Little Big Car: VW Tiguan
Volkswagen’s Tiguan is a classy compromise between SUV and station wagon, says Ron Hughes.
The title of this review is probably misleading because the Tiguan is not that little. It’s just compact compared to some of the monstrous four wheel drives on our nation’s roads.
There’s certainly no sense of being in a compact vehicle once you slip into the cabin. Roomy and comfortable with body-hugging seats and plenty of headroom, the cabin is airy and well set out. There’s also very good legroom for the passengers in the rear, something missing from a lot of modern cars.
The controls and dash are well set out and easy to fathom and the attention to detail and quality of the finish are impressive.
We test-drove the 132TSI 2.0 litre petrol version of the car, but it also comes in a beefier 155kw 2.0 litre petrol engine, as well as a smaller 1.4 litre petrol and diesel variants.
The 2.0 litre engine pulls along very nicely and matched with the six speed gearbox it certainly doesn’t lumber along; but it’s no race-car either, and nor would you expect it to be. The suspension and handling are very impressive, the steering direct, and there’s very little feel of body roll even on tight corners. It goes without saying the sixth forward gear is superfluous until you hit the open highway when you can burble along at 100kph while ticking over at just 2000rpm.
Volkswagen have also paid a lot of attention to fuel economy and reducing emissions. At 8.8 litres per 100 kms it’s very economical for a vehicle its size.
Boot space is also good for a compact SUV. At first glance the boot seems small, but you can actually fit about 10 loaded shopping bags in there. To increase capacity, both the rear seats and the passenger seat lay flat so you can use about three-quarters of the interior space to carry gear.
In terms of safety, there’s good visibility all round, plus ABS (anti-lock braking) brake assist, anti-slip regulation electronic differential lock electronic stabilisation programs and six airbags are all standard.
The MP3 capable sound system and blue tooth connectivity are standard in the Tiguan as well, and the sound is terrific. Indeed there is so little noise in the cabin you can hardly tell if the engine is running, until you squeeze the accelerator and get a throaty little growl from the twin exhausts. At least it sounds little from inside the car...
It’s hard to fault the Tiguan in terms of a compact SUV; suffice to say you don’t feel you’re driving the little sister to the Touareg, but the big sister to the Golf.
Engine: 2.0L TSI petrol
Power: 132 kW @ 4300 rpm
Torque: 280 Nm @ 1700rpm
Fuel consumption: 8.8/100kms (combined use)
Price: starts at $16,990 (plus on-road costs)