It’s amazing how much you can get for your money, and these four SUVs are all proponents of the fact that there’s plenty of value to be had in the mid-size SUV segment, and not at high prices either.
Here’s the list pricing for each model at the time of writing. Remember, that’s the RRP, or the price before on-road costs, and you could find even better deals and maybe a sharp drive away price if you’re willing to shop around.
How much is a Holden Equinox? Well, the version we have on test is the Holden Equinox LS+, which is priced at $32,990. As for where it sits in the Equinox model range, it’s one up from the base model LS which is available in manual or auto guises. It is only available in front-wheel drive, and only with the 1.5-litre turbo/automatic drivetrain tested here. There’s a diesel LS+ model, too, which will cost you $35,990.
The Honda CR-V VTi-S is our second-most affordable entrant, with a list price of $33,290. It’s the second model up the CR-V range, sitting above the VTi entry model. You can get the VTi-S in all-wheel drive if you desire, but that’ll set you back an extra $2200. There are other trim levels available higher up the money range, but you can’t get a diesel CR-V, and there’s no manual version, either.
Third in the affordability stakes is the Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport, which lists at $34,390, and it sits above the most affordable of the Mazda CX-5 models, the Maxx (from $28,690). The model we’ve got is the front-drive 2.0-litre auto, but there’s the option of a 2.5-litre petrol all-wheel drive model for $3000 more, or a 2.2-litre turbo diesel AWD for a whopping $6000 more than our car. Check out our full review of the CX-5 to see how the top of the range model compares with the more affordable model, and what difference there is in price.
The most costly model of these four is the Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Trendline, which is just a hundred bucks more than the Mazda at $34,490. You can get a manual version for less, and that model is the most affordable of the VW Tiguan models. If you want AWD you’ll need to spend up higher in the range on the 132TSI Comfortline ($41,990), but you get more grunt as well. By comparison, you’ll need to spend a little more if you want diesel (the 110TDI Comfortline, $43,490), and we thoroughly recommend you weigh up the advantages of petrol vs diesel depending on your situation.
How many seats in these SUVs? They’re all five-seaters, but you can get a Honda CR-V with a third row (seven seats) for more money - the VTi-L model, it’s known as, and it costs $38,990. There’s a seven-seat Tiguan Allspace coming soon if you require more seating and like the VW.
Here are some common standard features across all four models: power electric mirrors, power windows, remote central locking, leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather-lined gear selector, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB input (the Honda and Mazda both have four USBs, the others have only one), cruise control, auto on/off headlights, and touchscreen media units - the Honda, Mazda and Holden all with 7.0-inch infotainment screens, the VW’s being an 8.0-inch multimedia touch screen. All have a digital clock, though it can be hard to find in some.
The Honda and Holden miss out on rain-sensing wipers - you can get them in higher-spec versions, but not at this affordable level.
None have a self driving mode, but the VW has a semi-autonomous parking system. All have a reverse camera and rear parking sensors, but the VW and Honda have front parking sensors too.
If you’re an audiophile, there’s a CD player in the Tiguan and Mazda only (no old-school CD changer anywhere, either). The CR-V and Tiguan have eight speakers, where the CX-5 and Equinox have six. None has a subwoofer, but all should be able to cope with MP3 playback from USB.
Only the Mazda has DAB+ digital radio; you can get digital radio on the Holden in higher spec models, but it’s just AM/FM radio for the LS+ model, and for the Honda and VW, too. No model has DVD player, but the Honda has a HDMI port for screen projection when the vehicle is at a standstill.
What about technology and other gadgets? None of the models tested here have a sunroof, and you can’t option one in any of the specs presented either. You can get a panoramic roof in the CR-V VTi-L, and a smaller tilt-slide unit in the CX-5 range from the GT upwards. No Tiguan has a sunroof standard but in some specs you can option one.
The Honda is the only one with 18-inch alloy wheels, the rest have 17-inch rims (the accessories catalogue could offer up some 19 inch options, depending on the model). The Mazda has LED headlights and fog-lights, where halogen headlights are what’s on offer elsewhere.
The Volkswagen is the only one that misses out on push button start. The Mazda has that, but - annoyingly - doesn’t have keyless entry, so you’ll have to have your key out of your pocket to unlock the car. The Holden and Honda both have smart key entry (the doors can be unlocked if you have the key within proximity).
Only the Mazda and Honda have dual-zone climate control air conditioning, but oddly for family cars, none of these models has tinted windows. The Holden is the only one without an electrochromatic/auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Mazda and Honda also both have built-in sat nav: you don’t get a GPS navigation system in the Holden or Volkswagen. Apple CarPlay (for your iPhone) and Android Auto (mirroring for Samsung, HTC, Oppo, Google etc) is offered standard on everything but the Mazda.
The Honda adds a power tailgate (manual on the other three) and full size spare tyre (space-saver elsewhere). None have heated seats or a heated steering wheel, nor electric seat adjustment.
But these convenience items are just a part of the full picture: the safety equipment on offer in each of these family-focused SUVs is a vital consideration, so we’ve got a dedicated scoring section for that below, with a couple of surprising highlights and lowlights.
When it comes to choosing different colours for your new car, there are options aplenty for buyers of each of these models.
The Tiguan range - believe it or not - no longer has the option of this orange hue. What a shame. Instead the options are Pure White (the only no-cost option), while the remaining hues - Indium Grey Metallic, Tungsten Silver Metallic, Caribbean Blue Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic and Deep Black Pearl Effect will add $700 to the price. There’s no gold, beige or brown like in some other markets, either.
The option list for colours for the CX-5 includes two added cost picks - Machine Grey and Soul Red Crystal - both of which will add $300 to the price. No-cost options consist of Jet Black, Deep Crystal Blue, Eternal Blue, Titanium Flash, Sonic Silver and Snowflake White Pearl.
Honda doesn’t charge for any paint colour, which is a nice move from the brand. The range includes Crystal Black, Brilliant Sporty Blue, Midnight Forest (green), Modern Steel (grey), Passion Red, Lunar Silver and White Orchid. In the past there have been colours like orange, purple, brown and gold… but this is the new Honda.
Colours for the Equinox you can choose at no cost include Glory Red and Summit White. Tuxedo Black, Son of a Gun Grey, Blue Steel, Pepperdust and Nitrate Silver will all cost you $550.
As for accessories, there are plenty of options available from Holden, Honda, Mazda and Volkswagen.
We’re not just talking floor mats - there are items like side steps and sports grille for the CR-V, tablet holders and 20-inch wheels for the Tiguan, mud-flaps and a cargo screen for the Holden, and a cargo box and sunshades for the CX-5. There is plenty for you to choose from, but if you’re thinking hardcore goodies like a bull bar, nudge bar or snorkel, you’ll have to shop the aftermarket.
And hey, because you might want to know how each will fare on the second hand market, we checked what the predictions are for each model’s price second hand. See the ownership section below for all the details.
Holden Equinox pricing and spec
Honda CR-V pricing and spec
Mazda CX-5 pricing and spec
Volkswagen Tiguan pricing and spec
| ||Holden Equinox||Honda CR-V||Mazda CX-5||Volkswagen Tiguan|