Car Reviews Reviews

Volkswagen Tiguan: Test Drive Review

Parichay Malvankar
Written by Parichay Malvankar

Volkswagen’s previous attempt at the SUV segment with the Touareg wasn’t very fruitful. It’s taken quite some time since the Touareg was discontinued for the German brand to come up with a better answer for our SUV hungry market, but finally, we have it. Meet Tiguan, an SUV positioned much more sensibly than the Touareg. Slotting in a segment where it rivals the likes of Ford Endeavour & Toyota Fortuner; the Tiguan does distinguish itself by being a more easy on parking space kid of SUV. With prices starting from INR 27.98 lakh, does this SUV have what it takes to find buyers? Let’s find out.

The Tiguan is the only SUV in the brands portfolio. No compact-SUV or any larger 7-seater biggie either. So what would you compare it to? Pricing suggests it can rival the Fortuner or the Endeavour; but the space inside is more in line with the Jeep Compass or even the Hyundai Tucson. But since the Tiguan is an SUV, or rather positioned as one, it gets all-wheel drive as standard. But it does feel like a premium product inside out. And in terms of dimensions, some comparisons can also be made with the likes of a BMW X1.

Exteriors:
Just like every other Volkswagen, the Tiguan also continues with bold straight crease lines all through. And there’s plenty of them to appeal to the target audience. In terms of size though, the Tiguan is a little humble. Park it next to other segment rivals, and the Tiguan would feel more car like, or rather a crossover; but not a full size SUV. It’s more to do with the overall stance which makes the Tiguan feel grounded. But that’s not a bad thing at all, especially when it helps the dynamics.

The Tiguan comes loaded with features you can boast around when talking about your car. LED headlamps with LED DRL, LED tail lamps, panoramic sunroof which gets a very soothing LED surround, LEDs on the door trim, roof rails, snazzy alloy wheels, illuminated scuff plates, body cladding, rear spoiler, shark fin antenna, a very bold & likeable front grille and ample chrome accents all around. All of this does justify the asking price, and also, makes the Tiguan stand as a premium purchase.

One can buy the Tiguan with an option of 5 colour options.

The styling department has nothing much to keep harping about. It’s minimalistic, and in that way, at its likeable best. The Tiguan has a design, which just like other German cars would age rather well.

Interiors:
Top notch build quality is what you instantly feel once you step inside the Tiguan. The all-black interior trim with contrast stitching does feel sporty. Thanks to the panoramic roof though, even with the black interiors, the Tiguan does not feel claustrophobic at all with ample light coming in. Just like the outside, the interiors of the Tiguan also sport sharp angular design elements. Fit and finish is typical of Germans and will make your cabin experience enriching.

Flat bottom steering wheel with audio controls, twin pot instrument console with MID, fantastic sounding 8-speakers with a touchscreen infotainment system, supportive seats with electric adjustment, cruise control, button start, soft touch plastics, auto open for the tail gate, 3-zone climate control, heated front seats and leather upholstery does give you that luxury feel inside the cabin. The subtle ambient light looks very classy, but there’s no colour options here.

The Tiguan is not a BIG SUV, so it is clearly a 5-seater at best. There’s no 7-seat layout even as an option. But there’s enough room for 5. After driving around half distance during our journey, I could comfortably catch up on some sleep after handing over the wheel to my colleague. The driving position allows you to get a high up view typical of SUVs as well as a car like viewing angle with the seat adjusted to the lowest. Even at the back, the occupants in the Tiguan remain happy. There’s no shortage of legroom or headroom. The problem in the second row is the XL sized transmission hump, which will unsettle the 5th occupant, especially if it is a full sized adult.

Space for luggage? Ample! 615 litres and a 60:40 split rear seat ensures you won’t have to make multiple rounds to move around your bags.

Engine, performance & handling:
The Tiguan comes to India with a single engine option. You can own this SUV powered by a 2.0L, TDI, turbocharged, 4-cylinded diesel motor producing 143 PS of power @ 4,000 RPM and 340 Nm of torque between 1,750 – 2,750 RPM matched to a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Now, Volkswagen claims that this motor will deliver a mileage of 17.06 kmpl.

Both variants of the Tiguan, the Comfortline & Highline come with an ECO mode, electric park brake, auto hold, paddle shifts, speed sensitive steering and a drive mode selector for the AWD system. The AWD system from Haldex remains engaged full-time and delivers torque to the front or rear wheels as and when the need arises. But most times, the Tiguan works as a FWD.

Now, the power & torque figures feel a tad low when compared to segment standards, and also for the price you are paying. But work the motor and you’ll me satisfied. The Tiguan weighs 1.7 tonne, and although heavy, is lighter than competition. Also, the monocoque chassis makes it dynamically far more richer, and car like. Driving the Tiguan in the city or out on the highway is completely effortless. While it can surely be your car for weekend drives, it will also please you in city traffic with its practicality. NVH levels on the Tiguan are best-in-class, but you would feel some wind noise creeping in at speeds above 100 kmph. The automatic gearbox is smooth functioning and is eager to shift to higher gears keeping things at its efficient best.

Best way to have fun in the Tiguan is by engaging the obvious sport mode. While the engine is the responsive best in this mode, the steering is also weighed up just to our taste and enhances the driving experience. The Tiguan sprints above 100 kmph with ease, and that’s no surprise. But even on high speeds, above 150 kmph as well the Tiguan stays planted. There’s very little body roll, not that most would notice either. Unlike other German cars where you complaint that the ride quality is stiff, the Tiguan begs to differ with a compliant suspension setup. I caught a quick nap on day 2 with the Tiguan and I couldn’t have asked for a more comfortable back seat. No thuds felt, bumps were soaked up very well.

Verdict:

Throughout our journey, we were very pleased with the Tiguan. In a segment where people are just buying more real estate on four wheels with 4×4, the Tiguan is one product which is even fun to drive. Of course, the Ford Endeavour does handle well, but look at the Toyota Fortuner; it’s just all over the place when you push it. So if you’re out looking for an SUV in which you will be behind the wheel, the Tiguan surely deserves a test drive. It comes with all the bells and whistles and for those who hate stepping out of the car, the Tiguan also comes with self-sealing tyres which will not ask you to change to the space-saver spare wheel.

The Tiguan doesn’t look all that butch, and looks smaller, more car-like, and even doesn’t have the luxury car badge to justify itself; but Volkswagen seems to be confident with the package that it has to offer. Well, it does what it is supposed to do decently – drive!

About the author

Parichay Malvankar

Parichay Malvankar

Founder, owner and editor-in-chief of www.Shifting-Gears.com; a born gearhead, nothing apart from a set of wheels gets his pulse racing.