Volkswagen’s safe and smart Tiguan gets a nip, a tuck and more ticker
We give you the lowdown on Volkswagen’s revised, better-value Tiguan SUV range, direct from its German launch
THE nose and bum job are the obvious changes to Volkswagen’s updated Tiguan but it’s the heart transplants that will give the compact SUV a new lease of life.
There are now 10 variants, covering front-and all-wheel drive. Power is up across the board along with minor cuts to fuel consumption.
The updatedAWDversions were launched internationally last week. Sales in Australia will begin in the fourth quarter.
VWAustralia spokesman Karl Gehling says front-drive models will make it here next year, tagged with the company’s BlueMotion badges to denote fuel efficiency and fitted with the maker’s stopstart engine system and regenerative braking.
They will compete with the cheaper 2WD Japanese and South Korean rivals.
VWhasn’t finalised pricing for the facelifted models, so it’s impossible to say just how they will fit into the market.
The existing range starts at $33,990 for the 125kW petrol engine with a six-speed manual, rising to $42,990 for the 147kW variant with twin-clutch DSG transmission.
Given the extra gear and upgraded engines in the new vehicle, VWwill be sitting pretty if the comparable models are within $1000 or so.
TheAWD Tiguan will still be the only car in its class with variants engineered for onand off-road use. The road-focused car has an 18-degree front approach angle; choose the off-roader and that increases to 28 degrees. They’re easy to spot — the off-roader ditches the deep front air intake in favour of a smaller unit atop an engine bash plate.
The five-door wagon, launched in 2007, missed out on the corporate styling that has marked more recent Volkswagens. At a basic level that means the Tiguan adopts the wide horizontal lines on the grille and air intakes that mark the rest of the family.
Specifically, theVW designers have tried to link it to the bigger Touareg by adopting the pair of double-chrome louvres in the front and the L-shaped highlights in the brake lights.
It works— the Tiguan looks uncluttered from any angle without being bland. It’s not the most visually exciting car in the class but probably will age better for that.
The inside is virtually unchanged from last September’s local update, which included the button-loaded three-spoke steering wheel.
Byte me. The upgraded software in the Tiguan is impressive, even if a lot of it is reserved for the top-spec models or has to be ticked on the options boxes.
The multifunction display in the instrument cluster is operated by the steering wheel buttons and the four-way directional buttons make for straightforward navigating through the in-depth menus.
We didn’t bother with the instruction manual and still had everything tailored in a couple of minutes.
The second-generation park assist function now works with parallel and right-angle parking. Press the button in the centre console and 12 sensors determine how much space there is. Find a spot with enough room for the Tiguan, plus 80cm leeway, and the software steers the car into the bay. Speed is limited to 7km/h but the driver is still responsible for using the accelerator and brake.
An adaptive chassis control has comfort, normal and sports modes that progressively adjust the damping to improve roadholding. The effects are felt through the seat and steering wheel as the car ‘‘ tightens up’’ in the more dynamic modes.
Drivers who choose the offroad version can hit a switch to activate a hill descent assist system and reduce the pulse frequency of the ABS to improve braking on gravel or mud.
The facelift shouldn’t affect the Tiguan’s five-star ANCAP rating. Six airbags are standard kit and the passenger’s front airbag can be switched off when carrying babies in rearfacing capsules.
A pair of side airbags for the rear passengers is an option, along with seatbelt pretensioners for the outside rear seats. Tyre pressure monitoring is standard, as is an auto-hold function for the park brake.
Purposeful: The Tiguan’s makeover also puts more muscle under the metal