Call them 'wagons on tall tires' but the C-segment crossover makes a lot of sense. More flexible and versatile than the good old sedan, the crossover brings all-weather capability without having to need a larger SUV. That said, these types of vehicles have proved to be a hit from day one and it shows no signs of slowing down, both here and abroad.
In 2017 alone, we saw the introduction of four new C-segment crossovers in the form of the Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V and the recently updated Nissan X-Trail. Needless to say, the competition in this class of SUV is heating up. It's timely then to take a closer look at the market. Shopping for a C-segment crossover has never been more difficult.
The newest car here is the Honda CR-V. All-new for 2017, the fifth-generation model brings in what a lot of local consumers have been asking for: a diesel engine. Its longtime rival is the Toyota RAV4 and it brings the brand's well-deserved reputation on to the table. Subaru is also one of the early pioneers of the crossover with the Forester. Since its first iteration, the Forester has combined high-performance to this otherwise sensible segment and the current model continues that to this day. The Kia Sportage was among the first of the small SUVs but it started out as a van-based SUV. Now, however, it has become one of the more stylish offerings in its class.
Nissan may have been relatively late to the crossover party but they made quite the splash with the X-Trail and it was just recently revamped inside and out. Another relative latecomer is the Hyundai Tucson and was the first to bring the idea of a diesel in a crossover in the Philippines. Challenging the Forester for sporting credentials is the Mazda CX-5 which has been a hit for the brand since its first generation. Volkswagen joined the segment in the late 2000's with the first-generation Tiguan with the all-new model making its local debut earlier this year. And then, there's the Ssangyong Korando. No longer a Korean jeep, the Korando is yet another newcomer in this class, in the local setting at least.
Under the hood
It used to be as simple as sticking a 2.0-liter engine under the hood. While most the cars here still stick to that format, there are now more powerful options to choose from but first, let's take a look at the tried and tested formula. The 2.0-liter offerings put out about 150 PS and close to 200 Nm of torque. It's the Nissan that has the least power from its base engine at 144 PS, followed by the Ssangyong at 149 PS. Both the Honda and the Subaru put out 150 PS while the Mazda makes the most out of its 2.0 engine with 155 PS.
Diesels have also made their way to the local crossover market. Starting with the Hyundai/Kia cousins, the CRDi engines under their respective hoods pump out 185 PS and a whopping 402 Nm of torque. Close to the Hyundai and Kia is the Skyactiv-D engine from Mazda. At 175 PS, it is down by 10 PS from the Hyundai and Kia but trounces it in torque with 420 Nm. Honda may be new to the diesel thing in the country but it quite an advanced one. The 1.6 i-DTEC is the smallest diesel available and it makes 120 PS. It does, however, make up for it by pulling 300 Nm of torque, an impressive figure from such a small engine. As for the Korando it produces 149 PS and 360 Nm of torque from its 2.0-liter diesel.
Nissan, Mazda and Toyota have stuck to the mantra of 'there is no replacement for displacement', by offering naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engines. The Nissan musters 171 PS and 233 Nm from its 2.5 liter while the Mazda one ups that figure with 190 PS and 251 Nm. In the RAV4, all models are powered by the Camry-sourced 2.5-liter and it slots between the Mazda and Nissan at 180 PS and 233 Nm of torque.
If you do prefer your gas engines with boost, then take a look at the Volkswagen Tiguan and the top-spec Subaru Forester. The Tiguan may have the smallest engine at just 1.4-liters but it is turbocharged, making 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque, more than the unboosted 2.0-liter engines from the cars mentioned above. But if it's power you want, the turbocharged 2.0 in the Forester makes a hot-hatch rivaling 240 PS and 350 Nm of torque. It is, in essence, a WRX with space for a lot of groceries.
In this segment, there is no outright largest car to choose from. All are within a few millimeters from each other in terms of length, width and height. Starting with the longest car, the RAV4 is the only crossover here to exceed 4.6 meters at 4,605 mm. It's a tie between the CR-V and Sportage for the widest at 1,855 mm each while the tallest crossover is the Forester at 1,735 mm, the only car over 1.7 meters tall.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the shortest C-segment offering is the Ssangyong Korando at just 4,410 mm. While it is the tallest of the group, the narrowest car here is the Subaru Forester, measuring in at 1,795 mm. At 1,632 mm, the Tiguan is the shortest here in terms of height, but not by much.
