MO­TOR­ING

The up­dated Tiguan from Volk­swa­gen looks sharp, but has room for im­prove­ment.

Friday - - Contents -

he Tiguan has been quite a suc­cess story for Volk­swa­gen. Since its launch in 2007, the small cross­over has found more than 2.8 mil­lion homes across the world.

How­ever, it made the same mis­take that most suc­cess sto­ries make, hung around for a bit too long, and inevitably, ended up look­ing jaded in the com­pany of its mod­ern ri­vals. Although a bit late, Volk­swa­gen has fi­nally reme­died this by infusing some long-over­due fresh­ness into the sec­ond-gen Tiguan, first shown at last year’s Frank­furt show and now avail­able here. As we’ve seen over the years, Volk­swa­gen has this un­canny abil­ity to de­sign cars that are good-look­ing and ele­gant but still seam­lessly blend into the land­scape. The new Tiguan is no dif­fer­ent, although sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter-look­ing than its pre­de­ces­sor and not as in­con­spic­u­ous.

The first thing you no­tice is how the CUV has grown in over­all pro­por­tions. Built on the brand’s new MQB plat­form, the Tiguan mea­sures 4,486mm in length, and 1,839mm in width, which makes it a good 60mm longer and 30mm wider than the first-gen model. The wheel­base has also been ex­tended by 77mm to 2,681mm. Add to these the re­duc­tion in height, stand­ing at 1,646mm now, and the Tiguan has a much more pur­pose­ful and dy­namic stance than be­fore. The re­designed ra­di­a­tor grille, the LED pro­jec­tion head­lights, sharply creased char­ac­ter lines, a higher waist­line and the at­ten­tion-grab­bing LED tail lights add to the cross­over’s good looks.

The thor­ough re­vamp has been car­ried over to the in­te­rior as well, with the driver-ori­ented cock­pit look­ing dis­tinctly mod­ern and un­mis­tak­ably Volk­swa­gen in lay­out and build qual­ity. Most of the ar­eas in the cabin you’d come in con­tact with are made of soft-touch plas­tics, with hard ma­te­ri­als hid­den away in lower por­tions. But­tons and knobs are er­gonom­i­cally placed, with the new 4Mo­tion Ac­tive Con­trol ro­tary switch po­si­tioned right be­hind the gear shifter within easy reach of the

driver. Thanks to the longer wheel­base, the cabin is con­sid­er­ably more spa­cious than be­fore, be­ing 26mm longer over­all, with 29mm more knee room for rear pas­sen­gers.

And re­mark­ably, de­spite the lower over­all height, and the raised seat height, there’s am­ple head­room in the front and back. And the rear bench can be slid fore and aft by up to 180mm, leav­ing an im­pres­sive 615 litres of boot space be­hind it, which can be ex­panded to a gen­er­ous 1,655 litres if the rear seats are folded away.

All these com­bine to make the Tiguan one of the most prac­ti­cal crossovers in its class, and I’d have had no hes­i­ta­tion in declar­ing it the best fam­ily cross­over around ei­ther – but the over­all sense of re­fine­ment in the cabin isn’t up to what I had ex­pected in a thor­oughly up­dated Volk­swa­gen. Maybe it’s the 20in Suzuka wheels that our top-of-the-line Sport R-Line ver­sion rides on, but the Tiguan doesn’t match the level of smooth­ness and so­phis­ti­ca­tion in ride qual­ity that ri­vals like the new Ford Edge of­fer.

While this takes away a bit of sheen from its ap­peal as a fam­ily hauler, it is re­mark­ably bet­ter to drive than most of its com­peti­tors. The op­ti­mised body struc­ture, re­duced weight and tor­sional rigid­ity of 28,000Nm/de­gree for the model with­out a panoramic roof and 25,000Nm/de­gree for the model with the panoramic roof, mean the Tiguan dis­plays very good body con­trol and con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing dy­nam­ics. The steer­ing is di­rect and re­spon­sive and feels pre­cisely weighted in Nor­mal mode, firm­ing up con­sid­er­ably in Sport. Our tester comes pow­ered by a 220bhp ver­sion of the 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine, mated to a seven-speed DGS trans­mis­sion. Although it can sound a bit raspy on ac­cel­er­a­tion, it pro­vides quick, ef­fort­less progress with sharp gear changes and set­tles down to smooth and even high­way speeds.

In ad­di­tion to stan­dard fea­tures, the R-Line trim adds brushed stain­less steel ped­als, leather-wrapped mul­ti­func­tion three-spoke steer­ing wheel with an ‘R’ logo, shift pad­dles, R-spe­cific bumper and sill ex­ten­sion, 20in Suzuka al­loys, black head­liner and

The Tiguan has a more pur­pose­ful and DY­NAMIC stance than be­fore. The re­designed ra­di­a­tor grille, LED pro­jec­tion head­lights, a higher waist­line and at­ten­tion-grab­bing LED tail lights add to its good looks

front scuff plates in alu­minium, with ‘R-Line’ logo among oth­ers.

The 4Mo­tion all-wheel drive sys­tem comes with Snow, On­road, Offroad and Offroad In­di­vid­ual modes, which com­bined with a tow­ing ca­pac­ity of up to 2,500kg, lend the Tiguan some im­pres­sive off-road cre­den­tials, but given the ground clear­ance, it’s bet­ter to keep those es­capades not too far away from civil­i­sa­tion.

Over­all, the new Tiguan rep­re­sents a sub­stan­tial up­grade over the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, and priced be­tween Dh89,957 and Dh132,337 across five trims, it of­fers good value too, es­pe­cially if you’re look­ing for a Ger­man cross­over be­low Dh150K.

The driver-ori­ented cock­pit looks dis­tinctly mod­ern and un­mis­tak­ably Volk­swa­gen in lay­out and build qual­ity

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