We test drive Volkswagen’s new Tiguan

2016-11-30 06:00
New Volkswagen Tiguan                                              Photo: SUPPLIED

New Volkswagen Tiguan Photo: SUPPLIED

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VOLKSWAGEN’s new Tiguan was recently announced as one of the 10 finalists in the prestige South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ)’s WesBank South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition.

Express on Wheels spent a week test driving the new Tiguan on the mom’s taxi (urban) commute.

The new Tiguan will initially only be available in 1.4 litre guise in SA. This is in line with people moving away from the traditional bulky, fuel-thirsty 4x4s of the past, to sporty, multipurpose family and cargo carriers which look like an SUV and offer the practicality and convenience of an SUV, but are used 90% of the time by mom or dad in town – so it needs to be fuel efficient and drive like a car. And those are the boxes that the Tiguan ticks.

The test vehicle, the mid-range Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSi Comfortline (which retails at R419 000), was fitted with quite a number of optional extras such as a panoramic sunroof, electrically released towbar, auto actuated boot lid, active info display, adaptive cruise control, Vienna leather seats, R-line exterior package, LED headlights and 6.5-inch CD/Radio composition media, to name a few.

At present only 1.4 TSI engines with 92kW and 110kW are available in SA. The 92kW is available with 6-speed manual transmission and the 110kW is mated with a 6-speed DSG transmission.

The 2.0 TDI engines with power output of 81kW, 105kW and 130kW will be introduced in the last quarter of 2016, together with 2.0 TSI with 162kW. These high powered engines will be fitted with the 4MOTION drive system.

The Tiguan is available in three equipment levels: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline.


VW says that their design team applied a simple ethos: less is more. And in my opinion, the exterior look is one of the most impressive features of the new Tiguan. It’s not over the top; it will not date quickly; yet it stands out and definitely makes heads turn.

It has squarish lines but curves in all the right places. The test vehicle was fitted with the R-Line package which added some more accents to make it stand out even more.


While the concept of less is more is definitely pulled through to the interior design, there are some quite impressive elements that make travelling in the Tiguan a fun event for the whole family.

The back seat passengers cannot be blamed for thinking they are in an aeroplane seat. They not only have access to trays – that fold down from the back of the front seats, but also their own air-conditioners which they can set according to their preferences, a centre armrest with cupholders, magazine pockets and reading lights.

Talking about lights, when you climb into the Tiguan at night, you will be pleasantly surprised by the ambient light which runs, like the running lights in an aeroplane, along the top and bottom of the side panels.

The boot is nicely spacious with storage spaces for smaller items. The adjustable 40:20:40 split bench rear seat can slide forwards or backwards by up to 18 cms, thereby giving one the choice of either more legroom or boot space.

An optional extra, which the test model was fitted with, was an auto-actuated bootlid, meaning the boot opens and closes automatically when you press a button. There is also a button right next to the electrically adjustable driver’s seat, to open the boot without leaving your seat (quite handy for the school run) as Mom doesn’t have to get out to open a heavy boot lid or help the kids to close it again.

As far as “toys” for the driver are concerned, the most eye-catching is the digital display for the speed and odometer right in front of the driver. A beautiful graphic of the car pops up when switching on the car.

The digital display can be adapted to rather show the satellite navigation with smaller displays of the speed- and odometer.

The Tiguan has a voiceferous park assist – which even dims the music substantially to make sure it is being heard when needed.

It is also very quick to complain (or alert you) when you are driving too fast behind a car that is stopping in front of you.

The Tiguan also has an electronic handbrake and auto lights which switches on when the circumstances require it.

The new Tiguan offers the latest generation of infotainment systems, based on the brand’s Modular Infotainment Platform (MIB).

The 6.5 inch touchscreen of the test vehicle reminds one of working with a cellphone – with lots of swipe action to make your choice on the menu – and very easy to operate.


The ride feels very much like that of other VW models – just with a higher seating position. That could be since the Tiguan is the first Volkswagen SUV to be built on the MQB, or Modularer Querbaukasten (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform. This means it benefits from the latest available technology and shares much of its underpinnings with other new models such as the award-winning Golf and Passat.

For a 1.4 engine, which delivers 98kW, to propel quite a big vehicle, the Tiguan is surprisingly not as sluggish as one would expect. It responds quickly to acceleration, and offers a smooth ride. It idles very quietly – in fact – so quietly that while waiting at traffic lights I often wondered if the engine was still running or not.

I enjoyed the smooth ride, precise handling and unflustered way it dealt with the urban obstacles of not only speedhumps and traffic circles, but also the uneven patches along my route due to the many roadworks going on in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro at the moment.

During my time with it on the urban commute, the trip computer showed an average fuel consumption of 11 litres per 100km. The trip computer also indicated that the fuel consumption over an extended period is 8.8 litres/100km, while VW states it as 6.1 litres /100km for the combined cycle.

The test model was fitted with a 6-speed gearbox – and though it’s smooth and easy to change, I would have preferred an automatic version.

Standard and Safety features

The new Tiguan received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP which was aggregated from the new Tiguan’s results in four sub-sections: occupant protection for adults and children, pedestrian protection and driver assistance systems. It offers driver and front passenger airbags, an airbag curtain system and front seat side impact airbags. Hazard lights flash automatically under hard braking, while Electronic Stability Control, XDS transverse differential lock and fatigue detection (Rest Assist) are all standard.

Manual air conditioning, electric front and rear windows, cruise control, front fog lights, leather multi-function steering wheel, connectivity package (Bluetooth and USB interface) and roof rails are among the many standard-fit features on all models in the range.

All TSI engines feature BlueMotion Technology. As such they include Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems to enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions.

New Tiguan Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)

1.4 TSI 92kW Trendline Manual R378 000

1.4 TSI 92kW Comfortline Manual R419 000

1.4 TSI 110kW Comfortline DSG R457 680

The new Tiguan can be customised with a number of optional convenience features.

It comes standard with a 5-year/90 000km Service Plan, 3-year/120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.

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