No tiger in the TANK
VOLKSWAGEN’S player in the very competitive CUV (crossover utility vehicle) market is the Tiguan. We are all aware Volkswagen has a penchant for creative advertising and branding, so I am often asked what that odd name means. The short answer is it doesn’t mean anything, really; it’s made up.
The term Tiguan, pronounced TEE-gwan, is an amalgamation of the German words Tiger (tiger) and Leguan (iguana). This name won out in a contest held by German carmagazine publisher Autobild, from a field of names that included Namib, Rockton, Liger, Samun and Nanuk. So maybe Tiguan is not a bad choice, although Nanuk would have been entirely appropriate in Canada.
The styling of the Tiguan is pleasantly influenced by the parent VW Group, which includes Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche. There are some good artistic genes in this bloodline, and Volkswagen keeps the Tiguan styling cool, clean and quite German.
The simplistic grille and HID headlights carry the VW corporate look, and the character lines are crisp, defined and rather conservative. There are no wild flourishes or add-ons for the sake of some design theme. This philosophy is a double-edged sword — the results are uncluttered, even classic, but can be somewhat lifeless.
The design sensibilities carry into the Tiguan’s cabin. The instrument layout is completely logical and easy to read with a refreshing style. The surfaces are mostly black and silver hard plastic that look good but feel somewhat cold. The heated seats bring some warm and fuzzies if the interior design doesn’t.
There is a touch-screen display in the top centre of the dashboard for the RNS 510 navigation and optional Dynaudio 300-watt audio system with 30GB hard drive as part of the optional Technology Package. At 6.5-inches, the display is not one of the larger units on the market and I had to lean closer to look at the street map.
The HVAC is controlled via a trio of rotary knobs for which I was grateful ... but please tell me why there was no digital readout for the temperature? The left-hand knob had a blue to red scale, but I could not find the degrees in numeric form on the dash or on the touchscreen display.
The panoramic sunroof is a wonderful feature, brightening up the allblack interior and keeping the rearseat passengers from any chance of claustrophobia setting in. Seating is rated for five, though four adults and a child would be more realistic.
There are three levels of Tiguans. In ascending order of cost and fea- tures, they are: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. There are various packages that can be added, such as Convenience or Sport, plus the Sportline is available with the R-Line Package in the 2014 model.
Tiguans come in two driveline flavours, FWD (front wheel drive) or 4Motion AWD (all-wheel drive). The test vehicle reviewed here is the Comfortline 4Motion, right smack in the middle of the lineup. It’s too bad all Tiguans are powered by the same engine no matter the trim level, so there is no horsepower gains to be had from ordering a Highline R-Line Package.
UNDER the hood is a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-litre, in-line four-cylinder engine with 16 valves, which generates 200 horsepower between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm, a rather high engine speed. Thankfully, the 207 poundfeet of torque curve begins early, at 1,700 rpm and going to 5,000, so the 2.0 isn’t gutless at normal speeds. I did find there was some lag to the throttle, which was annoying in urban stop-and-go driving.
In wet or snowy conditions, VW’s seamless 4Motion all-wheel drive system with adaptive torque distribution requires zero input from the driver to activate — it’s on duty 24/7. This limits the Tiguan’s off-road ambitions to
10.3 back roads rather than cross-country romps in the dirt and snow. There is no 4x4 low or high gear, no lockable differentials and such. You need to look at a Jeep Wrangler for that sort of thing.
In case you drive beyond the Tiguan’s 4Motion capabilities, safety measures are in place. If a certain severity of crash impact is detected, all doors are automatically unlocked, the battery terminal is disconnected from the alternator cable, fuel supply is shut off, warning hazard lights are switched on, and high consumption electrical components are shut off automatically.
I liked the Tiguan after my week with it, but it didn’t inspire me to drive it more than necessary. The exterior appealed to my eye, but in a marketplace as crowded as the compact SUV niche, something extra is required, more than just an adequate engine and strong chin. With only 200 horses under the hood, it wasn’t pleasing to see that premium fuel was required when it came time to fuel up the Tig. Really? I would have expected some exciting driving for the extra cost.
The 2014 Tiguan covers the basics well. It went about its business without drama, but, alas, I didn’t fall in love. Hopefully we can still be friends.
TYPE OF VEHICLE: TIRES: FUEL CONSUMPTION RATING ( L/100 KM):
DESTINATION CHARGE: The Tiguan’s instrument
layout is logical.