Car and Driver’s Compact SUV Battle took the compact-crossover category and compared the 2020 Honda CR-V and 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan against the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4. Here’s their review:
Highs: Go-for-it handling, refined engine, generous cargo space.
Lows: Cabin might be a little too minimalist for some, hits the bumps harder than most.
Verdict: VW finally builds a broad- appeal crossover that also honors the brand’s sporty side.
The Tiguan feels like a GTI for responsible adults. That’s how it managed to claw its way into second place. Of course, it isn’t a GTI—it’s not nearly as quick or as agile as its road-hugging, hot-hatch stablemate. Physical laws haven’t been suspended here. But the Tig does a commendable job of offering both utility and playfulness.
Immediately noticeable are its light, quick steering and nimble, firmly controlled chassis, which encourage you to dig into two-lanes—though it is sometimes stiff-legged on uneven pavement. The engine hums expensively. It was the quietest at wide-open throttle and the most refined of the group.
The Tiguan also lives up to its family responsibilities. It has plenty of rear kneeroom, and only the CR-V hauls more boxes with the rear seat folded. The VW’s leather-covered seats are among the firmest we’ve encountered in a long time, but they’re nonetheless comfortable and supportive. They’re appropriate in an interior that’s so businesslike, it’s almost spartan. Even that starkness adds to the hot-hatch vibe. The infotainment screen is reasonably large and operates in a straightforward manner, and there are volume and tuning knobs for the audio system.
Volkswagen’s journey to understanding American tastes has been bumpy, but it’s definitely on the right road with this latest Tiguan. It’s sized right, dressed for success, and blessed with the driver-friendly DNA of the company’s best cars. That’s why it’s the salutatorian of this class.
Highs: Clever storage, roomy cabin, solid driving dynamics.
Lows: Quickest but doesn’t feel it, interior lacks deluxe materials, dated infotainment.
Verdict: A highly adaptable tool with solid engineering and thoughtful solutions.
Honda is not into change for change’s sake. The current CR-V evolved only modestly from the last generation, so it’s conservative in both its design and execution. “Climbing into the CR-V is like getting into any Honda,” Hoffman said. In other words, it has the basics right but doesn’t brag.
Those essentials begin with comfortable seats and generous second-row kneeroom. A child seat is an easy fit. The CR-V also accommodates the most boxes with the rear seats folded. The cargo floor has two positions, the higher of which enables a flat load floor from the liftgate opening to the front seatbacks (once you’ve folded the second row, of course). The center console has a lot of storage space and can be configured several different ways to best handle your stuff.
The interior’s ambience doesn’t quite match its practicality, though. The materials are handsome but far from upscale, and the design is not bleeding-edge modern. The tablet-like center-stack screen contains Honda’s last-generation infotainment system. It’s fussy and lacks a tuning knob, and the navigation display is small. Plus, the mechanical shifter protruding from the dashboard clacks inexpensively.
But the CR-V is a solid driver. Its 60-mph time of 7.6 seconds is the quickest of the group, but it doesn’t feel it, due at least in part to the slushy response of its CVT. “I was surprised to see it had 190 horsepower,” said Annie White. “It feels sluggish getting up to speed.” Bursts of throttle also result in some moaning under the hood before the engine settles down to a quiet cruise.
Otherwise, the CR-V is a confident, capable over-the-road machine with direct steering and well-damped body motions. It’s rife with good qualities, which makes it feel like a trusted friend. It’s just that the two crossovers that finished ahead of it have those qualities, too, plus a big dollop of driver engagement, something the CR-V simply doesn’t have.
Read the full article here.
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