Small SUV mega-test: Volvo XC40 vs Tiguan, DS 7, X1, Q3, Kuga and CX-5

The enormous importance of the compact SUV on the roads of great britain tells its own story about how much of the growth of this segment has seen over the past few years.

Whereas there was a 20 year-old drivers can be a graduate of a family hatchback with a traditional family show, and ten years ago in a compact premium five-door or a compact executive four-door, now, it is reducing the size of 4×4, which becomes the privileged way of progress.

Compact Suv offers a long list of attractions of the practicality and versatility, 4×4 and all the time, the premium brand of opportunity, accessibility, style, stylish, strong performance, impressive comfort and refinement, and often the treatment without any compromise to go with all that – that they have become a default first choice, stealth.

I know a lot of SUV drivers that don’t realize that they have been in the market for one until they sat down and I thought of it. After you have done this, why settle for less? The small footprint of the average car in this class, it is also easy to maneuver and park than any other family-sized option, so that if some other compromise that may apply when you are sure of selecting an SUV’s weight, fuel economy, insurance costs are part of the purchase of the equation here.

Coach top 10 compact Suv 2018

Quite a complex equation, which is looking as if all of a sudden too. Audi, BMW and Volkswagen have set up in the market around a complete model of the cycle of life, so with the Q3, X1 and Tiguan respectively, but this year came to Volvo and DS with their side a bit left-field entrants to upset the applecart. The Volume brands such as Ford and Mazda are here too, of course.

So exactly what reduced 4×4 has the quality and the completeness of dominating its rivals? And if you buy premium-German, premium, alternative or none of the two?

First round: “That can’t be a good look for Ingolstadt’

A wet week in February, might not be the perfect setting for too many Autocar group test, but it should be. The winter of the automobile in great Britain is pretty well represented, after all, a day where the rain is set to stay. The kind of day when it comes down permanently, between the large flakes of snow and light drizzles, and left enough mud and puddles of water on the roads that you’re never quite sure how slippery the next turn or junction will be.

Peering though the rain-streaked side windows and the windshield never wiped more slowly than on a quickish intermittent setting, you find it hard to see everyone around you as you want. On days like this, as all the world knows, simply, you can’t keep a clean car, not more than you can keep dry. Which, by the way, is also the closest thing to an apology that you will get during the next few thousands of words to the dirty state of the car in these photographs.

In these conditions, you need a refuge: a place to warm your hands and dry your pants, and that, generally, makes you feel good about the sorry process of moving. And a good compact SUV makes it a very nice refuge with the security management of the two drive axles; an extra few inches to remove from the bump – and-splash from the road surface below you; a comfortable, well-equipped, luxurious feeling cabin with plenty of space and luxury features (seat heater together with the steam); and a gentle reassuring view in elevation of the wet outside of the gloom.

Not that you’re necessarily getting all of these things with each of the seven rivals as we lined up today, the state of mind or even get them in the same proportions when you do it. We have tried to bring you the most interesting test, we can here, packed with all the boxes of new models as possible, and yet it certainly represents well the diversity of shapes and sizes that are available in the compact SUV class.

There is almost a foot between the longest (DS7 Crossback) and the shortest (Audi Q3), the cars, we have included, and more than six inches between the highest roof line and Ford Kuga) and the lowest (Audi Q3).

Despite our determination to bring the cars together, at the same price and with nearly as possible, as for the power outputs and mechanical layouts, Volkswagen could only provide an example of its Tiguan with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, manual gearbox and 4Motion four-wheel drive, and therefore this is a disadvantage in a field made up mostly of cars with between 170bhp and 190bhp, with automatic gearboxes and four-wheel drive.

DS will not be offered a four-wheel-drive version of its new DS7 Crossback until the plug-in hybrid to appear. During this time, BMW could not provide a perfectly matching X1 xDrive20d, but it has a xDrive25d; and, considering the price asked by the likes of Volvo for its First Edition XC40s and Audi for its Black Edition Q3s – and the obvious attractions of a 228bhp BMW within a group of Suvs such as this one, we have the pleasure to included.

