Lift­ing the SUV bar

NICK DAL­TON

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - COVER STORY - RE­VIEW VE­HI­CLE COURTESY OF WESTCO VOLKSWAGEN, CAIRNS.

TOP tech­nol­ogy, ef­fi­cient and punchy en­gines, great driv­ing dy­nam­ics and, most im­por­tantly, a spa­cious cabin has trans­formed the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion.

But it comes at a price. It’s not cheap, how­ever, Volkswagen is pitch­ing the Tiguan as an al­ter­na­tive to Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, as well as an up­mar­ket ri­val to Mazda’s CX-5, Kia Sportage and oth­ers.

En­try to the Tiguan in front wheel drive form is $36,990 on the road for the man­ual or $3K more for the au­to­matic. The im­pres­sive R-Line top of the range tur­bod­iesel all-wheel drive wagon, packed with bells and whis­tles, is $62,690 on the road.

The new Tiguan has been a long time com­ing and deal­ers are breath­ing a sigh of re­lief as it can now fairly com­pete with more mod­ern ri­vals.

Volkswagen is hop­ing big­ger proves bet­ter for the 2017 Tiguan as well as more com­pre­hen­sive safety features and in-car tech­nol­ogy, along with a wider range of en­gines.

Out­side the Volkswagen’s growth is no­tice­able and it’s hand­some with mus­cu­lar body creases and a wide road stance.

There’s plenty of gear with an Ap­ple CarPlay/An­droid Auto-equipped eight-inch mul­ti­me­dia screen, au­to­matic head­lights and wipers, cruise con­trol, LED tail-lights, three­zone cli­mate con­trol, satel­lite­nav­i­ga­tion, leather, key­less en­try, start-stop but­ton, power­op­er­ated boot lid, pow­er­ad­justable front seat and dy­namic LED head­lights.

The re­view car also had the $4000 R-Line pack­age of 20in al­loys, adap­tive dampers and pro­gres­sive steer­ing and the $2000 Driver As­sis­tance Pack­age, which in­cludes adap­tive cruise, side as­sist (in­clud­ing a blind spot mon­i­tor), power-fold­ing mir­rors and a vir­tual dash dis­play which en­com­passes sat-nav be­tween the speedo and rev counter.

The tur­bod­iesel en­gine (140kW/400Nm) is an ad­e­quate per­former. If you want more oomph opt for the 162kW petrol turbo en­gine from the Golf GTI which comes next year.

The en­gine is re­fined, al­though there is some turbo lag from start­ing off.

The sus­pen­sion ab­sorbs all but the harsh­est of bumps and there’s a real quiet­ness to the cabin. Only coarse bi­tu­men per­vades the in­te­rior and the 20in al­loys can cre­ate a jig­gly ride around town on less than per­fect sur­faces. The new

Tiguan cruises qui­etly on the open road and han­dles well on our range roads.

Fuel con­sump­tion was ex­cel­lent. I achieved 6.2L/100km at the end of my run which took in Ku­randa, Ma­reeba, Ather­ton, Ma­landa, Mil­laa Mil­laa, In­n­is­fail and back to Cairns. VW sug­gests 5.9.

The Tiguan is Volkswagen’s best ef­fort in the SUV mar­ket. It is com­fort­able, well-equipped and en­gag­ing to drive.

The only stum­bling block are higher prices than its main­stream com­pe­ti­tion.

The Tiguan cre­ates a nice sweet spot in the busy SUV mar­ket.

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