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Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Outlander: off-roaders for the road

Dino Eisele
Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mitsubishi Outlander
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W as do, if Park the popular SUVs from Audi, BMW and Volkswagen with the neighbors around you, but don't want to recognize your car just by its license plate? What to do if the house has not yet been paid off, but it should still be a four-wheel drive with a reasonable diesel?

In any case, don't despair, because with the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mitsubishi Outlander This autumn, delightful models arrived on the German market that should fulfill a number of wishes. With a length of around 4.6 meters, powerful diesels (150 to 197 hp) and plenty of cargo space, all three play in the league in which the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLK have long been regular players. With prices between 34,000 and 43,000 euros, the three Asian SUVs are also much cheaper even when fully equipped. A basic Q5 2.0 TDI with all-wheel drive is only available from 39,900, an equivalent X3 is just as expensive. And? Aroused interest? Then continue in the comparison test.

The Honda CR-V is economical and cheap

Let's start at the cheapest in this comparison: the CR-V 2.2 4WD Lifestyle, available since October. Packed with two-zone climate, heated Alcantara seats, subwoofer, reversing camera and bi-xenon headlights, Honda charges just 34,380 euros for the 150 hp four-wheel drive.

There are hardly any grounds for grumpy comments. The occupants take their place in comfortable seats, the cockpit is simple and clear, with the exception of the radio, and the foot and trunk are finished with soft carpets. Only the use of foamed plastics or real aluminum strips does not Honda and leaves it with a solidly screwed cockpit without much charm. Hyundai and Mitsubishi - this much has already been revealed - are not a bit more generous in the comparison test.

Tight chassis and large cargo space

Typically Honda: The driver looks at large illuminated instruments, in the edge of which are hidden light strips that glow green or blue depending on driving behavior. Also typical: the cleverly designed rear seat. One pull on a large lever in the trunk, and the bench and backrest fold forward independently and reveal a level, carefully crafted cargo space with a volume of up to 1,669 liters.The minimum is a lush 589 liters - at 4,570 millimeters, the shortest SUV in this comparison test has the largest trunk. A moderate payload of 489 kg destroys the point advantage gained.

On the other hand, the CR-V presents itself more consistently in terms of the chassis set-up. It is designed to be very tight and likes to provide information about road damage and short waves, but does not interfere with rocking or an overly indirect steering. This results in a reliable and unspectacular driving behavior that lets you forget occasional bumps quickly.

The short six-speed gearbox can be shifted crisply and harmonizes well with the 2.2-liter diesel. Vibration-free and pleasantly quiet, the 350 Nm diesel engine provides the second best performance (sprint from zero to 100 km /h in 9.5 seconds), does not weaken at higher speeds and shows a test consumption of 7.8 liters /100 km moreover, more frugal than its two competitors in the comparison test. Thanks to the standard automatic start-stop system and an eco mode that can be activated at the push of a button, it is only 5.5 liters of diesel.

Hyundai Santa Fe is big and thirsty

The twelve centimeter longer Hyundai cannot keep up with that. His cultivated, 197 hp diesel consumes over one liter more in the test medium (9.2 L /100 km). Why? He weighs almost 200 kg more. Despite the significant increase in power and torque (421 Nm), the Dickschiff therefore hardly pulls better in the higher gears than the CR-V and Outlander.
But the Santa Fe scores in the interior. Front and rear, the 1.9 meter high five-seater offers a much more airy feeling of space in comparison. The passengers sit on soft, large leather armchairs (standard) and a sliding back seat with variable backrests. There are also numerous, huge shelves and high quality workmanship. The easy-to-use touchscreen navigation system, which is also standard, sits neatly in the center console. Also commendable: the bright blue, crystal clear TFT display of the on-board computer as well as USB and aux-in sockets, which are ideally placed next to a twelve-volt socket in front of the gear lever.

Hyundai is an expensive Rumpler with a high loading sill

Similar to the Honda, the three-part rear seat of the Santa Fe can be quickly folded down into a flat loading area. The luggage space ranges from a moderate 534 to 1,680 liters. Practical: the load compartment cover and smaller utensils can be stowed in compartments under the floor (51 liters in total). Only the high loading edge of 78 centimeters reduces the suitability for everyday use (Honda: 65.5 centimeters).

The handling of the SUV is less convincing. On long waves he skilfully plays the role of onegood-natured, slightly swaying glider with which even the longest distances can be covered with ease. But when it comes down from the autobahn onto smaller country roads, the 19-inch Santa Fe rumble in their wheel arches and annoy the occupants with violent bumps.

Anyone who hopes at least for more agile driving behavior will be disappointed. The jerky set-up neither reduces the significant body roll in curves nor does it improve its sluggish turning behavior. However, if the all-wheel drive should end up off-road, the Santa Fe is slightly better positioned than the competitors in the comparison test (CR-V without lock, Outlander without hill descent aid) with an uphill and downhill aid as well as a lockable power distribution (50:50). Finally, let's come to the main disadvantage of the Santa Fe: its price. Hyundai charges a whopping 42,380 euros for the premium version of the 2.2 CRDi. Xenon burner, leather armchair, lane departure warning system and much more are on board - but since its two competitors are similarly well equipped in comparison, the SUV loses massive points in the cost evaluation despite a five-year guarantee.

Mitsubishi Outlander is fast but loud

For the Outlander, which also comes with an electrically operated sunroof and tailgate as well as a third bench seat, there are around 2,500 Euros less to shell out. The 150 hp Mitsubishi, which with a length of 4.66 meters lines up between Santa Fe and CR-V, is almost as heavy as the Honda. The driving performance is correspondingly good. The sprint from zero to 100 km /h is done in 9.6 seconds - the times also differ only marginally when pulling through.

In order to achieve these values ​​and a brisk travel speed, the Outlander requires significantly more Endurance. The 2.2-liter diesel burns its fuel loudly and clearly, the type of asphalt surface can be easily determined thanks to the clearly audible rolling noises, and the bony manual transmission requires increased attention. Too often the change from fifth to fourth gear failed in our test car. After all, the rough diesel reconciles with an acceptable test consumption of 7.9 L /100 km. And thanks to the comfortable chassis, only a few transverse joints noticeably reach the seven possible occupants.

Outlander with stubborn navigation system and long braking distance

The ride on the individually fold-out emergency seats in the only 494 liter trunk is only recommended for small passengers, as there is a massive lack of head and legroom. Especially since the approach is rather difficult. For taller passengers, only the leather seats with weak lateral support and the rear seat, which can be adjusted for length and angle, remain. However, there is no lack of useful shelves and cup holders.More like a faster and more sensitive touchscreen navigation system, because the stubborn device usually only starts to calculate with the second press of a button. But once all the submenus have been explored, the system draws - who would have thought that? - even the air pressure of the atmosphere or lap times.
The Outlander's braking system also shows weaknesses. Braking distances from 100 km /h of over 38 meters are the result, a clear point deduction in the safety chapter the consequence. This leaves the rather rustic Outlander only in third place, while the expensive and thirsty Santa Fe rushes by. First place in the comparison test goes to the inexpensive, economical and pleasantly balanced CR-V.

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