The SUV central
There is little to doubt that India is an SUV crazy country. Now Honda has launched the all new CR-V. But is it better than the Hyundai Tucson and VW Tiguan? We find out
Let’s begin by saying that you are in the market for a large SUV and had zeroed in on the Hyundai Tucson and the Volkswagen Tiguan. Both SUVs here fall nearly in the same price bracket and both are five seaters and nearly the right size for our congested cities. Both SUVs also come with AWD technology. But just when you thought of making the down payment, Honda launched the CR-V. Now the CR-V is a strong brand in India and a question arises; should you get a seven seater instead? Damn! Back to square one.
While ‘wants’ keep fluctuating, in most cases the budget remains constant. So let’s start by checking out the prices. The Volkswagen Tiguan in Highline guise comes at an OTR price of Rs 36.82 lakh while the Hyundai Tucson GLS AT variant sells at Rs 30.66 lakh OTR. The new CR-V though in this range is available for Rs 36.55 lakh OTR. However, this is the 2WD variant.
The new CR-V looks ultra modern to start with. It comes with pot loads of chrome on the grille and then it gets rather sleek LED headlights complete with LED day time running lights. The front bumper houses the LED fog lights. Overall the CR-V looks muscular and the flared wheel arches add to the SUV design. The large 18in alloys also look smart.
THE VW TIGUAN AWD
AND THE HONDA CR-V ARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN THE HYUNDAI TUCSON
In profile one can spot the high ground clearance of 198mm which should be perfect for Indian conditions. The tail gate is large and loading lip low and that’s useful. The tail lights in the mean time are all LED as well. The Tucson at the same time is quite a looker too. The front end features an aggressive look and those headlamps are loaded to the gill. They even feature cornering lights. The large grille and the bulbous bumper add to the butch look. The profile though is not that aggressive and looks just purposeful. The tail lamps and the tail gate add to the overall smooth design of this Korean. Ground clearance though is lesser than that of the CR-V at 172mm. Moving on to the German which in our opin- ion does not follow the path of a muscular and imposing design. The front end features the Volkswagen common design philosophy and as a result looks very car like. Sure there are plastic claddings all around and nice chunky wheels which are typical of SUVs. However the Tiguan sports the lowest clearance of them all at 149mm.
Let’s accept the fact that Honda interior designers are the
boldest of the lot. Remember how the Civic was a game changer when it was launched? Seems like the company is betting big on this factor once again. The dash is a large unit which houses a touch screen panel. The infotainment system is properly loaded and easy to use. It also beams a special feature which the CR-V offers. You see, generally one gets a revers- ing camera. However in the CR-V there is a camera mounted on the left ORVM. The moment one pushes a button on the right indicator, the camera activates and beams the image on the infotainment screen. The system can also be kept permanently active. Then there is an instrument panel which is all-digital. The design is simple and easy to read. Instructions are
clearly displayed too. But the party-piece of the new CR-V’s interior is the omission of the age old gear stick. Instead a bunch of buttons take care of transmission duties. Storage space too is found aplenty all across the cabin. The CR-V also features three row seating. But the third row offers little space for adults. The middle row on the other hand is extremely comfortable. The layout of the third row too is odd and takes away valuable boot space and a flat floor. On the upside, the CR-V features a large panoramic sunroof. The interiors of the Tucson can be referred to as conventional. It is all about keeping things simple yet offer all the luxuries. The centre console here houses a touch screen system which offers navigation and Bluetooth connect ivity as well. The instrument panel is a twin pod analogue-digital affair. While it does offer decent trip information, we would prefer it to be a lot more informative. It also does not offer the attention assist as found on the Honda. The Tucson is also extremely spacious inside. The front seats are large and visibility ahead is good. The rear seats too offer large squabs which make long distance travel more comfortable. The boot is huge and offers a flat floor. The rear seats can also be folded to increase luggage space. The interior of the Tiguan is best described as ‘German’. Everything is laid out simply and understanding how to operate various systems is
relatively easy. The Tiguan also features an all black interior trim. The instrument panel is also loaded and offers a plethora of data. Space though is not as much as the other two here. This is also because of the smaller overall dimension of the Tiguan.
