Reviews | 30 July 2018

MINI Countryman vs Jeep Compass vs VW Tiguan vs Honda CR-V

  • SUV World War
    1 / 31 SUV World War

    Competition for scarce resources has resulted in numerous conflicts throughout history.

    In a similar vein, the increasingly crowded SUV segment has left motorists spoilt for choice and made the rivalry between car manufacturers that much harder. In this case, the scarce resources are the buyers and their dollars.

    The British contender in this orbat is the MINI Cooper Countryman. It is bigger and roomier than its predecessor, yet promises to be more agile. Will this maxi-MINI have enough firepower to outgun its three rivals here?

    Lining up beside the Countryman is a “Yank Tank” with military roots – the Jeep Compass. Can the muscular design and off-roading potential (it’s the only contender with all-wheel-drive) of the Compass direct SUV buyers towards the Jeep showroom?

    Arguably the most formidable player in this contest is a “panzer” in the form of a Volkswagen Tiguan, for it is the only SUV here with an ST-Torque Best in Class award under its belt. Will the Tiguan’s keen drivetrain and well-built cabin be enough to fend off the competition?

    The dark horse in this shootout might just be the Honda CR-V. It has the most ponies under its bonnet, and its seven-seater layout (the others are five-seaters) means it could also function as an “armoured personnel carrier” on the SUV battlefield.

    Which of these “suburban tanks” will emerge victorious over both rivals and allies alike? We’re locked and loaded, so man your stations as this battle begins!

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Engine
    2 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Engine

    MINI’s turbocharged 1.5-litre 3-cylinder with 136hp and 220Nm has the least firepower, but goes the furthest in a forced march because it has the highest fuel efficiency.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Gearbox
    3 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Gearbox

    Cooper Countryman’s 6-speed automatic may have the fewest ratios, but makes up for this by being the keenest gearbox here.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Cockpit
    4 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Cockpit

    The most stylish, thanks to elements such as toggle switches and colourful mood lighting. The infotainment is the most intuitive, while the access is easy enough for the shorter vehicle-commander to get in and out of the “turret”.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Meters
    5 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Meters

    Snipers will need even keener eyesight as these gauges are the smallest in this company. Even the digital speed readout might be too small, which is ironic given the Countryman’s size.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Ride & Handling
    6 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Ride & Handling

    MINI Countryman’s comparatively firmer dampers enhance its nimble handling, but also make the “British Army man” better suited to urban, instead of rural, operations.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Backseat
    7 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Backseat

    The platoon’s most practical backseat has the largest doorbins, which could be useful for storing extra mags or rations. The low ride height makes it easier to deploy or pick up troops.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman – Boot
    8 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman – Boot

    Countryman’s 450-litre cargo hold is the most convenient, thanks to its lowest loading point and numerous tethering points. The pull-out cushioned flap is ready for soldiers to sit on while doing an equipment check.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Engine
    9 / 31 Jeep Compass – Engine

    Jeep’s turbocharged 1.4-litre 4-cylinder with 170hp and 250Nm feels the least responsive. But it’ll get a quick reaction force into battle the most quickly, as its century sprint time of 8.3 seconds is surprisingly the fastest.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Gearbox
    10 / 31 Jeep Compass – Gearbox

    The Compass’ 9-speed automatic is relatively smooth and, like the Countryman, has its manual override points in the “correct” orientation.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Cockpit
    11 / 31 Jeep Compass – Cockpit

    Just like the US Army, this American “war machine” is also the best-equipped, with features such as adaptive cruise control, ventilated seats and all-wheel-drive mode selection. The narrow footrest and small doorbins, however, make this place less comfortable for those in combat boots.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Meters
    12 / 31 Jeep Compass – Meters

    Geekier soldiers will salute the Jeep’s customisable secondary display, whose graphics are the sharpest of the four. They will also respect the “rugged” outline of the dials, which resemble chunky tyre treads.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Backseat
    13 / 31 Jeep Compass – Backseat

    Jeep’s bench has the best connectivity, with a three-pin, 230-volt power point and a USB port, which is handy for downloading mission briefings on the go. The steep angle of the backrest, however, makes it the least mission-ready here.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Boot
    14 / 31 Jeep Compass – Boot

    Compass’ 438-litre trunk is better for taller troops as it has the highest loading point. Underfloor storage is the most generous, so it can function as a spare ammo cache.

    Read more
  • Jeep Compass – Ride & Handling
    15 / 31 Jeep Compass – Ride & Handling

    Compass’ ride-handling setup is the polar opposite of the Countryman’s, for this “Yank Tank” feels rugged and wants to go off-roading all the time.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Engine
    16 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Engine

    Volkswagen Tiguan’s turbocharged 1.4-litre 4-cylinder with 148hp and 250Nm is the most advanced in this SUV war, thanks to its cylinder deactivation technology. Said feature helps to conserve fuel and maybe gives it the edge in stealth for recce missions.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Gearbox
    17 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Gearbox

    Volkswagen Tiguan’s 7-speed dual-clutch caters to keen operators with its quick-shifting nature and equally rapid manual override function.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Cockpit
    18 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Cockpit

    Volkswagen Tiguan’s cabin is the most driver-friendly and has the best build quality, too. However, there’s no cruise control or sat-nav, so newbie drivers may at times have to rely on their comrades to read GPS maps and give directions.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Meters
    19 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Meters

    Again the most driver-friendly, with well-spaced digits and just the right amount of content. This allows the driver to stay focused on the motoring mission instead of being distracted during the drive.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Backseat
    20 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Backseat

    Commandos who just returned from a raid would be the happiest in the Tiguan cabin, as the backseat is the most spacious and has the cushiest bench, too. The VW’s third climate zone is useful, and unique in this company.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Boot
    21 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Boot

    Volkswagen Tiguan’s 615-litre volume is the biggest and has the widest aperture, so it can take longer items such as sniper rifles and anti-tank weapons. The backrest release levers make it easy to expand the cargo space, too.