First for the preliminary phase of test for the exercise at hand, then. Before you decide which cars to move forward and contend for the silverware, everything has an equal chance to impress. Boots are f lung open and looked in; the rear seats are interrogated and examined for outright space and comfort; driving environments are weighed for the perception of the quality, level of equipment, comfort and feeling of luxury.

Finally, the driving experiences are themselves evaluated, with particular attention to the sure-footed handling stability, ease of use, comfort, and refinement – and the bonus points are awarded, perhaps, where these cars go beyond what we expect in a dynamic way, an SUV. And two of our seven rivals to put themselves in danger, though for different reasons, before driving, even if.

By and large, all these cars reach the packaging neat feat to offer the best occupant of the practicality and boot space that a family car is a compact, not quite a good SUV, at the level of space on the sidewalk.

All with the exception of one of them, of which the interior seems tight, I suspect that, even in comparison with a good modern crossover hatchback, as a Seat Ateca or Nissan Qashqai.

This is the Audi Q3. Before, you are less aware of the clause, occupying the space in itself there is certainly less margin available, and less likely to adjust your seat upwards to take a higher view of the road if you want to, as it should be. In the back, an adult is forced to sit with their knees spread wide through the backs of the front seats, and will be likely short-term on the head of the room if they are bigger than 6 feet 2 inches. None of these cars, to tell the truth, is big enough to make a comfortable five-seater, but the T3 is surely not the startup sound is not much greater than that of a five-door hatchback.

The Audi cabin is not the best advertisement for it in other ways, either. While it is very solidly built and well finished, the T3 fascia shows extreme age, not the characteristic of an Audi. The car journey from the computer screen reminds you of the A4-before-last (the one who is a pensioner as the Seat Exeo), and its heater controls and entertainment console, too, are strangely archaic. Given how much richer and more sophisticated instruments are digital and ritzier fittings of a A3 sedan, I think I would feel completely short-changed if the Audi salesman upsold me on a T3. And that may not be a good look for Ingolstadt.

There is a lot more room to be found in the cabin of a Ford Kuga – not that he would be likely to convince very many Audi customers to give the “lowly” Ford, a glance in passing, and so more adults can get comfortable in the car online. But, my word, this is not a cabin you’d be too happy to spend a motorway to go in; not, at least, judging by the standard of materials and finish to be fixed by better cars elsewhere in the group. Dark grey trims pillar to pillar to make a dull, monotonous atmosphere which is in need of enrichment, and often feels just as ordinary to the touch than it looks.

Quite the opposite is true of the DS7 Crossback of the interior. Stuffed to bursting with design “flower” features, such as its oversized pendant – such as window switches and its ornate air vents, our Performance Line of the test vehicle was also padded extensively in Alcantara suede. You’d be hard pressed to find a more rich or a more eye-catching the cabin in another sub-£40k car, I think.

But now, try to find the “engine start” button; bet it takes at least 30 seconds. The car digital instruments to focus the eye-catching style easier readability, and its system of info-entertainment – while it is impressive for the size of the screen and the display clarity – could be made a lot more easy to navigate. The DS7 of the interior would clearly rather your attention, whether for good reasons or bad, that simply make your life easier.

This is certainly not a charge you could level the cabin of the quietly chic, cleverly spacious, intuitively laid, discreet Tiguan.

And for the reader? The Kuga’s handling is predictably sharp and his body control atypical tense for a small SUV, but its director is a disappointingly elastic feel to it and its powertrain is a little noisy and awkward at the same time. It must fall first. Then to get swept away is the T3, which has much more refined mechanics than the Kuga, but also an attraction that doesn’t isolate its occupants from bumps too well (probably to do with these two-tone 20in alloys), and the treatment that is not an dynamic because of its compactness.

