Volk­swa­gen Tiguan

It’ll be here early next year. We drive VW’s new com­pact SUV

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Ouseph Chacko

TTHEY HAVE BEEN talk­ing about bring­ing the Tiguan to In­dia for years but so far, noth­ing has hap­pened. This new Tiguan how­ever is com­ing for sure and it will be here early 2017. When it gets to In­dia, it will go up against other soft road­ers like the Hyundai Santa Fe and the up­com­ing Nis­san X-Trail Hy­brid. So, now that you know how much it will cost (around `30 lakh), what ex­actly should you look for­ward to? Two days in Ber­lin, on and off the road paints a bet­ter pic­ture.

The skin

It looks smart, hand­some and un­der­stated. It isn’t as flashy as a Santa Fe, but then again, we know from ex­pe­ri­ence that VW’s de­signs age way bet­ter than any­thing else. They stand the test of time very well and the more you look at it, the more you no­tice the de­tails that make it look so smart. De­tails like the in­tri­cate chrome strips, the all-LED head­lamps, the strong shoul­der line are what make it look so el­e­gant. They even have two types of bumpers for the Tiguan. The on-road one (which we drove) and an off-road one that of­fers slightly bet­ter ap­proach an­gles while look­ing more butch.

VW says that de­spite the in­crease in di­men­sions – the new Tiguan is con­sid­er­ably longer in terms of wheel­base and over­all length – it weighs 18kg less than the old Tiguan would have in sim­i­lar spec and size thanks to the use of lots of high strength, low weight con­struc­tion tech­niques. It is af­ter all, VW’s first SUV on the MQB plat­form.

In­side story

The in­sides feel as well built as any VW north of the cur­rent Jetta. The magic hap­pens when you turn on the ig­ni­tion – the new in­stru­ment con­sole is com­pletely dig­i­tal and is sim­i­lar to the Vir­tual Cock­pit in the new Audi Q7 and TT. A high­re­soution colour map oc­cu­pies pride of place and is flanked by a dig­i­tal speedo/tachome­ter com­bi­na­tion. Our car had a heads-up dis­play, an in­tu­itive touch­screen driver in­ter­face and a lot of an­gles built into the de­sign. The air-con vents for ex­am­ple are hexag­o­nal, the cover for the cuphold­ers be­tween the front seats is an­gu­lar and there’s the now de rigueur flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel. There’s lots of pi­ano black sur­faces and over­all the in­sides feel rich, well built and com­fort­able.

There’s lots of space as well and the new seats are very com­fort­able. Open the elec­tri­cally op­er­ated tail­gate and you get 615 litres of boot space and there’s the op­tion of slid­ing the rear seats for­ward to get even more space for lug­gage.

Is it fun to drive?

Okay, so there are plenty of en­gine and driv­e­train op­tions avail­able in Ger­many. For In­dia though, we ex­pect VW’s main­stay 2.0 TDI – there’s 148bhp and 188bhp ver­sions – mated to the seven-speed DSG and a Haldex all-wheel drive sys­tem. We got our hands on the front-wheel drive 148bhp 2-litre TDI that had a six-speed man­ual and though it’s not the ex­pected spec for In­dia, it is still a good pointer as to what to ex­pect.

The 2-litre TDI has been re­worked and is much qui­eter as a re­sult. Sure, you can still hear some diesel drone, but once on the move, it revs no­tice­ably qui­eter than the cur­rent en­gine in In­dia. That clutch is still tricky to mod­u­late when you are start­ing off and you can stall the en­gine if you are not care­ful but the cool thing is, there’s an auto-start fea­ture that restarts the en­gine if you dip the clutch back in quickly. The en­gine is re­ally re­spon­sive and has great low- and mid-range torque and that is what gives the Tiguan its nip. The gearshift is nice and snappy and ex­e­cut­ing smooth shifts is a cinch.

On Ger­many’s der­e­stricted au­to­bahns the Tiguan was ut­terly sta­ble and com­pletely at home at high speeds and when we did pull off into for­est roads the han­dling (even on this two-wheel drive ver­sion) was very se­cure. The driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is a lot like that of the Jetta in the sense that you en­joy the se­cu­rity and ef­fort­less­ness that it dis­plays rather than get in­volved in steer­ing feed­back and seat of the pants driv­ing. There’s lots of grip, the steer­ing is ac­cu­rate, and body con­trol is ex­cel­lent and that is what al­lows you to get to, and main­tain great cross-coun­try av­er­age speeds.

Around town, you can dial up the ‘com­fort’ driv­ing mode where the steer­ing goes light and that, along with the Tiguan’s com­pact di­men­sions, makes it an easy ve­hi­cle to pi­lot.

Like the Jetta, it can feel mildly firm at lower speeds but that dis­ap­pears when you start go­ing fast. There’s lit­tle that can de­flect a fast mov­ing Tiguan from its in­tended line of travel.

The en­gine is re­ally re­spon­sive and has great lowand mid-range torque giv­ing the Tiguan its nippy per­for­mance

What else?

Well, we don’t sup­pose a lot of own­ers will take it off-road but we did put it through an off-road track with ar­tic­u­la­tion mounds, in­clines, de­scents and side slopes. We got the all-wheel drive ver­sion for this and it has an ad­di­tional dial down by the gear­lever that lets you choose be­tween ‘snow’, ‘road’ and ‘off-road’ modes. In the lat­ter, the car ad­justs the ESP, en­gine re­sponse and ABS as well as ac­ti­vates Hill De­scent con­trol. The track was cus­tom made for the Tiguan so it threw up no sur­prises but, what was ob­vi­ous, was that it can climb a 40-de­gree in­cline with­out fuss, can lean over (with­out rolling over) till your pas­sen­ger squeals in fright and the all-wheel drive sys­tem works with a bit of de­lay over the ar­tic­u­la­tion mounds. It is a front-bi­ased sys­tem in the sense that the front wheels have to start los­ing grip be­fore power is sent to the rear wheels.

As for the hill de­scent, when the car senses that it is on a down­ward slope, all you have to do to set a com­fort­able de­scent speed is to tap the brakes when you are at the de­sired speed. The sys­tem will main­tain that speed for you. Should you buy one?

Over­all, the Tiguan is a great all­rounder. There’s lit­tle to fault with it – it rides well, han­dles se­curely, has a great en­gine and feels rich and com­fort­able. Be­lieve me, there’s a lot to look for­ward to in the new Tiguan. But then again there was a lot to look for­ward to in the old Tiguan which VW threat­ened to bring to In­dia (a mil­lion times!) but never fol­lowed up on. Pric­ing was the chal­lenge then and we can only hope VW have sorted out the math this time round.

It can feel mildly firm at lower speeds but rides im­pres­sively flat when you start go­ing fast

Left: Beau­ti­fully built, high qual­ity in­te­ri­ors.

Above: High-res screen and 360-de­gree cam­eras

Left: VW hasn’t de­cided yet but In­dia should get the 2-litre TDI with AWD and DSG. Be­low: Front seats are re­ally com­fort­able

1: Use­fully big 615-litre boot and seats fold flat. 2: En­gine is re­spon­sive and quiet. 3: Can’t not go to the Ber­lin Wall when you are in Ber­lin

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