What we have here, dressed as two midsized SUVs, is a conundrum. Where do your priorities lie when it comes to choosing a set of wheels? Do you want soothing practicality and a vehicle that does its job with ease while leaving you in sublime comfort? Or are you searching for something more athletic that aims to be more than just a conveyance and appeals to the heart as much as the mind? In other words, do you prefer the tortoise or the hare?
Our contenders for this philosophical dilemma are the Volkswagen T-Roc and Mazda CX-30. The VW is a fashionably late newbie to the segment, while the Mazda has already cemented itself as the class benchmark by winning multiple Wheels tests.
Not to be confused with its smaller T-Cross sibling, the T-Roc takes what makes the Golf a perennial favourite, and applies its hatch ethos to the small-ish SUV game. It’s actually 21mm shorter than the Golf Mk7.5, but some 20mm wider. It’s also more compact than the Mazda which is 149mm longer than the T-Roc and has an extra 60mm between its axles.
International sales for the T-Roc started three years ago after the vehicle was revealed to the world at Geneva in 2014, but gobsmacking global demand has left Volkswagen’s local arm waiting patiently to enter the lucrative small-SUV segment.
The range-topping 140TSI Sport that we have on test starts at an agreeable $40,490, but as-tested here it costs $46,590 before on-roads. Both the Luxury Package ($3500), and Sound and Style Package ($2000) are included on our test vehicle, while metallic paint adds $600.
These option packs are needed to get the T-Roc on par with the CX-30 in the gizmo arms war. Opting for the Luxury Pack brings heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, and seats trimmed in a combination of real and artificial leather. The Sound and Style Package adds adaptive dampers, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a 300-watt Beats sound system.
The CX-30 gracing these pages is the $43,490 G25 Astina flagship, with options limited to metallic paint ($495) and front floor mats ($195) for an as-tested price of $44,180.
Standard equipment is generous, with a glass sunroof, 18-inch alloys, 12-speaker Bose sound system, 360-degree parking camera, front cross traffic alert, heated front seats and steering wheel, head-up display, electric tailgate, and ultra-soft leather.
Not only is the Mazda better-appointed on-paper as standard, but the material quality feels classes above that offered by VW. Where the German interior is all hard plastic and pleather, the Japanese have skinned half of Rockhampton’s bovine stock to lay over the dash, door trims, centre console, steering wheel and seats.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE