Which compact VW crossover is right for me?

How to choose between the Volkswagen T-Cross, Taigo and T-Roc?
Pics by Paddy McGrath

Published on March 22, 2023

Note: This article was written as part of a commercial content partnership between and Volkswagen.

What are the three compact Volkswagen crossovers?

That'll be the T-Cross, the Taigo and the T-Roc. They start small and upright, with the T-Cross, stretch out a bit and become sort of coupe-like with the Taigo and get all premium with the T-Roc, which is sort of like a tall Golf.

Is the T-Cross the right one for me?

If the T-Roc is a tall Golf, then the T-Cross is a tall Polo, sharing its chassis, engines and various other bits and pieces with the famous small car. That's a very good thing, as the Polo has long been one of the most reliable and well-built cars of them all (not just compared to other small cars, but across the whole motoring world) so taking that as your basis is a good start.

Based on the Polo it might be, but the T-Cross doesn't look small. It is square-edged and slightly chunky, so it looks more like a big, tough 4x4 that got shrunk in the wash than it does a small car trying to look tall.

This is also a very good thing, because by being tall and square, the T-Cross is very roomy. The Polo hatchback isn't exactly short on space, but the T-Cross adds extra rear legroom and headroom, and the boot is significantly roomier. In fact, at 385 litres (up to the luggage cover) it has the same size boot as the bigger Golf hatchback, so if your family, your dog, or your shopping are all expanding in size, this could be the right VW crossover for you.

It's also delightful to drive, with a willing 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, giving you good fuel economy and it can be had with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Standard equipment includes an eight-inch touchscreen, a rear-view camera, wireless phone charging, digital instruments and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Is the Taigo the right one for me?

The Taigo is the one for those who like the core idea of the T-Cross, but want something that looks a little sleeker, and which is actually - somewhat surprisingly - more practical. Do you know those big, German SUVs that come with low, coupe-like rooflines? That's what the Taigo is, but a lot more affordable.

Under the skin, the Taigo and the T-Cross are more or less the same, so you get the same zippy, economical 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and the same choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.

As with the T-Cross, there's a lot of Polo DNA in the Taigo, so you're getting the same sense of bank-vault build quality and reliability, and in the cabin - just as with the T-Cross - there's more space for you up front, and more room for those sitting in the back.

Ah, but you think, the Taigo is the coupe-like version so it must be lower, sleeker and less practical. Well actually, no. The Taigo is slightly lower-slung than the T-Cross, but it's 1,515mm tall, while the T-Cross is 1,584mm tall, so the difference in overall cabin space is minimal.

In fact, the Taigo is more practical, because to give it that sleeker, lower look VW has stretched the rear bodywork back a bit, which has the hidden bonus of giving you a much bigger boot. In fact, the Taigo's boot can swallow up to 440 litres of whatever it is you need to carry, which makes it more spacious than most larger, more expensive hatchbacks.

Is the T-Roc the right one for me?

The T-Roc kind of takes what's best about both the T-Cross and the Taigo - fashionable SUV styling, higher seating position, practicality - and combines all that with the sort of hefty, long-lived quality that you expect from a VW Golf, to create something that might just be the best of all worlds.

Volkswagen has updated the T-Roc recently, giving it styling at the front that's sleeker and sharper and some changes to the cabin - including new touch-sensitive air conditioning controls - that make everything look classier and more upmarket.

Of course, you'd expect that, as the T-Roc is a more expensive car than the other two here. But it's actually not so much more expensive that it would be out of reach for many, and in many ways it's the secret bargain of the Volkswagen range.

Because it shares parts with the Golf, not the Polo, you instantly get more cabin space both front and rear, and the boot is a very useful 445 litres. The T-Roc's cabin is also quieter than you'll find in the T-Cross and Taigo. As befits its status in the VW range, it feels like a much more expensive car, and is more refined and smoother to drive. You can have the same frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine as in the other two, or you can upgrade to the incredibly refined 1.5-litre 150hp turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine or a 2.0-litre TDI diesel. As ever, you get a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.

The T-Roc's other standard equipment includes digital instruments, a big touchscreen, 16-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, radar-guided cruise control and two-zone climate control.

Will I be safe in Volkswagen's crossovers?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer? VW's crossovers rank among the safest cars you can buy. All three models have received full five-star safety ratings from Euro NCAP, and all three scored above 90 per cent for adult occupant protection and above 80 per cent for child occupant protection, which puts them right up there with the safest cars from the likes of Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.

Standard safety equipment, even on a basic T-Cross, Taigo or T-Roc, includes forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, driver fatigue alert, lane-keeping steering assistance stability control, curtain airbags front and rear, a tyre pressure monitor rain-sensing windscreen wipers and radar-guided cruise control with a speed limiter.