VI­TALS

VW builds on the Tiguan’s tal­ents as it bridges the gap to lux­ury level

The Advertiser - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING ED­I­TOR

THE Volk­swa­gen Tiguan has grown in more ways than one.

It’s big­ger in ev­ery di­men­sion, giv­ing it a roomier cabin and, fi­nally, a de­cent­sized cargo hold.

When it ar­rives in show­rooms in Septem­ber, the new Tiguan will also come with a higher price. VW hints the new edi­tion is set to rise, with a vast model range likely to stretch from $30,000 to $50,000.

It’s part of a plan to build the VW brand as a bridge be­tween main­stream and lux­ury.

“With­out be­com­ing out of reach, we want to po­si­tion our ve­hi­cles as be­ing pre­mium but for the peo­ple,” says Volk­swa­gen Aus­tralia head of prod­uct plan­ning Jeff Shafer.

To that end the maker has in­tro­duced a level of tech­nol­ogy and safety equip­ment not seen be­fore in the com­pact SUV seg­ment in Aus­tralia.

Tiguans will have au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing (with pedes­trian de­tec­tion), a pop-up bon­net to pro­tect pedes­tri­ans if all else fails, nine airbags, LED head­lights, lane-keep­ing as­sis­tance, head-up dis­play and dig­i­tal widescreen in­stru­ment dis­play — shared with the $300,000-plus Audi R8 su­per­car.

VW Aus­tralia is yet to con­firm which fea­tures will be stan­dard and which will be re­served for dearer vari­ants.

Among the mod-cons we hope to see as stan­dard fare in­clude Ap­ple CarPlay, rearview cam­era and elec­tronic park brake. Fold-down tray ta­bles on the back of the front seats and air vents and 12V out­lets for the sec­ond row seats would be handy too.

Tiguan buy­ers may need to do more re­search than usual be­fore fronting up to a deal­er­ship: there will be five en­gines and four model grades.

The starter 110TSI is pow­ered by a 1.4-litre turbo en­gine paired with six-speed man­ual or six-speed DSG auto.

If his­tory is a guide, the price leader will be the sole model that may sneak un­der the $30,000 plus-on roads price. The au­to­matic trans­mis­sion cho­sen by the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of buy­ers prob­a­bly­will add $2500.

From there, the en­gine op­tions are two 2.0-litre tur­bos (132kW/320Nm or 162kW/ 350Nm) and two 2.0-litre turbo diesels (110kW/340Nm or 140kW/400Nm).

All 2.0-litre vari­ants come with all-wheel drive and sev­en­speed DSG au­to­mat­ics. VW an­tic­i­pates an even mix of sales and does not fore­see any back­lash over the re­cent “Diesel­gate” scan­dal.

The new Tiguan’s diesel, known as the EA288, is “based on” the EA189, the en­gine at the cen­tre of the con­tro­versy. But the maker says the tech­nol­ogy at­tached to it is vastly dif­fer­ent and in­cludes use of the AdBlue ad­di­tive to meet the lat­est emis­sions stan­dards.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, all vari­ants are due to ar­rive at the same time, rather than in stag­gered fash­ion over sev­eral months as is of­ten the case with new ar­rivals.

As a sign of the in­sa­tiable global ap­petite for SUVs, an even larger seven-seat Tiguan is ex­pected to fol­low about 12 months later. Volk­swa­gen even­tu­ally will have two smaller SUVs to com­pete in the city­sized seg­ment.

So the lat­est Tiguan is merely the start of a wave of new SUVs with a sharp new cor­po­rate look.

ON THE ROAD

The in­ter­na­tional pre­view drive of the new Volk­swa­gen Tiguan in Ber­lin was not ex­ten­sive enough to pro­vide de­fin­i­tive feed­back. How­ever, early signs are good.

The rel­a­tively short test routes took in mostly smooth roads and free­ways and even the small amount of city and sub­ur­ban driv­ing seemed to be on per­fect pave­ment.

As pro­duc­tion was still ramp­ing up, the book­ends of the new line-up — the 110TSI and 162TSI petrol vari­ants — were not avail­able. The lat­ter, promis­ing new lev­els of per­for­mance for the com­pact SUV class, has the get-up-andgo of a Golf GTI hot hatch.

We sam­pled the 110TDI diesel and the mid-range 132TSI petrol. The im­pec­ca­ble road con­di­tions made it dif­fi­cult to gauge how the new model felt on bumps and bends.

The quiet­ness of the en­gines was ap­par­ent and the twin­clutch auto trans­mis­sions (known for their hes­i­ta­tion at times) were smoother op­er­a­tors than ear­lier it­er­a­tions.

The test ve­hi­cles were loaded with al­most ev­ery piece of avail­able tech­nol­ogy to show what is avail­able.

Buy­ers of the lux­ury mod­els can at least look for­ward to a full length “panorama” sun­roof pre­vi­ously re­served for pres­tige mod­els.

VW plans to have a higher level of stan­dard equip­ment in the new Tiguan which, along with the big­ger body and new gen­er­a­tion en­gines, will help jus­tify the price hike.

VER­DICT

We’ll re­serve fi­nal judg­ment un­til we test the new Tiguan more thor­oughly on lo­cal roads.

But even with the limited ex­po­sure to the new model it’s safe to say it’s a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward in ev­ery as­pect — size, safety, tech­nol­ogy and fuel ef­fi­ciency.

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