Used test – dependable SUVs: Honda CR-V vs Kia Sportage vs Mazda CX-5 vs Volkswagen Tiguan

All four of these used SUVs have a rock-solid reputation, and should beat anything winter can throw at them. But which one should you choose?

Words By What Car? team

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Our Verdict

Of our foursome, only the Kia Sportage really disappoints. It’s a bit on the small side, plus the ride is bouncy and the steering is numb. True, it comes with that whopping warranty, which is a major plus point – but you have to make just too many compromises in terms of the way it drives and the quality and cleverness of its interior.

The Volkswagen Tiguan strikes a fine balance between comfort and control (as long as you don’t buy one fitted with sports suspension), and makes plenty of financial sense. Unfortunately, it also feels a bit underpowered, and like the Sportage, it’s a lot smaller than the other two cars here. Given that these cars will often be asked to carry lots of people and luggage, these failings are enough to put it third – and that’s before we mention its dubious reliability.

The Honda CR-V couldn’t be more different. It’s the roomiest car here, with a cleverer interior than either the Kia or the Volkswagen. In fact, the Honda is such a good family car that it might have won this test if only it had been cheaper to run and better to drive.

But it’s the Mazda CX-5 that’s the pick of the bunch. Its spacious and versatile interior makes it a great choice for families. Standard equipment is generous, and the Skyactiv diesel engine marries storming performance with impressive fuel economy.

True, the engine is noisy and the low-speed ride firm, but the CX-5 settles down on faster roads and handles well. It’s also the most expensive car here. But it does mitigate that somewhat with cheap running costs and slow depreciation – and what’s more, it’s great to drive. Not only is it the best of our dependable SUVs, in other words, but it manages to throw some fun into the mix too.

Read our review of the latest Volkswagen Tiguan

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Also consider:

1st – Mazda CX-5

For Practical cabin; generous standard kit; flexible engine; sharp handling; low running costs

Against High purchase price; firm low-speed ride; disappointing engine, road and wind noise

Verdict Spacious, powerful and well equipped. A fine family car that’s expensive, but worth it.

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Mazda CX-5 review

Find a used Mazda CX-5 for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

2nd – Honda CR-V

For Massive interior; clever seats; solid build; gutsy engine

Against Slow steering; pricey to run; old-school gearbox

Verdict Great for both people and luggage. Runs the Mazda close.

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Honda CR-V review

Find a used Honda CR-V for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

3rd – Volkswagen Tiguan

For Agile handling; simple dash; strong residuals; super quiet

Against Sluggish performance; small boot; poor reliability

Verdict Quiet and fun, but not as practical or as dependable as the best

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full used Volkswagen Tiguan review

Find a used Volkswagen Tiguan for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

4th – Kia Sportage

For Long warranty; well equipped; cheap to buy

Against Weak engine; bouncy ride; tinny stereo; least practical

Verdict Warranty is a huge boon, but the Sportage is way off the pace elsewhere

Rated 2 out of 5

Read the full used Kia Sportage review

Find a used Kia Sportage for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

Specifications: Mazda CX-5 2.2D 175 Sport

Engine size 2.2-litre diesel

List price when new Β£28,395

Price today Β£16,000

Power 173bhp

Torque 310lb ft

0-60mph 8.3sec

Top speed 120mph

Fuel economy 51.4mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 144g/km

Specifications: Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC SE

Engine size 2.2-litre diesel

List price when new Β£27,745

Price today Β£15,500

Power 148bhp

Torque 258lb ft

0-60mph 10.0sec

Top speed 117mph

Fuel economy 42.8mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 174g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 140 SE

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price when new Β£27,510

Price today Β£15,000

Power 138bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-60mph 11.3sec

Top speed 110mph

Fuel economy 47.1mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 158g/km

Specifications: Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi KX-3

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price when new Β£25,935

Price today Β£15,000

Power 134bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-60mph 11.3sec

Top speed 108mph

Fuel economy 40.9mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 179g/km

price today is based on a 2013 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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