After years of endless delays VW has finally introduced the Tiguan SUV. It’s a posh upmarket compact SUV that will take on the like of BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and even its own sister companies, Audi Q3. While the Tiguan manages to look posh and upmarket and comes loaded with all the bells and whistles is it worthy of its keen sticker price? That’s what we will answer her.
The Tiguan has a big and boxy shape on the outside, which is typical of most SUVs. Dimensionally it is very similar to the Hyundai Tucson. VW have used the new MQB-platform that many new generation VW-Audi cars use internationally. This is a light weight but high strength platform that helps the company with good efficiency as well as rigidity.
The LED lamps in the headlamps as well as the neatly sculpted bumper add to the glamour quotient but that’s all. The side profile is neat but not exciting. The rear end of the car has lamps which looks like a mishmash of the Polo as well as the Passat. Not the most exciting. Overall VW have erred on the side of caution when designing this car. It does look smart but not striking.
VW makes one of the best cabins when it comes to sheer quality and it is no different on the Tiguan. Overall, fit and finish is top rate and the cabin feels premium. In fact quality is as good if not better than even an Audi Q3. The design is on the boring side though with the same boxy styling that you see on the outside of the car. The cabin is neatly laid out and easy to navigate through. Equipment levels are very high. You get a panoramic sunroof, hill descent assist, auto hold function, three-zone climate control, Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay among other things.
But it’s really the rear of the car that is a surprise. Knee-room and headroom are both available in acres and you also get picnic tables in the back- great for a long journey.
But that’s not all, you also get a big and roomy boot with plenty of space to load your big boxes. What’s more, the tailgate is electrically operated.
Engine, performance and gearbox
There is only one engine option to choose from. You get a 2-litre diesel. It pumps out around 140bhp of power which is transferred via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.
Performance from the engine is more than adequate. Progress is brisk once past the 1,800rpm mark and power delivery is strong till around 4,200rpm. If it’s acceleration you want then this engine is very good. Refinement levels are phenomenal as well. At cruising speeds of around 100kph the engine is spinning at a low 1,500-1,600 rpm in top gear making the cabin a calm place to be in. Tyre and wind noises are also kept well under control at this speed.
The seven speed automatic gearbox is quick witted too, it shifts up and down sharply and without any hesitation. There is absolutely no lag when using it in manual mode as well. This is one of the best gearboxes on sale in India, irrespective of segments.
Ride and handling
There is a slightly stiff edge to the suspension set up but that doesn’t mean that the car feels uncomfortable. At slow city speeds the Tiguan will gobble up bumps with ease. Highway speeds also offer confidence to the driver. It’s only the very sharp crevices which will jolt the occupants inside. Another highlight of the suspension is that it goes about its job without making any noises or unruly ‘thuds’ unlike some rivals.
The steering is soft to use but tends to add up weight once you go on the highway. It’s an enjoyable car to drive around the hilly section as well with loads of communication and feel from the steering. Body roll is always under check and the tyres offer great levels of grip as well.
The Tiguan’s long list of features, comfortable cabin, creamy diesel engine and sorted ride make it a strong package. Yes, it is on the expensive side but then again, all good things come at a price. And the Tiguan is certainly one of the better SUVs out there. So stop being a badge snob and go ahead and check it out at a dealer near you.
Photography: Mohd. Nasir