The Tiguan is the most close to the DS7 Crossback to force its way in our last three shootouts, since its driving experience shows the greatest evidence of proximity of development Polish. Even if our test car was a manual, the Tiguan’s controls were more uniform weighted, with more linear responses, that the DS7; it was a car easier to drive smoothly, and better ride refinement. The DS7’s management lacked useful weight in some of its modes of conduct, and both his journey and his gearbox automatic seems a little short on sophistication.

The time to usher the losers on one side, and then.

It is interesting, SUV debut of the DS, but if they are afraid of a little bit less on the ” MyCashmere of cabin ambiance (whatever it is) and a little more on the attention to detail of the driving experience, the DS7 would have survived to challenge the head of the pack.

As it is, a best-of-the-rest of the billing goes to the Tiguan, a car that would not have missed the cut itself, I wouldn’t mind of paris, just to the right of the engine, gearbox and suspension in the option trim.

7 Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI 180 Powershift AWD ST-Line-X – Fussy look, a little binding of the cabin and a powertrain with rough edges. The chassis has some redeeming qualities

6 Audi Q3 2.0 TDI Quattro S tronic Black Edition – Impossible to drive with an interior that looks a decade old in places. Refined but bland to drive

5th DS7 Crossback BlueHDI 180 Automatic Performance of the Line – up a Lot of space and quite generous with it – even if the style is derivative in parts. Should be easier and smoother to drive

4th Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion SE Nav – Proves its quality after a penalty to start. Spacious, solid and well thought out, but lack of ride sophistication

Second round: “there is an undeniable air of SUV-typical of invincibility’

Ready for the big finish? Our top-three shootout will be supported by the three compact Suvs we have not yet mentioned. And the fact that each of them has a case to be crowned as the pick of the bunch does at least help mitigate the road tester’s disorder of consciousness, as it suggests their status as a finalist is out of the question.

These special cases will be made in enough different ways, however, that the reasoning of our ultimate recommendation all the more important. Because all three of these cars deliver on their objectives; the question is, what is the vision of the compact SUV is the most convincing and the most convincing run?

In no particular order, then, here is a presentation of our main characters. First of all, the right price, dynamically, clever, courageous, versatile. “The Good Guys”, if you prefer: the Mazda CX-5. It is tested here in top-of-the-range 2.2-litre diesel four-wheel-drive automatic, form, and outpunches almost all of its rivals for the couple.

It has the practical credentials that you expect from a really useful family car: four adult-sized seats and a hall of 500-and-something-litre boot. And, as we will go on to explain it more fully, it has a classily finished cabin and intelligently listening to the mix of handling, refinement and calm which shrugged off of the tail-enders of the field easily, and that also suggest it could sell for a lot more than the £33k its creator is asking for it.

It would probably not be very many standing in line to suggest that the Volvo XC40 D4 AWD First Edition could sell for much more that its creator is currently the request. But it is a common theme in these completely in charge of the introduction of special editions and it is also good to remember that most examples of this car will be sold for a figure much closer to the asking price of the Mazda.

In this society, the XC40 to distinguish the lures are many, and many of them so central to the classic of the mission statement of a road in a 4×4 that they will probably make of the Volvo hard to beat. It is fresh, bold, charismatic exterior design; an imaginative, inviting, expensive-feeling interior that feels as good as it looks; a driving position, it is not half-measures, but the places you are gods, and you can see clean over the top of the rooms and superminis you’re among; a list of the complete equipment of luxury-level infotainment and convenience features; a true luxury level, low-speed, ride comfort, and an undeniable air of the SUV typical of the invincibility of the driving experience.

Finally, welcome the surprise package: the outside bet. Except that by default-choice of drive cars such as the BMW X1 xDrive25d M Sport usually begin as the odds-on favorites in the Coach of the group tests. Why not here? Because the X1 is both small, low and narrow by compact SUV standards. Therefore, it may struggle to produce the kind of comfort and space that may be required of it.

Also because of her unusually taut suspension, responsive handling, close to the body of general control and driver-centric behavior are not the dynamic characteristics you’d expect to find in a junior-utility vehicle. This is not to suggest a car with 228bhp, sub-7.0 sec 0-62mph performance and the soul of a hot hatch is not welcome in the diesel compact SUV segment; it is a change of pace indeed. Welcome, but may not be as well suited to the task, it finally came down to face his opponents. We are going to see.

