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Volkswagen Tiguan Review

Words : Vibin P Vijay        Images : Stenny Joseph

Indians generally like SUVs but in recent times this trend is on a huge upward rise which is why see sedan segments sales going down wards. Everything from a jacked up crossover to full size SUVs all the different models are accepted in our market. Volkswagen was one of the few manufactures which didn’t follow this trend. But now they are also joining the party with all new second generation Tiguan. Volkswagen introduced first generation Tiguan in 2007 but that model didn’t come to India. We got the second generation Tiguan which is the flagship Volkswagen in India now. Lets find out whats new in Tiguan.

Exterior

Like all Volkswagen design, Tiguan’s design is understated not flashy or adorable like some other manufactuers which we love in first sight. But give some time and the design will grow on you which we all know from Polo design. The LED headlamps with cornering lamps  and two slat Volkswagen traditional grill gives a luxury feels for the Tiguan. The air-intake extends to the fog lamps on either side which gives the look of a wider stance than actually it is. The side profile is clean with shoulder line starting from front wheel arch and merges with tail light. The glass area get a chrome lining to get a premium look. The rear is again classy like the front with LED tail light. Even though Tiguan is a big SUV it doesn’t have the road presence like its competitors. The Tiguan is more like a soft roader in looks.

Interior

The premium feel starts when you open the door as you are greeted with puddle lamps and the moment you sit inside the cabin we will get a solid feeling of German built quality. Volkswagen has given three spoke flat bottom steering wheel for Tiguan which feels sporty to hold and offers good feedback which I will explain during driving. The instrument cluster is easy to read and the multi-information display in the cluster gives lots of information for the driver about the Tiguan.The centre console is dominated by  8 inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  The system is good with excellent touch sensivity and you will feel like using your mobile phone. The screen is also high definition so the graphics is easily visible and Volkswagen has given short cut buttons which are placed on either side for easy accessibility. But Volkswagen hasn’t given navigation system on Tiguan but still you can access maps via Android Auto.  Volkswagen doesn’t say much about the music system but the unit is really good and speakers are excellent. The Tiguan also get ambient lights also to further lift the premium feel inside cabin.

The climate controls are placed below infotainment screen and Tiguan get three zone system which cools the cabin quickly.  Volkswagen has given all black interior for Tiguan but the huge glass area and panoramic sunroof helps the cabin to feel airy. The seats offers excellent support and the driver seat get electric assist and memory function while rear seats can be reclined for more comfort. Even though we have covered lots of distance we still feel fresh thanks to the seats. There is also lots of knee and headroom for all passengers, space is abadent in Tiguan. The Tiguan get 615 liters of boot space which is more than enough and it can be further extended by folding the rear seats in 40:20:40. Overall, the Tiguan cabin is an excellent to spent time in.

Engine and Performance

Volkswagen Tiguan is powered by new 2.0 L TDI engine producing 143 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 340 NM of torque between  1725 RPM – 2750 RPM. This engine is mated to 7 speed DSG gearbox. The power is sent to all four wheels via Haldex all wheel drive system. The Tigaun get three driving modes – ECO, Normal and Power. The ECO mode is very dull and it is for extracting maxing efficiency from the engine. In Sport mode, Tiguan feels more punchy and eager to rev but Normal is the best one as it gives good performance without loosing much efficiency. Even though in paper engine looks underpowered in real life driving conditions it is more than enough. The power is served on a linear manner and the gearbox is matched very well to this engine. Volkswagen also given the option of shifting manual with paddle shifters. So quick overtakes can be done with a down shift on paddle which is always gives you the feeling of a sports car feel even if you are driving a SUV. The DSG gearbox initially feels notchy as engine RPM rises without upshifting all. But after sometime it all changes  as the gearbox adapts your driving feel and everything feels more refined. Then efficiency will also rise up as both engine and gearbox combo got the rhythm of your driving style.  Even though this engine is refined sometime it can be vocal inside the cabin especially at high RPMs. According to ARAI, Tiguan returns 17.06 Kmpl. We know that these figures are far from real. During our drive we got around 10 kmpl while in highway we got more than 15 kmpl.  Overall, 13 kmpl is a good for a big SUV.

Ride and Handling

Volkswagen has given stiff suspension set up for Tiguan. But the fine tuning made for Indian roads are perfect.  The Tiguan can easily absorb bumps and small poth holes is not a problem as it is not felt inside the cabin and if you are gentle on big poth holes then the passengers wont feel anything . The suspension works silent and you won’t feel much inside the cabin. You can drive Tiguan like a sedan but as far as SUVs are considered this is brilliant. The hankook tyre offer good grip around corners and gives confidence to the driver plus all wheel  drive system provide sufficient grip. The steering wheel is light when you are city speeds and once you pickup the momentum the weight increases.  Even though Volkswagen has given all wheel drive system for Tiguan it is best not to take it off-road. One big problem is that ground clearance is only 149 mm which is too low for a SUV and you could easily scrap the floor or damage some parts which can result in an expensive service bill. The Tiguan get four off-road modes – Snow, Normal, off-road and off-road individual. In each mode (we couldn’t try snow mode though but we would love to try it in future hopefully J) the throttle feels different to minimize wheel spin for traction. We have done some mild off-roading and the haldex system is excellent for serving power to wheels which has more traction. The tyres are also decent for off-roading even though they are on-road tyres.  To increase efficiency, power is sent to front wheels only but when the system detects slip the power is sent to all four wheels.

Safety

Volkswagen Tiguan is based on MQB platform and this platform is known for its excellent safety record.  The Tiguan is manufactured from high strength materials for extra rigidity. Volkswagen loaded Tiguan with safety features like 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, ASR, Hill Decent Control, Self Sealing Tyres and ESC. One clever feature of Tiguan is active bonnet in which sensors placed on the front detect collision with pedestrian. Before collision, the hood is raised by 3 inches to prevent damage for the car and pedestrian. The Tiguan also received  star rating from EURO NCAP.

Verdict

Volkswagen Tiguan offers excellent ride quality good performance and understated look. But Tiguan also lack some features and road presence which is important for most buyers. But Volkswagen priced the Tiguan very well and under cut competition. If you are looking for a German SUV with comfort and driving top priority then Tiguan is the best model you can buy in its segment.

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