Both the Nissan and the Honda stand out in this class by offering seven seats. Given that these two offer accommodations at the back, the CR-V and X-Trail come with a sliding second row which both improves legroom for the third row, as well as expanding the cargo area. Rear air-con vents are standard in the CR-V, CX-5, Sportage, Tiguan (plus a pull out table!), Tucson and X-Trail whereas the Forester, RAV4 and Korando are not equipped with it.
Power seats are standard in their respective top of the line trims sans the Nissan, Ssangyong and Volkswagen. The CR-V comes with six ports all in all for charging points and USBs. Meanwhile, the Subaru has the largest sunroof in its segment, reaching all the way to the rear. As for the Tiguan, it even offers a storage box under the front seats. Color display screens are standard in all but the Tucson and Sportage. To avail of a touchscreen, one has to order the indent-order Tucson GLS AWD.
These being family cars, it is important to take a look at their safety features. Airbags for the front and side are standard fare. It is nice to see that stability control is making its way to even the lower variants of these models too. Some of these cars however, go far beyond these features.
The Tiguan gets a simplified on-board diagnostics system on the touchscreen, showing possible faults that will need to be serviced. At the same time, it actively monitors wear and tear parts and maintenance, plus, there is also a tire pressure monitoring system. As for the Honda, top of the line CR-Vs come standard with adaptive cruise control with low speed follow, collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. Nissan followed suit with the updated X-Trail with the Intelligent Mobility safety pack. It includes a 360 degree view camera, moving object detection, blind spot monitoring and warning, forward collision warning, intelligent emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert.
Moving to the Mazda, the CX-5 is available with blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and adaptive LED headlights. Speaking of lights, the Subaru Forester comes with steering responsive headlights throws the beam of light further towards the corner. Needless to say, safety has come a long way since the dawn of the crossover.
The least expensive way into C-segment crossover ownership is with the Ssangyong Korando. Prices start at Php 1,090,000 for a two wheel drive, diesel, manual model. The top of the line Korando on the other hand will set you back Php 1,390,000 which gets you an automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and a diesel engine.
At Php 1,098,000, Php 8,000 from the Korando's base price, is the lowest variant of the Hyundai Tucson. Also equipped with a manual transmission, it is powered by a 2.0-liter gas engine. As mentioned, the all-wheel drive diesel Tucson is by order basis, meaning the most expensive Tucson readily available is the GLS CRDi at Php 1,558,000. However, you do not get all-wheel drive.
The first of the Japanese offerings is the Toyota RAV4 which starts at Php 1,280,000. The 2.5 Active 4x2 is the lowest-priced crossover here with a relatively large engine. If you want the range-topper, the RAV4 2.5 Premium 4x4 is priced at Php 2,083,000.
Nearly Php 100,000 more gets you the base-model X-Trail at Php 1,399,000. Entry-level X-Trails are two wheel drive and powered by a 2.0-liter engine. For all-wheel drive, the X-Trail starts at Php 1,728,000 plus an upgrade to the 2.5-liter engine.
Creeping closer to the 1.5 million peso mark is the Kia Sportage. The range starts with the EX 2WD variant at Php 1,445,000 and rises to Php 1,785,000 for the GT-Line AWD. All local Sportage models come with the 2.0-liter CRDi from the Tucson.
For just a little bit more than the Sportage, there's the Subaru Forester which starts at Php 1,468,000. This being a Subaru, all-wheel drive is standard even in the base 2.0i-P. If you're willing to shell out almost Php 500,000 more, you get the turbocharged, high-performance XT at Php 1,948,000.
The first to breach the 1.5 million peso mark is the Honda CR-V. It starts at Php 1,539,000 for the 2.0S gas model and Php 1,569,000 for the 1.6V diesel. Opt for the lone all-wheel drive variant and you get the Honda Sensing safety suite plus the i-DTEC diesel for Php 2,049,000.
Up next is the Mazda CX-5 and the range starts with the FWD PRO. The FWD PRO prices kick off at Php 1,550,000 and up to Php 2,200,000 for the Skyactiv-D AWD. Mazda does offer an AWD gas model in the form of the 2.5 AWD Sport at Php 1,895,000.
The lone Western offering, the Volkswagen Tiguan, is the most expensive in this group. Also, there is only one variant readily available and that's the 1.4 TSI Comfortline at Php 2,259,000. Volkswagen does accept indent orders for the 2.0 TDI 4Motion.