How well can these everyday crossovers take care of business when the pavement ends?
Testing the off-road prowess of crossovers in challenges like the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander vs 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan on Gold Mine Hill is always fun. While it may look easy enough for a proper off-road vehicle (it is), it’s a real hurdle for most crossovers. Especially when those crossovers have limited ground clearance and street-biased tires.
We test traction, suspension travel, all-wheel drive (AWD)/four-wheel drive (4WD) systems, brakes and power – all on our three-part course. Some crossovers have enough ground clearance to go up our most challenging part of Gold Mine Hill. That would be the third obstacle – the big hill.
Unfortunately, neither vehicle had enough clearance to even attempt the hill without incurring serious body damage. As such, the biggest challenge was the banked turn. Sure, it looks easy enough, but it is a challenge as the heavily banked turn (the lower section is a deep rut that forces many vehicles to lift wheels, severely limiting traction) is approached with very little momentum.
Both vehicles have a comparable layout with four-cylinder engines, AWD and three rows of seats. They hover around the same price point when they are similarly equipped. The Mitsubishi Outlander has an optional V6 and, coming soon, a hybrid powerplant. The Volkswagen Tiguan, on the other hand, only has one power choice: a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo.