Review: VW Tiguan v BMW X1 v Mazda CX-5 triple test

Review: VW Tiguan v BMW X1 v Mazda CX-5 triple test
Review: VW Tiguan v BMW X1 v Mazda CX-5 triple test

How does the new Tiguan stack up against some premium competition?

Getting bigger and better isn’t always an easy move. Instead of the Nissan Qashqai, itself a formidable competitor, the new VW Tiguan now has to go up against premium competition from the likes of BMW. The X1 may not be cheap, but it does pose a real threat, while the Mazda CX-5 is much cheaper and also poses a different threat. So who threatens whom?

Engine and peformance

To see how all three dealt with their respective obligations, we chose every model with a 148bhp diesel engine, although the Mazda had a 200cc advantage, which translates into more torque. Oddly, this doesn’t seem to translate to on-road urge, with the other two pulling away, but it’s the new Tiguan that struggles the most to execute a neat overtake at normal road speeds.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 SE Nav

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Engine: 2.0-litre, diesel
Price: £28,035
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 251lb/ft
0-62mph: 10.0sec
Top speed: 127mph
Fuel economy: 58.9mpg (official combined)
CO2 emissions: 139g/km

Ride and handling

The Volkswagen scores better points when we look at the handling. The Tiguan has excellent steering, which helps place the vehicle accurately, even if there is a bit of body roll. It also has the best ride quality, smoothing out the bumps better. The Mazda rolls a bit, like the Tiguan, and, while it’s better than it used to be, it’s still the most 4×4 feeling of the three in terms of body control.

The BMW X1 feels the most like a road car, with the lowest ride, tons of grip and the least rolling in the corners. The steering is quite fast, but it is a bit alive, twitching about in your hands more than is comfortable, particularly on a rough road.

None of these three is particularly quiet, with all of them suffering some noise either from wind or road or, in the Mazda’s case, both. That can be tiring, as can the heavy controls for clutch and gearbox in the BMW, although they do lighten up as speeds rise. It’s the Tiguan which works best here, with well-weighted and precise controls.

BMW X1 sDrive18d SE

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Engine: 2.0-litre, diesel
Price: £27,440
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 243lb/ft
0-62mph: 9.4sec
Top speed: 127mph
Fuel economy: 47.1mpg (True MPG)
CO2 emissions: 109g/km

Interior

Since these are SUVs, all three provide the higher driving position which many drivers so appreciate. However, in the BMW you’re lower than you might expect, much like the whole vehicle. That makes it feel less of an SUV than the others, although whether you like that or not is a subjective choice.

All three cabins are fairly straightforward, although the Mazda’s feels a bit cheaper than the others, with some low-rent materials around the dashboard. The newest vehicle here, the Tiguan, feels the highest-rent.

The Mazda CX-5 is the biggest yet actually it doesn’t feel it, with restricted headroom a bit of an issue. The BMW looks and is smaller, and it is smaller in the cabin, notably in the rear, but both the BMW and the VW benefit from sliding second-row seating. All three have split-folding rear seats but the Mazda really does have the biggest boot, as it looks like it should.

Running costs

If you’re fronting up with your own money, there isn’t much in it in terms of cost of ownership over three years. It balances out – the Mazda is cheapest but will have the highest depreciation, while the VW Tiguan is the most expensive, but will have the lowest depreciation.

We haven’t tested it ourselves, but we think the Tiguan will be the most fuel-thirsty vehicle here, while the official CO2 figures definitely make the Tiguan the most expensive, with the BMW the cheapest on CO2 emissions.

Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L Lux Nav

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Engine: 2.2-litre, diesel
Price: £26,595
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 280lb/ft
0-62mph: 9.8sec
Top speed: 126mph
Fuel economy: 47.2mpg (True MPG)
CO2 emissions: 119g/km

Verdict

We like the Mazda CX-5, which has been a steady seller for a long time. It’s well equipped, practical and the cheapest vehicle here. However, bits of it feel a bit cheap and it can’t quite compete against the other two.

We’ve often had the BMW X1 as our winner in tests like these, and it’s easy to see why. It handles really well, has a lovely cabin with great infotainment system, and it’s pretty good value too.

But in this case it’s just beaten by the new and updated Volkswagen Tiguan. The original Tiguan was a big seller and VW has simply addressed issues that potential owners might have wanted improving. The cabin is excellent as well as flexible and practical, it’s comfy, classy and filled with safety tech. You pay for it, but low depreciation will lessen the sting. Meet the new Tiguan, just like the old Tiguan – only better.

 

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