The CR-V can be bought in various guises. One can choose between petrol automatic and a diesel automatic with or without AWD. With us we have the FWD diesel auto. This means that under the hood resides a 1.6litre diesel engine mated to a 9-speed automatic. The motor is tuned to offer 120bhp and 300Nm of torque. The CR-V also offers a manual mode and paddle shifters too. The Tucson matching up to this variant of the CR-V is the AWD model. Under the hood resides an 185bhp, 2.0-litre diesel which is mated to a 6-speed automatic. Multiple drive modes are also offered. The Tiguan too gets a 143bhp, 2.0-litre oil burner mated to a 7-speed DSG. The Tiguan comes with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION AWD technology. It offers multiple drive modes like the Tucson but they are more serious and tuned to various conditions like sand, snow etc. So on paper the Tucson seems to be the most loaded. But does that translate into generous performance?
The CR-V has the smallest motor here and it shows. It is not blisteringly fast but has excellent cruising abilities. It gets to 100kmph relatively quick and it is best that one cruises around that mark. The motor settles down
THE CR-V’S ENGINE OFFERS 120BHP WHILE THE TIGUAN COMES WITH A 143BHP, 2.0 DIESEL. THE TUCSON ALSO GETS A 2.0LITRE DIESEL, BUT POWER OUTPUT IS 185BHP. THIS MAKES IT THE MOST
THE OTHER ODDITY IS
THE 9-SPEED AUTOMATIC. IN INDIAN CONDITIONS IT RARELY GETSUP TO THE NINTH COG
and the noise creeping into the cabin reduces as well. However, in case you need to overtake, the CR-V needs space. It is not chirpy enough to zip past traffic. So the best thing is to deploy the paddleshifters and down shift to a lower gear. The other oddity is the 9-speed automatic. In Indian conditions, it rarely gets up to the ninth cog. It is extremely light to drive. The steering is light and quick in true Honda fashion and we love it. Slow speed ride is also brilliant and the suspension soaks well. There is a bit of bodyroll incase of hard cornering.
The Tucson though is all about power and smoothness. There is loads of torque and power on tap and a gentle squeeze on the accelerator is enough to get the big SUV zip. To be honest, you will hardly notice it gaining speed and one look at the speedo will reveal high triple digit speeds. NVH levels are also top class and the cabin is quiet and comfortable. It is also set soft and hence slow speed ride is excellent. The steering though could have done with a little more feedback.
The Tiguan is all about making you happy. The engine offers loads of power and the DSG gearbox adds to it. It shifts quickly and aids acceleration. At cruising speeds too, the Tiguan is all about having fun. But the true fun begins when one gets to corners. The stiff suspension setting ensures excellent cornering and the driver will have plenty of fun. Adding to this is the steering. It is set light and yet offers generous feedback. It is a true trait of German engineering.
1. The Honda CR-V comes with the smallest engine here. It is a 1.6litre diesel. 2&3. Both the Hyundai Tucson and the Volkswagen Tiguan come with 2.0-litre diesel engines
1. The thrid row of the CR-V offers very little space. 2. The secondrow is much more spacious. 3. The Tucsonoffers ample space at the back. 4. The Tiguan is not as spacious and is also a five-seater likethe Tucson
1. The infotainment system on the CR-V is pretty loaded.The blind spot camera also beams a feed to thesystem. 2. The Tucson’s system offers all features and is easy to use too. 3. The Tiguan’s system is a touchscreen unit too and also comes with plenty of buttons for various operations
The Tucson is extremely spacious up front and at the back
The CR-V is quite big and is the only seven seater here
The Tiguan’s cabin is also spacious but not as much as the Tucson