Volk­swa­gen Tiguan

The new, larger Tiguan is a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of what a man­u­fac­turer can do when it comes time to launch a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion. Smart, safe, stylish and su­perb to drive.


A true driver’s SUV, the new Tiguan TDI High­line 4Motion han­dles and rides like a dream on the road and proves its worth in deep sand.

Ev­ery now and then an SUV comes along that mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ists de­scribe as ‘car-like on the road’. This is be­cause many SUVS are not. Some of them suf­fer from sig­nif­i­cant body roll and han­dle like a jelly on jelly wheels. Not the new Tiguan. This thing is crisp, taut, sta­ble and is about as close as an SUV gets to feel­ing like it was built for a driver who likes to drive with pas­sion.

Set it up in Sport mode via the cen­tral touch screen and you’re in for a treat. The ac­cel­er­a­tor be­comes more re­spon­sive and the steer­ing even sharper, and I found my­self smil­ing stupidly as I hus­tled it through some tight cor­ners a bit too quickly. The steer­ing wheel stayed firm and solid no mat­ter what I did. I’m no race­car driver, but the Tiguan gave me the con­fi­dence to start push­ing the lim­its.

There’s plenty of power from the re­fined, re­spon­sive two-litre tur­bod­iesel, which puts out 110kw and 340Nm of torque. Kick down gear changes from the seven speed auto box are slick and ac­cel­er­a­tion at speed is ef­fort­less. This, cou­pled with su­perb fuel econ­omy of just 5.6l/100km, makes you re­alise just how clever th­ese mod­ern Euro­pean diesels are.

The Tiguan is en­gag­ing and dy­namic, and ev­ery­thing about it sug­gests the engi­neers had both high speed roads and wind­ing coun­try lanes in mind when they de­vel­oped it.

But they also had in mind those places we go when the road runs out. You can se­lect four dif­fer­ent driv­ing modes: Snow, Nor­mal, Off-road and Off-road In­di­vid­ual, the lat­ter sim­ply al­low­ing some

cus­tom set­tings to be al­tered as the driver sees fit. Off-road mode works re­ally well, op­ti­mis­ing the ve­hi­cle for the rougher stuff and switch­ing on Hill De­scent As­sist.

Per­ma­nent all-wheel drive is a real ad­van­tage when you own an SUV, with un­sealed roads, for starters, ne­go­ti­ated eas­ily and com­fort­ably. The Tiguan was very sta­ble and as­sured on loose gravel, although you do get more road vi­bra­tion by virtue of the stiffer, road-bi­ased sus­pen­sion.

When I came across a gravel road in very poor con­di­tion I was glad to have VW’S 4Motion ca­pa­bil­ity – you never know quite what you’re go­ing to en­counter on roads like this, or on wet tar­mac, for that mat­ter. Large pot­holes, heavy cor­ru­ga­tions and a washed out and bro­ken sec­tion were all over­come with min­i­mal fuss; this is part of what gives driv­ers of good SUVS the con­fi­dence to head out there and seek out­door re­cre­ation, from ski­ing to sur­f­cast­ing. If I’d been util­is­ing the Tiguan’s classlead­ing tow­ing ca­pac­ity to haul mo­tor­bikes or horses out here, which many peo­ple do, I would have been fine.

I thought it was a great idea to see how the Tiguan went on the black sands of Auck­land's Muri­wai Beach. I got the req­ui­site per­mit and headed out there, know­ing that 2WD cars (and some 4WDS) can find the go­ing pretty tough in this en­vi­ron­ment. The Tiguan seemed to rel­ish the op­por­tu­nity, though. Off-road mode keeps the revs higher, which is per­fect for sand, and I cruised my way along the straight ac­cess road and down to­ward the break­ers.

The Tiguan found grip across all four wheels pretty much in­stantly when­ever trac­tion was mar­ginal, and even pulling away when parked in the deep stuff the VW kept me from hav­ing to get the shovel out. Be aware, though, that if you turn the ve­hi­cle off it will re­vert back to Nor­mal driv­ing mode when you turn it back on again. When this hap­pened to me and the Tiguan seemed to be strug­gling more than be­fore, I re­alised, by

❝I found my­self smil­ing stupidly as I hus­tled it through some tight cor­ners a bit too quickly.❞

com­par­i­son, just how well it’s en­gi­neered for any off-high­way ex­cur­sions.

Re­gard­less of the ter­rain, you and your friends or fam­ily will be com­fort­able in the new Tiguan. It’s con­sid­er­ably larger and more spa­cious than the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, and the in­te­rior is smart, stylish and mod­ern. Plus it’s loaded with fea­tures and rep­re­sents great value for money.

The leather seats through­out are lux­u­ri­ous and there’s plenty of legroom. It’s a great size for an ur­ban fam­ily – not too big and not too small. The lug­gage ca­pac­ity of the auto-open­ing boot is ex­cel­lent, yield­ing up to 1655 litres.

It’s also about as safe as it gets, with elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, fa­tigue de­tec­tion, Isofix and airbags ev­ery­where. I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with the or­ange warn­ing light on the in­side of the wing mir­rors that flashed when­ever there was some­one next to me. Per­fect for that mo­tor­way com­mute.

An­other cool thing is that the Tiguan can be per­son­alised for up to four driv­ers, their pref­er­ences stored in the ve­hi­cle’s mem­ory so it’s set up when you get in.

The tow­ing ca­pac­ity is su­perb: the Tiguan can eas­ily haul your av­er­age trailer­boat, with trailer sta­bil­i­sa­tion tech­nol­ogy mak­ing things safer. It can pull 2500kg, a tonne more than a Mazda6 sta­tion wagon and only 500kg less than a two-litre VW Amarok ute, and its AWD abil­i­ties will have you beach launch­ing with ease.

In my opin­ion, the key fea­ture of the Tiguan is the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, par­tic­u­larly on the road. I cruised off the thick sand, know­ing I’d eas­ily be able to get back onto the tar­mac for more spir­ited driv­ing in a great ex­am­ple of what the SUV mar­ket has to of­fer.

Spot­ted a nice lunch spot, couldn’t be both­ered walk­ing. Tiguan has se­lectable 4WD, avail­able on the move.

New Tiguan is con­sid­er­ably larger than pre­vi­ous model; spa­cious, stylish and com­fort­able.

Ev­ery­thing from Sat-nav, Blue­tooth, smart phone con­nec­tiv­ity, re­vers­ing cam­era, all leather – the spec list seems end­less. [Photo cour­tesy VW.]


Bro­ken sec­tion of rough, un­sealed road would have many cars turn­ing back. You never know what you’re go­ing to en­counter, so a 4WD SUV like this is a good in­vest­ment.

Thick sand was eaten up by the VW’S per­ma­nent 4WD sys­tem, find­ing trac­tion and us­ing strong torque to good ef­fect in tough con­di­tions.

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