OPINION | Could the Tiguan 2.0 4Motion R-Line be VW's best and most complete car?

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• The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan has been launched in South Africa.

• We drive the top-model, the Tiguan 2.0 4Matic R-Line.

• The model retails for R710 000.

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Volkswagen South Africa may have just - perhaps inadvertently - launched the most complete vehicle in the country. Now, this is a mighty bold claim to make, but the newest Tiguan continues a successful trend that started in 2007. Back then, when the SUV made its first appearance in South Africa in 2008, it won customers over with its practicality and solid engine line-up. 14 years later, the trend continues.

The 2021 Tiguan is available in a variety of flavours, all powered by a choice of two petrol engines (a diesel option will arrive later this year). Our test model, the 2.0 TSI R-Line, is the top model in the range, coming in at a heady R710 000. Though dear, the SUV is competitively priced and packed to the brim with features and tech to warrant it as the headliner in the range.

Following a few days driving Volkswagen's popular Tiguan around Cape Town, it became clear that the new Tiguan is not just comprehensively overhauled, but a much-improved on-road performer.

Volkswagen Tiguan
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

Spacious cabin

The 2021 Tiguan has a more compact look when viewed from the outside. First impressions may prompt one to imagine the SUV as a compact offering, but the interior does not suggest it. Five occupants can comfortably seat themselves inside the Tiguan, with 520L of boot space ensuring that everyone can bring their luggage along.

In creating this space, the Tiguan boasts a length of 4 509mm, a width of 1 839mm, and a height of 1 635mm.

Together with a spacious cabin, the new Tiguan boasts several technological bits. From cruise control to a rear-view camera with front and rear park distance control, the Tiguan offers it all. Add to it an interior feel that's vastly improved, and you soon realise that the premium brush didn't stay in its package. The overall feel is upmarket, and materials feel solid to the touch.

However, while the automaker opted for a soft-touch approach on the steering wheel controls, the operation requires a delicate touch. Accidental contact can see drivers increase or decrease the volume, while intentional volume adjustment often requires an additional tap. The controls for the climate are also digital, and a simple wipe over the temperature gauge will adjust the climate.

Volkswagen Tiguan
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

Engine and drive

The same turbo petrol powers the Tiguan 2.0 R-Line as you'd find in the Golf GTI. Only here has it been detuned to 162kW and 350Nm. However, the engine is linked to VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The result is an SUV that can clear 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds (6.4sec in the Golf 8 GTI) and run a 225km/h top speed (250km/h in the Golf GTI).

However, this is not what the Tiguan 2.0 R-Line is about. While performance is important, passenger comfort and good on-road dynamics are the Tiguan's strongest suites. The heated leather seats provide ample comfort and support a good driving position.

Drivers can toggle between the various driving modes, with each mode bringing one of the SUV's different characteristics to the fore. Our time behind the Tiguan's steering wheel saw us navigate various driving conditions in Eco mode, despite the punchier Sport being just a tap away. Eco offers a more relaxed driving experience, but can adjust to a sportier trait for brief moments when an overtake must be executed.

Volkswagen Tiguan
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

In summary

It's no secret that the global market has put its weight behind SUVs and crossovers. Even in South Africa, the trend has picked up at a tremendous pace. Volkswagen South Africa realised this long ago, with the automaker now offering various vehicles making up its T-SUV family. The Tiguan is one of Volkswagen's oldest SUV models, yet it remains an integral and important one.

The current Tiguan came to market in 2016, and this facelifted model comes with a host of updates to stake its claim as one of VW's top vehicles. Dearer price aside, it might just be the most complete vehicle to come from Volkswagen in recent memory.

With plenty of comfort for five passengers and a drivetrain - with good driving dynamics - to write home about, the 2021 Tiguan 2.0 4Motion R-Line might be the pick of the Volkswagen litter.

Volkswagen Tiguan
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
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