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.