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