When Mazda first introduced the CX-5 in 2012, they really hit home. It was a compact SUV, and it turned out to be a car the Dutch people were waiting for. Now it’s time for the second generation, and on first sight, it doesn’t appear very differently. What I want to find out today though, is this CX-5 a better choice than the Volkswagen Tiguan? That there hasn’t been a lot of change shows in the engine department. Like we know, Mazda likes to follow their own course when it comes to the engines. A lot of manufacturers turn to smaller turbocharged engines, but Mazda doesn’t. Right now we’re driving a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine, without a turbo.No compressor or something either. It’s producing 165 horsepower. Just atmospherical. Even though 165 horsepower is sufficient for a car like this, the automatic gearbox is bothering the engine a little. That’s optional, so I’d recommend you the manual gearbox. This automatic 6-speed is a bit lazy, to be honest. If you want to speed up a little, it has to shift back first… It just doesn’t seem very active. Then again, that’s a characteristic of the SkyActive G-engine, you really have to encourage the engine to go for its maximum potential. That game is more fun though, if you play it with the manual 6-speed, because that really is a brilliant gearbox. This isn’t. What stands out when I’m driving this CX-5, it’s become quieter than its predecessor. That was quite a dynamic car in its segment, and that hasn’t changed with this new one. For example; the steering is pretty dynamic. It’s direct but quite heavy at the same time, so a lot of feedback and precision. But if you look at the chassis, it can tackle bumps like this with a lot of finesse.In the previous CX-5, it felt a little harder. So they’ve done that properly. What I don’t like about driving this CX-5 however, is the way it tackles bad roads on higher speeds. If you take a flyover on the highway for example, with some imperfections in the road, it’s a little bit jumpy. The dampers can’t follow quickly enough. Some of the cars in this segment have done a better job. That’s too bad. I expected some steps forward in this Mazda. The same goes for the interior if I’m honest, I’m having a hard time telling which features make this car really feel like a new car. I mean, this CX-5 isn’t a facelifted version of the previous one, it’s a completely new car. And if I have to be honest, this interior could’ve been
from a Mazda 3 from a few years ago. There are relatively dated dials, the styling is neat and it’s been put together nicely, but it isn’t really modern if you compare with its rivals.The usability of the car is very nice. I’ve always liked the way Mazda approached that. Take this i-Drive like unit in the middle. That way, you can control the screen in the middle easily. It’s all very effective. It’s a clean workspace as well, and it’s roomier than before. So that’s something Mazda has done properly. I only wish they would have brightened the place up a little bit. But of course, if you’re looking for fresh designs you’ll have to turn to Volkswagen. That’s a joke of course. You don’t buy a Tiguan for the fresh interior or the beautiful looks. I have to say though, this version with its airbumpers and big wheels does look tasty. But on the inside, it’s very functional. Neat, normal colors, not a lot of buzz. However, it’s been built very well.This Tiguan isn’t fitted with that nice TFT-screen behind the steering wheel, because that’s optional. If you equip that though, it’ll look much more modern. Again, it’s the usability that counts in here. One of Volkswagen’s strong points. Clear buttons, good positioning, it’s just very good. Whenever I drive in a Tiguan, I’m always astounded by the refinement this car offers. It’s such a quiet compact SUV, Volkswagen has really done well here. I can’t put it in an other way. Tire sound isn’t really present, even with the wide tires under this car. There isn’t a lot of wind noises either, it really is above its rivals when it comes to refinement.The finesse in the drivetrain is also very good. This Tiguan is powered by a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine, with turbo and cylinder deactivation. It produces 150 horsepower. It’s got a whole other personality than the Mazda. Right now I’m driving 60 km/h in fifth gear. If I give a little bit more throttle, the engine reacts very direct but also very smoothly. If I shift up to sixth gear, it catches the revs in a very refined way. If you ask me, this is a better combination than the 4-cylinder… and the automatic gearbox in the Mazda. Of course, you can choose for a automatic gearbox in the Volkswagen, a DSG, if you really want one. But that’s a nicer choice than the Mazda as well. It’s got a double clutch, it’s quicker, and a tad more modern. So if you want an automatic gearbox, I’d recommend the Tiguan. Also, when
it comes to the driving behaviour, I’m impressed by this Volkswagen Tiguan. That wasn’t the case with its predecessor. That was jumpier, a little bit uneasy for a compact SUV.But Volkswagen did a very good job on finetuning the chassis in this. Even when it’s on big wheels like this, it’s pretty comfortable. Sure, it isn’t an exciting car to drive. Not very dynamical, and it doesn’t really involve you in the driving process, but it is a car which does exactly what you expect from it. If you steer into a corner, it reacts very neutral. The springs and dampers have been tuned in a better way than the Mazda’s. If I go back to that flyover which I talked about in the Mazda, this car stays more straight because of the lower center of gravity.So it isn’s as twitchy as the Mazda, so this is a better compromis than the CX-5. So if you put everything together, this Tiguan does have some advantages over the Mazda. And that leaves us with one single aspect in which the CX-5 could redeem itself, and that’s the price. An aspect which normally isn’t in Volkswagen’s favor. But, if you equip these cars with similar gear, it’ll look like this. Because a lot of the buyers are lease drivers, you can get special lease versions with Volkswagen and Mazda. For the CX-5, that means you’ll get the SkyLease GT. That package includes built in satnav, heated seats and steering wheel. It’s also got leather upholstery and parking sensors, and that makes this a very well equipped car. Including an automatic gearbox, this car will set you back about €37.835.For a standard Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline Business, the price is lower. For €36.490 you get comfort-seats, active automatic climate control and adaptive cruise control, which the Mazda doesn’t have. The Tiguan featured in this test however, is a Business R. 19″ wheels, sporty bumpers, R-details in the interior, and the fabulous Dynaudio sound system, raise the price to €44.163. And that’s without the automatic gearbox. When it comes to the total package, the Tiguan is the better car. The Mazda CX-5 however, is clearly cheaper. .