A lot of plush technology
BRIAN BASSETT drives the New Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4L TSI 110 kW Comfortline DSG
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.
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.
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.
The taut new Tiguan’s high driving position puts you in command of the road, while cylinder shutdown technology makes for lighter consumption.