    Read more
  • Volkswagen Tiguan – Ride & Handling
    22 / 31 Volkswagen Tiguan – Ride & Handling

    Volkswagen Tiguan’s ride-handling balance is the most optimal, and the relatively quiet ride makes it easier for the occupants to maintain communications with their headquarters.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Engine
    23 / 31 Honda CR-V – Engine

    Honda’s turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-pot with 190hp and 243Nm is the brawniest by far, but having to lug the heaviest body makes it the thirstiest.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Gearbox
    24 / 31 Honda CR-V – Gearbox

    CR-V’s CVT is the creamiest transmission here, but it could use a manual override feature – in case dynamic manoeuvres are needed for quick escapes.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Cockpit
    25 / 31 Honda CR-V – Cockpit

    Special-forces operators will be the most comfortable here as the front seats are the cushiest and the air-con is the coldest. Those packing tech gear will also love the numerous connectivity and charging options.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Meters
    26 / 31 Honda CR-V – Meters

    The group’s only fully digital cluster is the sharpest and easiest to read under any lighting condition. Tweaking the layout and navigating through the menus, however, is still easier in the Compass.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Backseat
    27 / 31 Honda CR-V – Backseat

    The most flexible interior, as CR-V is the only one with a third row of seats – perhaps to accommodate hostages after a rescue mission. However, legroom in the second row is the least generous, and its backrests are the shortest.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Boot
    28 / 31 Honda CR-V – Boot

    CR-V’s 472-litre boot (with third-row folded) is pretty commodious. However, the lack of a uniformly flat surface means that when loose paramilitary items such as magazines fall out, they’ll be hard to find.

    Read more
  • Honda CR-V – Ride & Handling
    29 / 31 Honda CR-V – Ride & Handling

    CR-V’s soft dampers and buttery ride make it the most comfortable personnel-carrier in this story, and its cushiness is a boon to troopers with banged-up bodies.

    Read more
  • MINI Cooper Countryman, Jeep Compass, Volkswagen Tiguan and Honda CR-V – Keys
    30 / 31 MINI Cooper Countryman, Jeep Compass, Volkswagen Tiguan and Honda CR-V – Keys

    (Left to right) Cooper Countryman’s fob looks the cutest, Compass’ device feels the most robust, Tiguan’s switchblade-type key looks relatively dated but its buttons are the nicest to press, while CR-V’s fob is the most pocket-friendly thanks to its smaller and slimmer profile.

    Read more
  • Last Word
    31 / 31 Last Word

    The Jeep Compass is arguably the best all-rounder in this little “tank battle”. It feels rugged, has the coolest amenities, and is the only one here with the sure-footedness of all-wheel-drive. It is more than up to the task of a suburbanite’s daily missions, which include school and office runs, along with weekend trips to East Coast Park for some R&R.

    While the Compass can probably tackle any off-road surface with the right tyres, its on-road performance could definitely be enhanced. The ride quality isn’t as settled as its rivals’, and its performance doesn’t feel as quick as claimed.

    Ironically, it’s the MINI Cooper Countryman that feels the quickest, despite it having the least power and the slowest 0-to-100km/h time. Apart from being nippy, this British contender is the nimblest, too, and can easily get its occupants in and out of tight spots.

    We also like the Countryman’s stylish and practical interior, which offers fast ingress/egress, too. For urban “warfare” requiring rapid deployment, the Countryman would be our choice.

    If the urban operations require added flexibility, then the Honda CR-V should be your top pick. This seven-seater’s strong points include a cushy cabin, numerous connectivity options, and very efficient air-conditioning to deal with torrid weather. We’re also fans of the CR-V’s brawny drivetrain.

    The CR-V’s biggest downside is that it’s the thirstiest tank of the group, so the CR-V tends to perform fewer ops between top-ups.

    The Volkswagen Tiguan does not have the CR-V’s muscle, the Compass’ off-roading abilities or the Countryman’s penchant for urban “warfare”. But like a real German panzer, the Tiguan is impressively well-engineered.

    The VW’s key strengths include a snappy gearbox, optimal ride-handling balance and a driver-friendly cockpit. And its cylinder deactivation technology saves fuel and makes for quieter running, which is crucial when stealth is required.

    Despite not being big on “firepower”, the Tiguan’s massive boot will nevertheless enable five well-armed commandos to pack even more weapons, ammo and supplies with them. That should enable them to remain in the fight long after the opposing force has run dry.

    Check out the MINI Countryman
    Check out the Jeep Compass
    Head over to the Volkswagen Tiguan site
    Find out more about the Honda CR-V

    MINI Cooper S Countryman 2.0 review

    Jaguar E-Pace vs MINI Cooper S Countryman & Volvo XC40

    Audi Q2 and MINI Cooper Countryman are unexpected encounters

    Turbocharged Jeep Compass now in Singapore showrooms

    Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 review

    Group Test: New Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 vs Old Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0

    New Honda CR-V review

    Read more