After the staccato repetition of nibbling at the bottom of seven cars to three, the chance to spend more time behind the wheel of the chosen few, and to stretch your legs on a road trip, we feel more familiar comparison test mold for me. We leave our testing base in the south-west of London, behind, and on a 250-mile round-trip to the City to find quiet roads for pictures, and to make a varied set of challenges for our protagonists. A little highway, lots of road, a good pinch of B-road – and most still wrapped in the murky, dank gray of the British winter.

So which of these interiors would you most like to hide away from the conditions inside? Although the answer depends a bit of where to the interior of the car, you will be sitting, it is the XC40 with the head. This is the Volvo with the high hip point and most noble point of view, the comfiest seat of the driver and the most beautiful”, and more enveloping and luxurious interior ambience.

Where the BMW seats are remarkably adjustable, they are narrow and can be a touch uncomfortable at the time. The Mazda’s seats are softer and wider, but not quite as good of shape as the Volvo, and are not as comfortable after an extended period of time, a knowledge. Volvo are the kind of seats you could spend hours each day without complaining.

The Mazda claws of some credit back by beating the Volvo on the second row of the passenger compartment and is top of boot space too. The BMW, meanwhile, gives himself a bit by default to go above and beyond what a normal family hatchback that offers on the feeling of space: the X1 of the interior feels cramped in comparison with the other two and seats you closer to the quarters for your passenger before you expect that it will be. No doubt, then, for the ” large SUV space and comfort, the XC40 is king.

And for the material wealth, the quality, technological sophistication and luxuriousness, it is in front also. You might expect the battle between the brands top of the range here – between Munich and Gothenburg, with a little bit of old Hiroshima cast adrift. But it is a credit to the Mazda, that the comparison is not so even. The CX-5, the fixtures and mouldings are robust and substantial. Its column stalks, window switches and the heater controls have the same tactile heft as the X1. It has ears like a gentle and carefully stitched like the BMW also, and almost as chic decorative touches.

Granted, there is more of a gap between the power and functionality of the infotainment systems of the Mazda and the cars, it’s against here; there was no car Wi-Fi or a smartphone to the mirror in the CX-5, where the Volvo and BMW offers both and then some. Still, when you stand back and consider them in the round, you can easily make a convincing argument to take the CX-5 instead of X1 as a place to simply pass time; a lot more than you could not make this case stick against the Volvo, however you went about it.

On the driving experiences, then. How these powertrains to rebalance this three-arm iron? Well, the strongest, most elastic and most generally impressive belongs to the BMW: it is a four-cylinder diesel speed beyond 3500rpm with a freedom matched by almost no other engine of its kind. Neither the finesse nor the real-world fuel economy are compromised relative to its competitors, which seems to me equally remarkable.

And that it is connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that also works well at pootling speeds as it does at full throttle.

You can’t help but be very impressed by the X1’s powertrain. But a compact SUV really need such a force? It seems churlish in the extreme to even ask. But when so few X1 rivals bother with the diesels with more than 190bhp, you have to ask me. The XC40 certainly does not seem to be in difficulty on 187bhp; it has a lot of torque, but in addition the sort of the progressive pedal response and easy handling that put you immediately at ease and that you are singularly unlikely to hurry. And the CX-5? It could do with another 20bhp, since we are greedy, if only because the chassis is easily good enough to support the addition of performance.

From a ride and handling perspective, the X1 and the XC40 are poles apart. The BMW adaptive suspension, sport suspension takes the roughness of the road surface under his wheels, but he wants to keep you in constant contact with its topography. It handles like a large tailgate, really – and a good one too. It handles hard turns quickly; do not roll; do not over-work his front tyres; maintains a balanced attitude; feels agile and always ready to take more speed.

