Road Test: Volkswagen Tiguan
SECTOR Compact SUV PRICE From €25,975 approx FUEL 4.7l/100km CO2 123g/km
I remember testing a new mk-IV Golf many years ago and everywhere I took the car people stopped, looked and asked questions, despite the relatively conservative design. It was instantly recognisable as a Golf and in many eyes, desirable as a result. It’s a trick that VW has not forgotten. Take a look, even briefly at the new Tiguan, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Show in September 2015, before going on sale earlier this year. If you know anything about cars, I think you would identify it as the new Tiguan, even if you didn’t know it had been recently launched. It’s a new and completely refreshed car, but there’s no doubt what it is.
Arguably that’s more important in the more conservative SUV sector, where relatively high cost means anything that could undermine residual values is unwelcome. Inevitably, the car uses Volkswagen’s MQB architecture and is the first Volkswagen SUV to do so, but we know there is more to come, possibly at the Paris Show and Volkswagen has promised at least one new SUV in each relevant market segment by 2020.
The car is wider, lower and longer, giving more headroom inside and up to 29mm more rear knee room, according to Volkswagen. With the rear seat folded, there is more luggage space, up 145 litres to 1,655 litres. Tiguan is the first Volkswagen to be offered with an active bonnet, lifting it up 50mm in an impact to try and protect pedestrians from injury, by providing more clearance between the bonnet and solid engine.
Both two and four-wheel drive models will be available and there is a comprehensive list of familiar petrol and diesel engines including the 1.4-litre TSI direct injection, turbocharged petrol (125 and 150hp), 2.0-litre TSI 180hp, and 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel (115hp, 150hp, 190hp, 240hp). Most engines are available with a choice of six-speed manual or DSG twin-clutch automated transmissions.
Experience suggests that Volkswagen’s 150hp TDI diesel engine will be the engine to choose for fleet customers, offering a good combination of low fuel consumption and good performance and it was this model, with seven-speed DSG transmission that I drove on the launch.
There’s a familiarity to everything about the Tiguan from the shared switchgear and instrument options, to the familiar layout that carries over much of the design of its predecessor, but updated. This is all reassuring. The handling almost feels like a Golf, but the higher seating position and greater roll angles remind you that it isn’t. The DSG gearbox is reassuringly familiar too with its rapid and smooth gear changes with manual override if you think you can do better. The 150hp engine feels like it delivers more power than that, yet returns 5.7l/100km on the combined cycle.
Rivals like the Kia Sportage have lost their design edge and that is good news for the Tiguan. Externally the subtle re-design makes the car look crisper, but offers more space inside. It looks like Volkswagen has done it again.
The new Tiguan is just what you would hope from a VW – a great, slightly understated, but stylish all-rounder that does everything right, most of the time.