The Jeep Compass is arguably the best all-rounder in this little “tank battle”. It feels rugged, has the coolest amenities, and is the only one here with the sure-footedness of all-wheel-drive. It is more than up to the task of a suburbanite’s daily missions, which include school and office runs, along with weekend trips to East Coast Park for some R&R.
While the Compass can probably tackle any off-road surface with the right tyres, its on-road performance could definitely be enhanced. The ride quality isn’t as settled as its rivals’, and its performance doesn’t feel as quick as claimed.
Ironically, it’s the MINI Cooper Countryman that feels the quickest, despite it having the least power and the slowest 0-to-100km/h time. Apart from being nippy, this British contender is the nimblest, too, and can easily get its occupants in and out of tight spots.
We also like the Countryman’s stylish and practical interior, which offers fast ingress/egress, too. For urban “warfare” requiring rapid deployment, the Countryman would be our choice.
If the urban operations require added flexibility, then the Honda CR-V should be your top pick. This seven-seater’s strong points include a cushy cabin, numerous connectivity options, and very efficient air-conditioning to deal with torrid weather. We’re also fans of the CR-V’s brawny drivetrain.
The CR-V’s biggest downside is that it’s the thirstiest tank of the group, so the CR-V tends to perform fewer ops between top-ups.
The Volkswagen Tiguan does not have the CR-V’s muscle, the Compass’ off-roading abilities or the Countryman’s penchant for urban “warfare”. But like a real German panzer, the Tiguan is impressively well-engineered.
The VW’s key strengths include a snappy gearbox, optimal ride-handling balance and a driver-friendly cockpit. And its cylinder deactivation technology saves fuel and makes for quieter running, which is crucial when stealth is required.
Despite not being big on “firepower”, the Tiguan’s massive boot will nevertheless enable five well-armed commandos to pack even more weapons, ammo and supplies with them. That should enable them to remain in the fight long after the opposing force has run dry.
THE COUNTRYMAN IS THE MOST TROOP-FRIENDLY, THE COMPASS IS THE MOST SUREFOOTED, THE TIGUAN IS THE MOST COMFORTABLE AND THE CR-V IS THE MOST VERSATILE.