It is comfyish, but not much more than a sports sedan; a bit noisy in the ride department, in fact, on the account of BMW series M Sport-spec run flat tyres. And don’t worry, you haven’t slipped into a parallel group of test of the universe: it is a compact SUV, in any way. A fact that will have you scratching your head or asking where to sign.

The CX-5 is one of the most normal, typical feeling of SUV driving. Its steering is perfectly weighted and paced as to feel natural and intuitive in your hands, and its suspension is combined with the need to keep everyone comfortable with the desire to keep the driving experience interesting, very cleverly, indeed. Better than the Tiguan is better than Ford has done it – kudos to Mazda. All except, that is, when the bumps turn sharp, when the wheels start to plant and hop over a little. Shame. And then comes the Volvo: a car, like many of his brothers Swedish, that this is a simple pragmatist on the road, you can’t help embracing it.

The XC40’s ride is soft; the suspension keeps the scratches and dents of the road at a very discreet distance, as long as you are in harmony with its natural environment of the stride. And it is not difficult to be in phase with it, by the way. Wandering a mile per hour above his comfortable B-road cruising speed and the XC40 lets you know immediately – with gently collection vertical movement of the body, a subtle suggestion of the low frequency of the head at random, or on a recurring basis fidget secondary ride to chi-chi on the bumps that would otherwise not have the money. “Slow down,” he said. “Rushing is not for people like us.”

For some, especially the bright pilots, which form the major part of the readership of the Coach, I can’t imagine a dynamic character, as it may seem like a bit of a turn-off. But then I am a passionate driver. All other things being equal, I’ll always take the best option of management. And yet, I would like to take a XC40 on a X1, a CX-5 or any of the others, at least in part because of the way it rides and handles. The XC40 is so deliciously grown up, soft, refined and relaxing to the pattern of the argument; and to own it, really. Because, seriously, how do you really want a SUV premium?

The coarseness of the BMW run-flat-roar-ride and his inability to distance himself from tailgate to the level of the space means that it must finish third here. The largest value, practicality, and of the dynamic rounding of the Mazda ensures a very honourable second. But given the dynamics of fitness-for-purpose of the Volvo is the finishing touch which makes it a very deserving winner – and, I would have thought, one of 2018’s hottest auto properties.

3rd BMW X1 xDrive25d M Sport – Fiery diesel a bit of a square peg in a round hole but a welcome one. Short on SUV space, sophistication

2nd Mazda CX-5 2.2 d 175 4WD Sports Car Nav – Beats of premium brands, and shows where the value really lies. Practical, stylish, torquey, and rounded up to disk

1 Volvo XC40 D4 AWD Auto-the First Edition – A luxury, opportunity, comfort, and charm to spare. Superbly adapted to its object, and singularly refreshing with it

But what about…?

JAGUAR E-PACE – Available with a 237bhp diesel engine that gave the X1 a run for its money – but at a price that would have also made the most of the other things at a low price. We will never know, because we’re still waiting for our first car loan, which is due for the next month. A full road test to come.

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE – probably a loss for this fiscal year. “I’m afraid that we don’t have a diesel to lend you,” Land Rover claimed. It is now more than six years, but this has not stopped Audi on the front of a T3. Like the Jag, it would have been pricey – but a true luxury product.

JEEP COMPASS – A mise en abyme, we would have liked to have thrown in but have been denied the opportunity. The new Compass has been launched to the press last year, but was not enough available to test that these words were written. Unlikely, perhaps, have landed a lot on the favorites – but a £36k Trailhawk has its appeal.

HONDA CR-V – Long-term life of the old faithful would have stretched the test of the definition of the limits of respectability on the compactness, and its 1.6-litre diesel may have been short on the couple. That said, its rounded and user-friendliness would probably have made sure to avoid the wooden spoon.

PEUGEOT 3008 – If we had known that both the Kuga and Q3 would be disappointing, could have made for it. The skilfully evoked the premium brand of the atmosphere would certainly have merited inclusion, although the jury is still out on the driving experience.

Read more

Coach top 10 compact Suv 2018

BMW X1 review

Volvo XC40 review

Ford Kuga review