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SUV tech test: 12 top midsize SUVs compared

If you’re dropping nearly $50,000 on a new family SUV, you want to make sure it has the latest technology.

Earlier this year, we took Australia’s best-selling mid-size SUVs and took them off-road. Subaru Forester becomes the trump card.

This test is a little different. We tested each car’s infotainment system to see:

  • Which one starts up the fastest and allows you to quickly enter the address
  • Provides the best Bluetooth call quality
  • Which has the best reverse camera?
  • Which smartphone has the best smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

The following cars were tested:

  • Ford Escape Vignale AWD: $48,090
  • Haval H6 Ultra AWD: $42,990 D/A
  • Honda CR-V VTi LX AWD: $53,600 D/A
  • Hyundai Tucson Highlander 2.0D AWD: $52,400
  • Jeep Compass Trailhawk: $52,650
  • Kia Sportage GT-Line 2.0D AWD: $52,370
  • Mazda CX-5 Akera 2.5T AWD: $53,480
  • Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed AWD: $49,990
  • Nissan X-Trail Ti 4×4: $50,125 D/A
  • Subaru Forester 2.5iS AWD: $46,340
  • Toyota RAV4 Edge AWD Hybrid: $52,700
  • Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI R-Line: $56,390

Price does not include road costs unless D/A is specified

You can watch the video below or read on to know more. Check out our terrain test with Similar cars here.

All specifications, presented

Check out our tables below for a detailed breakdown of each vehicle’s features, as tested in our mid-size SUV.

Touch screen Tool
Ford Escape 8.0 inches 12.0 inches
Haval H6 12.3 inches 10.25 inches
Honda CR-VA 7.0 inches 7.0 inches
Hyundai Tucson 10.25 inches 10.25 inches
Jeep Compass 10.1 inches 10.25 inches
Kia Sportage 12.3 inches 12.3 inches
Mazda CX-5 10.25 inches (non-touch) 7.0 inches
Mitsubishi Outlander 9.0 inches 7.0 inches
Nissan X-Trail 7.0 inches 5.0 inches
Subaru Forester 8.0 inches 6.3 inches + 4.2 inches
Toyota RAV4 8.0 inches 7.0 inches
Volkswagen Tiguan 9.2 inches 10.25 inches

We tackled these cars because they are in the best-selling segment and suitable for most people.

There are a few competitors missing, such as MG HS and Renault Koleosnot available to us at the time of testing.

Test 1: Initiation and purpose

Our first test was a simple one. Stepping over to the car and unlocking it, we turned it on and tried to enter Melbourne Airport into the factory’s satellite navigation system.

The winner was the Hyundai Tucson who completed the task in just 18 seconds. Second place is 10 seconds ahead of the stable Korean friend, Kia Sportage, in second with a result of 28 seconds.

Rounding off the podium was the Jeep Compass, which kicked in and allowed us into Melbourne Airport in 31 seconds.

Taking up the rear are the Volkswagen Tiguan, which snuck in ahead of the one-minute mark, and the Ford Escape in 64 seconds.

Haval H6 does not have this feature, as it does not have factory satellite navigation.

Test 2: Bluetooth phone call quality

All of these cars performed well in the Bluetooth phone quality challenge, although there were some differences.

Both the Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander lag a bit behind the rest of the pitch with slightly muffled audio at a standstill, while the Haval H6 struggles to deliver a clear call on the go.

Listen to the video and let us know which one you think is the sharpest.

Test 3: Mirroring a smartphone

Smartphone mirroring is an important part of the tech suite in any new car, but not all Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrations are created equal.

Here’s an outline of whether you’ll need to be plugged in to use CarPlay or Android Auto, or if you’ll be able to keep your phone in your pocket/bag.

Apple CarPlay Android Auto
Ford Escape Wired Wired
Haval H6 Wired Wired
Honda CR-VA Wired Wired
Hyundai Tucson Wired Wired
Jeep Compass Wireless Wireless
Kia Sportage Wired Wired
Mazda CX-5 Wired Wired
Mitsubishi Outlander Wireless Wired
Nissan X-Trail Wired Wired
Subaru Forester Wired Wired
Toyota RAV4 Wired Wired
Volkswagen Tiguan Wireless Wireless

Test 4: Camera quality

The surprise package in this test is the Haval H6, which has a reverse camera and crystal clear surroundings. They take up the entire screen and are supported by a range of parking aids.

The Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson also performed well, while the Toyota RAV4 was average and the Honda CR-V was disappointing.

Some cars that struggled on the launch test performed better here, like the Mitsubishi Outlander with its wide-screen, clear reverse camera.

Reverse camera Surround view camera
Ford Escape Right No
Haval H6 Right Right
Honda CR-VA Right No
Hyundai Tucson Right Right
Jeep Compass Right Right
Kia Sportage Right Right
Mazda CX-5 Right Right
Mitsubishi Outlander Right Right
Nissan X-Trail Right Right
Subaru Forester Right No
Toyota RAV4 Right Right
Volkswagen Tiguan Right Right

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

THAN: Off-road SUV test – 12 top midsize SUVs compared

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