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The pick of the com­pact SUVs carry safe and happy fam­i­lies — and am­ple cargo

Choos­ing a com­pact soft-roader has never been harder — there are now more than two dozen mod­els.

French brand Peu­geot has just joined the fray, so we gath­ered three of the best for a fresh con­test.

The Peu­geot 3008 is the reign­ing Euro­pean Car of the Year, the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan is our pick of 2016 and Honda has just re­leased a new gen­er­a­tion CR-V. We have the sec­ond model up in the Honda and VW ranges (which both brands say are their most pop­u­lar vari­ants) and the cheap­est ticket into the new Peu­geot. Here’s how they com­pare.


De­spite its fa­mil­iar ap­pear­ance, the CR-V is a com­pletely new model, with a larger cabin and a new su­per-ef­fi­cient 1.5-litre turbo en­gine — which, un­like most other mod­ern tur­bos, can run on reg­u­lar un­leaded.

It’s one of the roomi­est in the class for peo­ple and cargo, with large stor­age ar­eas in the cen­tre con­sole, door pock­ets and glove­box. The low rear bumper makes it eas­ier to lift heavy items into the back.

In­ge­niously, the Honda still stows a full-size spare in its cav­ernous boot — which is the big­gest of this trio ac­cord­ing to our tape mea­sure, even though the vol­ume fig­ures are lower than its ri­vals in the brochure. Honda mea­sures cargo space to the win­dow line, VW and Peu­geot mea­sure to the roof.

The dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play and large cen­tral touch­screen (with Ap­ple CarPlay, An­droid Auto and built-in nav­i­ga­tion) give the CR-V an up-mar­ket ap­pear­ance. Unique among this trio, the CR-V has a sen­sor key with push-but­ton start, power tail­gate and four USB ports (three of which are fast-charg­ers).

The cabin ma­te­ri­als are bet­ter than in the pre­de­ces­sor but can’t match the plush­ness of the Euro­pean peers.

On the road the Honda feels sure-footed in cor­ners and com­fort­able over bumps. How­ever, the tyres are much nois­ier than the oth­ers.

The CR-V is zip­pi­est among this trio de­spite its con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT), which usu­ally saps per­for­mance.

It’s al­most two sec­onds faster to 100km/h than the Tiguan and al­most a sec­ond faster than the Peu­geot — a pointer to how they might han­dle hills, a full load, or both.

Much of the Honda’s ap­peal is in the stuff you can’t see. It’s the cheap­est car here yet the best equipped, has a five-year unlimited kilo­me­tre war­ranty (ver­sus three years for the oth­ers) and the low­est ser­vice costs.


The 3008 mea­sures up clos­est to the new Tiguan — in size and the way it drives.

The in­te­rior — with its small, square-ish steer­ing wheel, car­pet-like trim on the dash and doors, shiny tabs for cabin con­trols and a widescreen dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play — could be out of a science fic­tion movie.

The cabin will ap­peal to many buy­ers but be aware — it can take sev­eral frus­trat­ing steps to com­plete some ba­sic func­tions such as ad­just­ing the air-con­di­tion­ing, dim­ming the screen or switch­ing be­tween AM and FM.

As with the oth­ers, the Peu­geot has good odd­ment stor­age in the cen­tre con­sole and doors, and a size­able cargo hold, though the

spare is a skinny space-saver. Unique among the three, it has speed sign recog­ni­tion, which un­like ear­lier ex­am­ples works well, even de­tect­ing road works and school zones.

As with the Honda, au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing (AEB) is not avail­able on this grade.

The 1.6-litre turbo en­gine matched to a con­ven­tional six-speed auto feels perky, shifts smoothly and stood out from the oth­ers. But it re­quires pre­mium un­leaded.

We’re split­ting hairs but the Peu­geot had a more sup­ple ride over bumps than the VW — sur­pris­ing given both had iden­ti­cal Miche­lin tyres on their 17-inch wheels.

The big­gest blot on the Peu­geot’s re­port card is in the fi­nan­cials: the rel­a­tively high price, ex­pen­sive ser­vic­ing and un­cer­tain re­sale value as Peu­geot’s first SUV of its own de­sign.


We asked for a Trend­line 110TSI for this test as it lines up clos­est on price at $39,000 drive­away. How­ever VW put for­ward its bet­ter equipped — and big­gest sell­ing — Com­fort­line 110TSI at $41,700 drive-away.

As with the oth­ers it comes with Ap­ple CarPlay, An­droid Auto, built-in nav­i­ga­tion, dig­i­tal speed dis­play, front and rear park­ing sen­sors and rear view cam­era.

Help­ful touches in­clude fold down “ta­bles” on the front seat backs, ad­justable re­clin­ing for the sec­ond-row seat back (as well as fore-and-aft slid­ing), shop­ping bag hooks in the cargo hold, coat hooks next to the front seats and tem­per­a­ture ad­just­ment for rear oc­cu­pants.

Each car has two Isofix child seat points. The VW has three top tether points on the seat backs ver­sus two on the Peu­geot and three in the Honda’s roof, which can limit cargo space.

The VW wins points with AEB — with pedes­trian de­tec­tion — at city speeds, and crash mit­i­ga­tion at free­way speeds.

On the road, the Tiguan is re­fined, al­though the sus­pen­sion feels more taut than the Peu­geot and Honda. And it has the big­gest turn­ing cir­cle.

The 1.4-litre turbo has the least power but, on the move, it’s quicker than its 0-100km/h time sug­gests. The twin-clutch auto has a slight de­lay mov­ing from rest but you learn to re­lease the brake pedal ear­lier, so the gear­box en­gages.

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