The Honda CR-V makes an excellent family car – it’s impeccably well built, reliable and incredibly practical. It’s not the only sensible SUV, however – the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan is aimed squarely at the top of the segment.
The old Tiguan remained popular all the way until it was replaced, and the new model promises extensive improvements – helping it compete with the award-winning Nissan Qashqai, the sporty Mazda CX-5 and the practical CR-V. We put it head-to-head against the latter to see which one makes the best buy.
VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V – styling
While the old Tiguan looked a little bland among the current crop of crossovers, the new model stands out from the crowd. It isn’t the most exciting thing to look at, but its sharp lines and striking front end are a huge improvement over its ageing predecessor.
The CR-V is more daring in design – more angular than the Volkswagen, with more styling details that’ll either be a benefit or detriment depending on your point of view. To our eyes, however, the CR-V looks just a little too fussy compared to the cool minimalism and understatement offered by the Tiguan.
VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V – interior
The Tiguan’s interior features high quality materials throughout and everything feels durable enough to stand years of abuse – ideal in a family car. The dashboard is very similar to the Passat, resulting in ergonomics as impressive as the build quality. If anything, the feel of many plastics are better than more expensive German offerings such as the BMW X3.
Being a Honda, the CR-V has a well-built interior too, although the materials used can’t match the plush Volkswagen. The dashboard looks interesting thanks to a speedometer raised above the other dials – it looks great, but can’t stop the dashboard looking cheaper than the Tiguan’s. This isn’t helped by the low-rent infotainment system whose controls are fiddly and is nowhere near as good as Volkswagen’s offering.
When it comes to interior space, the CR-V is one of the best in its class but, thanks to its new platform, the Tiguan has it trumped. The VW’s passenger space is impressive, while its 615-litre boot is one of the biggest in the class. The CR-V isn’t far behind though, with 589 litres of space and rear seat bases that can be folded up to accommodate tall items with ease.
VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V – driving
The new Tiguan excels on the open road. There’s almost no body roll and its lofty ride height means the suspension can iron out potholes with ease. Although it feels most at home on motorways, the high driving position means navigating your way through town won’t be too difficult. Opting for a four-wheel drive variant will raise the height by a further 11mm, although this shouldn’t be noticeable from behind the wheel. It can’t match the overtly sporty character of the Mazda CX-5, but the majority of buyers will find the Tiguan to be a great all-rounder.
Like the Volkswagen, Honda has suppressed body roll well in the CR-V, but passengers won’t be as comfy thanks to suspension that lacks the sophistication of the VW – something that’s not helped if you pick big alloy wheels. It doesn’t feel as planted on the road as the Volkswagen, either – hit a big bump and you’ll find yourself correcting the steering angle. There’s more engine noise than the Volkswagen but, overall, the Honda is still a generally comfortable car that takes long journeys in its stride.
VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V – engines
Tiguan buyers currently have the choice between two tried and tested engines – a 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel. Most buyers will opt for the diesel, but the petrol shouldn’t be overlooked. Producing 180hp, it’ll get the Tiguan from rest to 62mph in 7.7 seconds – not bad for a heavy SUV. Running costs are high compared to other engines though, with around 38mpg achievable and £210 per year to pay in road tax.
Diesel Tiguans offers less power but a significant increase in efficiency – the proven 148hp unit will be perfect for most buyers and offers considerable refinement compared to some diesel rivals. In two-wheel-drive guise, you’ll manage 59mpg, but a four-wheel-drive with a DSG automatic gearbox can still muster up to 50mpg. While the overwhelming majority of buyers won’t need it, four-wheel drive is available for those who regularly go off-road.
The CR-V gets three engines – a 2.0-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel in two power outputs. The petrol is a refined and smooth but, lacking the turbo of the Tiguan’s unit, it feels underpowered in a car as large as the CR-V. It also incurs a noticeable penalty in fuel economy with just 39mpg claimed – a figure likely to drop noticeably in the real world.
Like the Tiguan, the diesels make more sense in a car like this. The more potent variant produces 160hp helping the CR-V complete the 0-62mph dash in 9.6 seconds. Fuel consumption is impressive at 57.6mpg but the less powerful 120hp unit is the most economical – you’ll lose some overtaking power but it manages an average of 64mpg.
VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V – value for money
Compared to lots of SUVs, the Tiguan and CR-V are fairly expensive – the VW is priced from £25,530 while the Honda costs from £22,700. Despite the steep prices, few rivals can offer as much space with this level of interior quality.
Standard equipment in the Volkswagen includes 17-inch alloy wheels, an infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, air conditioning and a leather-bound steering wheel. If you want Apple CarPlay though, you’ll have to opt for an SE model or above. The CR-V’s equipment is a little less generous – you’ll need to pick the mid-range EX model if you want a specification comparable to the Volkswagen’s.
VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V – verdict
The Tiguan and CR-V both make excellent family cars easily rivalling the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. The Honda has its strengths – particularly in terms of reliability but, overall, we think the Tiguan is the better buy. The VW’s cabin is as easy to use as it is easy on the eye, and the effortless quality under the bonnet and on the road simply adds more strings to its already sizeable bow.
Save money on your new SUV
Whichever you prefer, our Volkswagen Tiguan and Honda CR-V configurator will save you money on your new car. If neither is for you, our car chooser tool and deals page will help narrow down your search.