VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN: EXTENDED DRIVE

Volkswagen has had a sales hit with the Tiguan ever since the second-generation was launched in 2016. In fact, it should have won the Car of the Year competition in 2017. Yes, it was that good. Fast-forward to 2021 when Volkswagen launched its facelift update and we are still impressed. Look, times have move on along and competitors are not as bad as they may have been. So it is tough out there for everyone, especially one with such a pedigreed history. The updated Tiguan then had to be really good. And it is.

Americans have a saying that goes something to the effect that “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it”. It applies to the Tiguan. I had the opportunity of an extended drive with the 1.4 TSI R-Line model, lasting about a month over the December period last year. It gave me a good chance to assess the car over time, with no deadline pressures. I was able to cover over 2 000km of urban, suburban, city, freeway and gravel roads.

Briefly the new Tiguan is very much based on the 2016 model, except some updates to keep it attractive to newer buyers. One of these is a new front end, featuring a similar split grille to the Touareg, new headlights with LED tech, chrome-feel blades and R badging. Redesigned rear LED lights, bumper and exhaust tailpipes ensure that it stands out. While regular bystanders might not see differences, owners of the older cars would glance, or even stop to look at it as I drove by or stopped nearby.

This being a media test car, it had options fitted. They included items like the popular panoramic sunroof, a Harman Kardon sound system, Park Distance control, a 360-degree view camera system and Wireless App Connect among others. All are pretty useful for what they aim to do, especially the safety-wired ones like Lane Keep Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control which came in pretty handy on the N1, N3 and N4 freeways I frequented over December.

Driving long distances with these two switched on is a breeze. Of course shopping is a daily activity over that period, and so I found myself parking at different mall lots. The safe parking systems kicked in, made life easier for both myself and surrounding vehicles. Not so much for the “car guards” though.

I have three children, add to that their friends and cousins, the Tiguan did get quite a hammering over the month. Luckily cleaning it is easy, surfaces are easy to wipe, carpets removable, stains washable. The leather seats are also simple to maintain. The children were impressed by the rear-seat comfort, and were able to charge their devices through the 12V rear port and optional extra wireless charging mat up front. Another two c-type USB ports are found at the front end.

The 1.4 TSI has a turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet. It produces 110kW of power, and 250Nm of torque, drives the front wheels through a 6-speed DSG transmission. Expectedly in Gauteng is displayed some lag on take-off, but was noticeably improved along the oxygen-rich coastal areas. There is no shortage of pulling power, even with a luggage compartment full of travel bags or groceries. A proven powertrain.

While there is a tow bar fitted, all I pulled was a light trailer carrying some furniture. Average fuel consumption came to 7.9 litres per 100km from the 58 litre tank. Not bad at all, considering Volkswagen claims 7.7 litres per 100km.

Where the Tiguan still falls short is in interior touch materials, which remain hard when compared to some of the newer rivals in the market. Yes they are of high quality and solid as a rock, but they don’t have to feel that way. Another thing some social media followers remarked about was pricing. The Tiguan is not cheap – at R644 500 in standard form – and aforementioned rivals do undercut it in key trim levels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *