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Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI vs Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel


What happens when a people's favourite takes on Euro class? Richard Blackburn referees a compact SUV match.

value

Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI

$39,990

Standard items are Bluetooth with audio streaming, electric park brake, daytime driving lights, dual-zone climate control, rear-view camera and rear sensors. Satnav is a $1300 option, metallic paint $700. Service intervals are 15,000km and cost $1285 over three years, plus $354 for filters and fluids (total $1639). Resale is 53 per cent. Warranty is three years/ unlimited km with free roadside assist for warranty period.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel

$39,470

Trumps the VW with satnav and push-button start but misses parking sensors. Service intervals are 12 months/10,000km and the first three cost $1025. Most drivers will need a fourth service in the first three years at $360, plus $126 for fluids and filters (total $1511). Mazda charges $204 for three years' roadside assist. Resale is 56 per cent, warranty three years/unlimited km.

design

Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI

The dash shades the Mazda, with an easy-to-use 6.5-inch multimedia screen and classy instruments. Cloth/alcantara seats are comfortable and supportive, vision is reasonable but rear legroom is tight. With rear seats in place, cargo capacity trails the Mazda - fold them and the high roof endows slightly more space. Deft touches include folding tables on the front seat backrests and chilled, lockable glovebox.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel

Dash is uncluttered and easy to use, if lacking a little pizzazz. Seats are comfortable, with good side support. Feels roomier than the Tiguan in the rear and the load area is a more usable size. Rear seats don't slide back and forth or recline, as in the VW.

technology

Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel narrowly shades the Mazda for power (132kW to 129kW) but falls short on torque (380Nm to 420Nm). Seat of the pants, though, there's little to separate them. VW's quick-shifting seven-speed auto helps here. It also uses slightly more fuel (6.2L/100km to 5.7L). It leaves the Mazda for dead in refinement; it's noticeably quieter and smoother.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel

The 2.2-litre turbodiesel has six-cylinder levels of grunt - enough to chirp the wheels on takeoff if you're not careful with the throttle. Pulls strongly through the rev range, while the six-speed is intuitive and smooth-shifting. Not at the top of the class for refinement, though. Plenty of telltale diesel rattle, particularly at lower speeds.

safety

Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI

Six airbags are standard, as are five-star crash rating, hill-start assist and driver fatigue monitor that beeps if it detects the driver losing concentration. No blind spot monitor, lane departure or low-speed crash avoidance tech, even as options.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel

Matches the Tiguan for airbag count, crash rating and rear camera. A $1490 pack gives you blind-spot monitoring, low-speed crash avoidance and rear cross-traffic alert but not the lane departure warning on more expensive models.

Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI

The Tiguan feels almost like a hatch to drive. Despite the higher centre of gravity, it sits solidly on the road, with minimal body roll for an SUV. Ride is comfortable and composed, soaking up bumps and road imperfections without fuss.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel

Shares the car-like dynamics of the Tiguan, although steering feels heavier and it leans a little more through the corners. Still a very competent and capable vehicle on the open road, with a firm but comfortable ride.

Verdict

Volkswagen Tiguan 130TDI

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport diesel

The Tiguan is quieter and slightly more accomplished through the bends but the Mazda is bigger, more fuel efficient and better value for the money.