A lot of plush tech­nol­ogy

BRIAN BASSETT drives the New Volk­swa­gen Tiguan 1.4L TSI 110 kW Com­fort­line DSG

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

WE re­viewed the old Tiguan some two years ago and it was clear at that stage that it was hugely pop­u­lar in South Africa.

What we could not know was that it would be­come one of the most pop­u­lar fam­ily SUVs in the world.

Some three mil­lion peo­ple in­ter­na­tion­ally trusted their travel needs to the old Tiguan and 19 000 of them are South Africans.

The de­sign, how­ever, was dated and it was re­viewed and up­dated by VW’s de­sign boss Klaus Bischoff and his team, to en­sure that the ve­hi­cle re­tained its lead in the mar­ket.

The new de­sign was more than a re­vamp. In fact, we found it dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that we were look­ing at the suc­ces­sor to the rather chunky orig­i­nal.

We are grate­ful to Keith Abra­hams, dealer prin­ci­pal at Baron’s Pietermaritzburg, for al­low­ing us time with the com­pletely re­designed VW Tiguan.

Styling

The New Tiguan’s de­sign theme is one of strong hor­i­zon­tal lines, cre­at­ing a mas­cu­line, etched feel.

The car makes a much more pow­er­ful state­ment than its pre­de­ces­sor and, viewed from the side it has a seam­less, flow­ing feel, which projects a sense of power, while body-coloured bumpers, door han­dles and ex­te­rior mir­rors in­te­grate eas­ily into the over­all de­sign.

All mod­els have a black grain-ef­fect pro­tec­tive trim on the lower front and rear bumpers, side sills and wheel arches. As much as the pre­vi­ous de­sign was some­what flabby, the new Tiguan is sharp, con­toured and dis­tinc­tive.

The char­ac­ter lines are re­peated on the bon­net and the ra­di­a­tor grille has strik­ing hor­i­zon­tal chrome bars with a cen­trally placed VW badge, flanked by stylish, slit-eyed LED head­lights and fog lamps at a lower level.

At the rear, the tail gate is plain with a cen­tral VW badge and wrap­around tail lights, as well as twin ex­hausts to com­mu­ni­cate a sporty and pow­er­ful feel.

In­te­rior

De­spite the fact that it has gen­er­ous ground clear­ance, the New Tiguan is easy to ac­cess and exit.

So grand­par­ents trans­port­ing chil­dren will have no prob­lems.

In­side, the car speaks of lux­ury and at­ten­tion to de­tail, with the leather seats com­fort­able for long jour­neys and the driver’s seat elec­tri­cally ad­justable and equipped with a mem­ory.

The leather-cov­ered, mul­ti­func­tion steering wheel, with all of the usual fea­tures like Blue­tooth and cruise con­trol, is also fully ad­justable, and once you have found your ideal driv­ing po­si­tion, you can lock it in.

I liked the high driv­ing po­si­tion, which makes you feel in com­mand of the ve­hi­cle.

The dash shares a con­sid­er­able affin­ity with that of the Golf and is sim­ple enough to op­er­ate, while pro­vid­ing all of the in­for­ma­tion you need.

The con­trols are also log­i­cally laid out and eas­ily vis­i­ble. The speedome­ter and rev counter are ana­logue, with dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion be­tween them.

As an op­tion you can add a dig­i­tal dash­board, but the con­ven­tional dash is all you re­ally need.

The dash comes stan­dard with a fiveinch touch-screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, which can be up­graded to 6,5 or eight­inch op­tions and the eight-speaker au­dio sys­tem, with all of the usual IT op­tions, is ex­cel­lent.

Seat­ing at the rear will take three adults in com­fort for long dis­tances and the car has a unique amal­gam of lux­ury and prac­ti­cal­ity.

Slid­ing rear seats with a 40-60 split of­fer ver­sa­til­ity for pas­sen­gers and the boot of­fers 615 litres of space and 1 655 litres with the rear seats folded down. The tail gate is elec­tric and stack­ing lug­gage is easy.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Tiguan has a five-star Euro NCap rat­ing and a list of safety fea­tures too long to list here.

Nonethe­less, there are a few that should be men­tioned. The usual ABS and EBD are sup­ported by hill hold as­sist, anti-spin reg­u­la­tion, elec­tronic and trans­verse dif­fer­en­tial locks, fa­tigue de­tec­tion and a host of front-side and rear air bags, while Isofix at­tach­ment points see to your chil­dren’s safety.

Park pi­lot mon­i­tors the front and rear of the car, and takes the drama out of shop­ping-cen­tre park­ing.

I liked the Tiguan’s abil­ity to change driv­ing mode, with any­thing from nor­mal to eco mode. Adap­tive cruise con­trol, with for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing and the high beam light-as­sist func­tion are also worth­while own­ing.

The car has the usual cen­tral lock­ing and alarm. But re­mem­ber that there is a host of other safety fea­tures, such as a rear-mounted cam­era, which can be added as ex­tras.

Per­for­mance and han­dling

The front-wheel-drive Tiguan we tested was equipped with a four-cylin­der, turbo-petrol, trans­versely mounted en­gine, which puts out 110 kW/250 Nm of torque and is the first VW en­gine in SA to fea­ture cylin­der shut­down tech­nol­ogy. So if you are cruis­ing on the N3 and have pressed the right but­ton, two cylin­ders shut down when ap­pro­pri­ate, to save you fuel.

Power is ex­pressed on road by a sixspeed step­tronic box, backed up by flappy pad­dles on the steering wheel. Fuel con­sump­tion in the com­bined cy­cle is around nine litres/100 km, but so much de­pends on driv­ing style and ter­rain.

The zero to 100 run comes up at around 10 sec­onds and top speed is claimed to be 200 km/h.

The Tiguan drives and parks eas­ily in town, where it is aided by light steering and clear lines of sight.

On KZN’s D roads, the car per­forms well and on some­what choppy farm roads it is will­ing, but has to be han­dled care­fully. In fact, this is a car that should not be taken too far off tar. How­ever, there is a se­lec­tion of en­gines on their way to the SA mar­ket, as well as a 4Mo­tion ver­sion for off-road­ing.

Costs and com­pe­ti­tion

The new Tiguan 1.4TSI, 110 kW DSG costs R457 680, with the en­try model at around R378 000. There is a three­year or 120 000 km warranty and fiveyear or 90 000 km ser­vice plan. Re­mem­ber, the list of op­tions is long and some­times ex­pen­sive.

Also look at the Ford Kuga, Jeep Rene­gade, Toy­ota Rav4 and Suzuki Vi­tara, among oth­ers.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The taut new Tiguan’s high driv­ing po­si­tion puts you in com­mand of the road, while cylin­der shut­down tech­nol­ogy makes for lighter con­sump­tion.

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