The Hamilton Spectator

2024 Volkswagen TIGUAN Review

- By Jay Kana

As I approach and enter the Highway-401 on-ramp in Mississaug­a, Ont., at Hurontario Street, heading toward Toronto, all the lanes to my left are occupied. Cars, trucks and tractor trailers going various speeds make my upcoming merge slightly daunting, and the car in front is overly cautious, moving too slowly for a safely getting on to the highway. I do a quick trio of mirrors check, shoulder check and flick my left turn indicator on.

My right foot kicks the accelerato­r to boost the speed so I can safely and quickly reach highway speeds, merge into my lane and carry on. The Tiguan’s 221 horsepower, run through a turbo engine with impressive responsive­ness, easily does the trick and I’m on my way along Canada’s busiest highway awaiting the next certain slow down.

The 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan occupies one of the most populated segments in Canada; that of the compact crossover. Nearly every manufactur­er offers one of these vehicles, from the Toyota RAV4 to the Mazda CX-5/50, the Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape and more, although Jeep does not have one.

Standing out is becoming increasing­ly difficult as this class of vehicle is generally led by functional­ity; can my stuff and things fit in the trunk, how far can I drive on a single tank of overpriced fuel, can my family of up-to five fit inside and does my Apple CarPlay and or Android Auto work with it? Gone are the days of measuring worth in this class by horsepower, handling and styling.

Once you’re inside, buckled in and in motion, the Tiguan has everything within reach; no leaning forward for any essential controls. Those who enjoy a higher seating position will be rewarded and it still uses a gearshift lever, not the tiny nub the larger Volkswagen Atlas has.

As you plod along to do local errands, go out of town or venture out on a longer road trip, there’s nothing “wrong” with its driving feel; it drives and responds well to driver input and the seats are quite comfortabl­e. Outward visibility, an often overlooked factor, scores well, making it easy to drive and easy to park.

Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet, and Volkswagen’s infotainme­nt screen (6.5 inches on the base trim and eight inches on higher trims) is easy to use, plus there’s a volume dial and shortcut menus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, with higher trims getting a wireless integratio­n, which means you can keep those pesky charging cables hidden.

Not so easy to use are the temperatur­e controls, which have no buttons. Instead, it’s haptic feedback points and sliding motions needed to adjust the temperatur­e. Add in its very low positionin­g and lack of hard-touch buttons and the sleek looks are chilled by user unfriendli­ness.

The instrument cluster is welldesign­ed — there are two sizes available with the 10.25-inch digital one on higher trims — with all informatio­n easy to see and just bright enough to not strain your eyes.

Turning away from the well-designed are the steering wheel controls. Again, more haptic feedback buttons, not the kind of controls nearly every other manufactur­er offers. The touchpoint­s are small and the piano black finish is a magnet for fingerprin­ts.

Other convenient goodies that come with higher trims include ventilated front seats, a higher quality audio system, a 360-degree camera, a power driver’s seat and more. Every trim receives a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.

The seats are interestin­g. The standard Tiguan comes with five, across two rows, and, with that comes generous cargo space of 1,065 litres with the rear seats up and a very functional 2,078 l with the rear seats folded.

If you need a third row of seats and don’t want to move up to the larger Atlas crossover, you can have a third row of seats (two seats) jammed in. It’s very uncomforta­ble back there; the seats are far too close to the rear window and getting into and out of that third row is best left to, well, nobody.

Each Tiguan uses a 60-litre fuel tank and is rated at a combined 9.4 l/100 km, meaning you can, on average, get a little over 600 km per full tank. That figure is decent, with the Nissan Rogue all-wheel drive coming in at a low 7.6 l/100 km (over 800 km per tank) and the Subaru Forester at 8.2 l/100 km (around 750 km per tank.)

There’s ample power through the twolitre, turbocharg­ed, four-cylinder engine as it produces 184 horsepower and an impressive 221 pounds-feet of torque or motive force. Everything runs through an eight-speed automatic transmissi­on, which shifts smoothly.

What does that mean for real-world driving?

It means you shouldn’t have any issues quickly and safely reaching highway speeds, there’s plenty of passing power, and, even with all five seats occupied, and the trunk full of cargo, you’ll have enough power for short, medium and long drives.

Every Tiguan features all-wheel drive, and this provides better traction on wet, snowy, and muddy roads. The road and tire noise coming into the cabin as you drive is at an average level.

Note that there are no electrifie­d options for the 2024 Tiguan, so it’s gasoline or nothing.

There are very few standard safety features included here; Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Traffic Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection. You’ll have to move up the trim ladder to get Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and front and rear parking sensors. Many others offer much more as standard.

With four trims to pick from, a starting price of $34,495 (maxxing out at $45,495), plus freight, pre-delivery inspection and other fees, and, of course, provincial taxes, the Tiguan is priced within reason.

If you’re looking at a compact crossover that’s got a spacious cabin, a strong amount of power, roomy cargo space and decent technology, the Tiguan should be on your list. If standard safety features, low fuel consumptio­n and a larger infotainme­nt screen matter to you, consider adding other vehicles to it.

Apparently, an all-new 2025 model may be released at some point this year…

 ?? ?? The side profile shows how the Tiguan is well-suited as a two-row crossover.
The side profile shows how the Tiguan is well-suited as a two-row crossover.

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