The compact SUV market in Australia is booming. There was a 118% increase in small SUV sales this year. Today we’ll compare two of the newest entries in Australia’s small SUVs market, the 2021 Volkswagen T-Cross and the Kia Seltos


Both these cars have a very aggressive exterior design that really makes them stand out. They both look sporty, we’d say the Volkswagen T-Cross is a little more stylish and streamlined, while the Kia Seltos feels a bit more utility.

The Kia has a smaller grille. It’s called a tiger-nose grille because it looks like a tiger’s nose from the front. The Volkswagen T-Cross has a larger grille, one that stretches across the front of the car to either headlight with the classic Volkswagen logo in the middle. Whichever you prefer is entirely up to you, but there’s no mistaking these are two good looking cars. 

From the front, we prefer the Kia Seltos, and from the side and the back the T-Cross has a sleek and modern design that outshines the Seltos. The backlights on the T-Cross are noteworthy. They have a defused LED look, where you don’t actually see the individual LED lights. It’s a very unique design that most cars don’t have in this segment. 

The Volkswagen T-Cross comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Kia Seltos comes with  16-inch alloy. Both of them have the same 18.5cm ground clearance. However, the T-Cross has low profile tyres, so it doesn’t always offer a convenient off-road experience like the Kia Seltos. 


In terms of the interior, the T-Cross is not as spacious as the Kia Seltos. The T-Cross has a very tiny centre console and not a lot of storage options inside the car. The Kia Seltos doesn’t have a much bigger cabin, but it has a better layout. The touchpoints are softer compared to the T-Cross. There’s a lot of storage space inside the Seltos, including a bigger centre console and glovebox. 

There’s sufficient legroom and headroom on both of these cars, making it comfortable for an average-sized adult. However, the Kia Seltos has a much bigger boot size. The entry-level Seltos has a boot size of 433 litres, while the T-cross has only 385 litres of boot space. 

Overall, the interior of the Kia Seltos does have an edge over the T-cross. While both cabins are comfortable, the Seltos has a better layout and a more modern design. The high-end GT-Line Seltos adds more stylish features to the interior that you can’t find on even the premium R-Line Kona. The GT-Line comes with sound mood lighting - the interior lighting changes colours in time with the beat of the music. It also comes with an 8 speaker Bose Premium Sound System. 

See Our Review Of The Latest Kia Seltos


The entry-level 2021 Kia Seltos comes with a 2.0L four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine. It has 147 HP power, 242Nm torque and a fuel economy of 6.8L/100KM.

You can get a more powerful 1.6L and 174HP engine on the higher-end Sports+ and GT-Line variants of the Kia Seltos. On all of these variants, you can choose between a CVT auto transmission or a dual-clutch manual gearbox. 

seltos vs t-cross

Unlike most SUV’s, the Volkswagen T-Cross has a 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. So the fuel consumption is much lower, which is 5.4 L/100km. This is the kind of fuel economy you’re used to seeing in hybrid models. So, that’s a major advantage of the T-Cross. 

The T-Cross engine has 114 HP power, which sounds significantly less powerful than the Kia Seltos. However, this 3-cylinder engine gives you 200Nm torque. On the Kia Seltos you can go from 0-100 in 9.7 seconds and on the Volkswagen T-Cross it’s 9.9 seconds. So, even though you’re getting a less powerful engine on the T-Cross, you’re not sacrificing too much in terms of performance. 

Tech and Safety 

Both the Volkswagen T-Cross and the Kia Seltos have a strong emphasis on tech. Both of them have an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be upgraded to a 10.25-inch screen on the high-end models. They also come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless phone charging. 

In terms of safety, they both have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. Common features between these models include lane assist, blind-spot monitoring, rare traffic alert, light assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

However, the 2021 Kia Seltos has some additional safety features such as the safe exit alert, junction assist, and autonomous emergency braking. 


Kia Seltos

  • Spacious storage space. 
  • Good for off-road driving. 
  • Premium interior layout. 
  • Powerful engine and 1.6L option on the higher-end variants. 

Volkswagen T-Cross

  • Sporty exterior. 
  • Powerful and fuel-efficient engine. 
  • A compact interior cabin, with a seemingly noise-less driving experience. 


The base model of the Kia Seltos starts at around $29,000 AUD, while the high-end GT-Line costs around $44,300 AUD. 

The Volkswagen T-Cross starts from around $30,000 AUD. Because you don’t get different engines on the higher-end models, the prices don’t stretch out too far. You can get the high-end 85TSI Style R-Line model at around $35,000 AUD. 

Related Reading: Best SUV's Under $30,000 in Australia

Why you should buy the Kia Seltos

The 2021 Kia Seltos is a great option if you’re looking for a compact SUV with large storage space, premium interior, and good off-road driving. There’s also the option to spend a bit more and get the 1.6L high-performance engine. So, if storage and powerful performance is your main focus, then the Kia Seltos is the best option. 

See Our Comparison Of The Kia Seltos Vs Hyundai Kona

Why you should buy the Volkswagen T-Cross

If you’re looking for a small SUV that’s gonna give you almost the same fuel efficiency as a hybrid, without compromising much on the performance, then it’s hard to look past the VW T-Cross. It doesn’t only look sporty but also gives you a sporty driving experience with its low-profile tyres and turbo-charged engine. 

Final Verdict

Although it’s hard to ignore the practicality, spacious storage, and off-road convenience of the 2021 Kia Seltos, we will have to give it to the 2021 Volkswagen T-Cross because of its great fuel efficiency and other standout features that are rare within this price range.

Other Options to Consider 

Toyota C-HR

The 2021 Toyota C-HR is a compact SUV that stands out in terms of its sporty and aggressive exterior, as well as its spacious and posh interior. You also get a powerful 1.2l turbo petrol engine (6.6l/100km), as well as a hybrid option for better fuel economy. 

Read Our Complete Review of The Toyota C-HR

Hyundai Kona 

If you’re all about the latest tech and a premium cabin experience, then the 2021 Hyundai Kona would be a great alternative. The Kona’s interior is filled with premium features such as leather upholstery, dual temperature control, heated seats, sunroof, a 10.25-inch touch screen with wireless connectivity, and so much more. With a 2.0L 110kw petrol engine, you’re not sacrificing on the performance as well. 

See How The Hyundai Kona Compares To The Mazda CX-3

Honda HR-V

The 2021 HR-V is a great alternative if you’re looking for a comfortable cabin experience, along with a powerful on-road driving experience. Its second-row seating experience is remarkable, and it’s loaded with advanced tech features. The HR-V also has a 1.8l IVTEC engine (6.7l/100km).

Read More About The Honda HR-V vs Toyota C-HR


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Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.