in a Mazda, its cabin is designed meticulously, with the brand having such great attention to detail. Not to mention, the materials used are something you’d expect on more expensive vehicles.
One of the main highlights of its cabin is the updated Mazda Connect infotainment system that does not only features a new interface, but it also comes ready with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Opting for the AWD variant will give you a BOSE sound system that’ll surely give you that eargasm state.
The Suzuki Vitara now only sells an ALLGRIP variant, and it is currently one of the most affordable AWD crossovers in the market today. Its cabin is a little on the simplistic side, with a plethora of plastics of the black and silver variety. The circular vents and analog clock are a cool touch, and the leather+fabric seats and steering wheel are welcome additions to a rather drab cabin.
Thankfully, the Vitara comes with a 10-inch infotainment screen that’s running on an Android OS. You have the usual Bluetooth and USB streaming functions. It works flawlessly but the single USB port up front is a let down. Keyless entry, push-button start, speed-sensing door locks, cruise control, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and parking sensors all around provide excellent value for money, making it very competitive in this class.