Crossovers and SUVs are no longer the slow, wobbly family vehicles of yesteryear. As consumers flocked to premium vehicles, automakers followed with powerful powertrains and fancy badging. A new CAR video pits two such examples against each other in a drag race, determined to see if the Volkswagen Tiguan R can outrun the Land Rover Defender 90 V8.
At the heart of the Tiguan R is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It produces 315 horsepower (325 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque. VW sends that power to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. On paper, the VW is at a huge disadvantage to the V8-powered Land Rover Defender 90. The Defender is ready to race with its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. It produces 517 hp (386 kW) and 460 lb-ft (625 Nm) of torque, way more than the pesky Tiguan.
You’d think the Defender’s extra power would have kicked it off with gusto, but the Volkswagen got off to the better start. The Tiguan flew off the start line, putting the Land Rover in second place and unable to catch up. The Defender remained in the Tiguan’s mirrors until the end, with the VW crossing the finish line first and completing the quarter-mile drag race in an impressive 13.3 seconds. The Land Rover was not far behind, crossing the finish line in 13.5 seconds.
It would have been interesting to see the two face off in a rolling race, which would have eliminated the Tiguan’s starting advantage. The more powerful Defender would have done better in such a race. The Land Rover is significantly heavier than the Volkswagen by around 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), giving the Defender a downside of a dig.
Times of thirteen seconds over a quarter mile for two crossings is an impressive feat. These aren’t the fastest selling examples today, but they show how performance affects the segment. These gas-powered crossovers are fast, and the onslaught of battery-electric vehicles will only further blur the line between mainstream family vehicles and performance cars.