The Tiguan is the first Volkswagen car in India to be based on the much talked about MQB platform from the brand. It is certainly not as intimidating to look at in terms of dimensions, especially if you compare it to some bigger looking SUVs (Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner) it competes against. However when compared to the previous generation, this one is longer and wider which just makes it more imposing. From the front there are similarities to the brands luxury sedan the Passat. The headlamps with daytime running LEDs merge really well into the chrome grille and it looks like one big attractive unit. The lines from the bonnet also flow smoothly and merge into the grille. From the profile the matt cladding and the roof rails give the SUV the much needle muscle in the middle of all the sophistication. The rear too is likeable with the curved tail lamps and the spoiler that houses a brake light.
A car from Volkswagen that costs this much and you would expect a certain level of premiumness inside the cabin. And it’s all there. The quality is impressive so is the fit and finish. The buttons are laid out well and the seats are all very comfortable. A big 12 inch touch screen infotainment system does its duty on the Tiguan and does it well. There’s a 3-zone climate control, the driver’s seat can be adjusted electronically and the SUV also offers cruise control. The flat bottomed steering wheel is good to hold and the instrument cluster also looks modern and equipped. The second row is good on space but the middle passenger may struggle a bit due to the AC vents and the presence of a tunnel. The second row also has trays for two passengers and a panoramic sunroof is a great addition to the car. The 5 seats though ensure that the Tiguan has a good boot space of 615 litres capacity which can be expanded up to 1655 litres with the second row folded down. The second row can also be folded in a 60:40 split ratio. The boot lid can be opened just by swiping your leg under the car and can closed at the touch of a button, things which make the Tiguan more premium.
The Road to Chikmaglur from Bangalore offers everything a driver is looking for and the Tiguan was only too happy to oblige. There’s only one engine option with which the Tiguan has come to India. It’s a 2.0 liter Diesel mill 141 bhp of max power and 340 Nm of torque suffice well for the car. There’s a bit of a lag one feel initially but the 7-speed DSG gearbox performs its duty well to control of the situations. Once you cross about 1500 rpm’s the Tiguan comes into its own performs well. The NVH levels are also very impressive and hardly any noise creeps into the cabin even at high speeds. Volkswagen is claiming a mileage of 17 kmpl on the SUV.
Ride & Handling
Owing to its compact dimensions the Tiguan handles really well and the body roll associated with SUVs is just not there. It’s a breeze to change lanes and the car holds on to its own very well. It only helps that steering feedback is good and the response it gives is as close to perfection as you expect from a well built premium car. Ride quality also is very good and the way the suspension is tuned, the car is able to soak in whatever is thrown at it. The 4 motion all wheel drive system has different modes — namely Normal, offroad, Offroad individual and snow. These modes change settings of the power train and the steering amongst other things. A small sample showed had that Tiguan shows us a lot of promise if you decide to take it off the road.
Owing to its compact dimensions the Tiguan handles really well and the body roll associated with SUVs is just not there. It’s a breeze to change lanes and the car holds on to its own very well.
There are only 2 boxes that the Tiguan probably doesn’t tick. It’s not look like a big muscle SUV (and looks matter a lot in India) and it has just 5 seats. Discount them and this is a car that drives really well, is loaded with features and is well built. It’s also got some amazing safety features like Active bonnet and self sealing tyres. Yes the price may be a bit on the higher side, but if you don’t have a problem with that, you’re getting a high quality product that will deliver for years to come.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars