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

Auto Today - - Road Test - PIC­TURES Gur­deep Bhalla

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.

EX­TE­RIOR

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.

IN­TE­RIOR

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.

TECH DATA

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?

DRIV­ING DY­NAM­ICS

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

POW­ER­FUL HERE

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

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