High on the food chain

VW adds rous­ing per­for­mance to cabin re­fine­ment

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - First Drive - Craig Duff

IF you’re the type who can’t have too much of a good thing, Volk­swa­gen has a Tiguan for you. The range-top­ping 162TSI High­line takes the spa­cious, smart pack­ag­ing of Cars­guide’s Car of the Year and wraps it around a Golf GTI en­gine.

The re­sult is a mid-sized SUV that can’t be matched for per­for­mance this side of a pres­tige soft-roader and has no peers on price at $48,490. The cheap­est of the com­pa­ra­ble ri­vals is Volvo’s XC60 T5 at $63,990.

It doesn’t take a lot to push the 162TSI to­wards $60K and most buy­ers are head­ing in that di­rec­tion. More than 70 per cent of High­line buy­ers are opt­ing for the $4000 R-Line pack that adds cos­metic upgrades, 20-inch al­loys, vari­able-ra­tio steer­ing and adap­tive sus­pen­sion damp­ing.

An­other pop­u­lar pick, the $2000 driv­ing as­sis­tance pack, bun­dles adap­tive cruise con­trol, 360-de­gree cam­era, ad­justable hi-res dig­i­tal driver’s dis­play, lane-change as­sist and rearcross traf­fic alert. Then there’s a lux­ury pack at $2000 …

High­lights among the stan­dard gear are au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen with sat­nav, An­droid Auto/Ap­ple CarPlay, power tail­gate and three-zone air­con.

ON THE ROAD

All-wheel drive and a sev­en­speed trans­mis­sion help the Tiguan of­fi­cially match the Golf GTI’s 100km/h time of 6.5 sec­onds. It is worth brag­ging rights at the golf club but the re­al­ity is the lower, lighter hatch will dis­ap­pear down the road in the real world.

Com­pare like with like, though, and there isn’t a lot to trou­ble the 162TSI in the mid­sized SUV ranks.

The sus­pen­sion is firmer than most main­stream SUVs. That helps the car sit flat through the turns — it hasn’t been dialled up to sports tune so there’s enough give at low speeds to avoid bounc­ing around in the city.

The stan­dard Tiguan 162 rides on 18-inch al­loys with a big­ger side­wall and they do the best job of bal­anc­ing com­fort and cor­ner­ing. The 20-inch R-Line rims look im­mea­sur­ably bet­ter and, along with the adap­tive dampers, im­prove the SUVs cor­ner­ing but also mean that some of the road rip­ples can be faintly felt in the cabin.

At any speed the Tiguan is com­mend­ably quiet. There’s a hint of wind noise off the wind­screen pil­lars and mi­nor tyre roar on coarse bi­tu­men but the sound sup­pres­sion is up there with the best.

The dual-clutch auto is well- cal­i­brated on the move, flick­ing up to taller gears as soon as it can to cut fuel use but quick to kick­down in re­sponse to ac­cel­er­a­tor pres­sure. Press the pedal harder and the Tiguan hangs on to gears up to the red­line, show­ing a tidy turn of pace.

VER­DICT

The heavy hit­ter 162TSI High­line com­bines a re­fined cabin with rous­ing per­for­mance. It is also hard to fault its com­po­sure around town or on the open road. Just don’t try chas­ing down GTIs …

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