Tiguan stands out from rivals
After three or so years of writing car reviews for The West, I think I may have found my perfect SUV.
It’s the Volkswagen Tiguan — and I have to say it is a truly excellent car.
I was in the diesel variant, the TDI, which has a 2.0-litre turbocharged oil burner, is all-wheel-drive and is $39,990 plus on-road costs.
If your budget can’t stretch that far but you still want VW cache in your driveway, the range starts at $28,990 for the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol manual. It’s two-wheel-drive and sounds like great value to me.
What you get with the Tiguan is an SUV that is incredibly nippy. It is classed as compact but it’s still 4.426m long. Even so, it weaves in an out of traffic and parking spaces, and the steering is a joy. So light.
Plant your right foot and you can shift 1642kg of car to 100km/h in 8.5secs but, with 380Nm of diesel torque to play with, it feels more powerful.
There’s also a sport mode, which I’ve found a bit too whiny in other VWs. Here, though, it added some extra pep without the extra annoyance. Great if you need to get moving fast out of a junction (just factor in the turbo lag).
All this is backed up by a seven-speed automatic which moved sweetly through the gears and gave me power whenever I needed it.
Ah, but what about the diesel rumble?
Having owned a diesel Vauxhall Astra when I was living in Scotland and driving 110km to work, I know all about arriving somewhere with a numbness in your ears because you’ve had to turn to stereo up to drown the engine.
Well, the Tiguan has perhaps the quietest diesel I’ve tried, although it’s a close contest with VW’s up-market sister brand, Audi.
Add in stop-start technology and you can hear a pin drop at traffic lights. It even works when you have the air-con on low and helps to give you a fuel economy of 6.2L/100km.
Inside there’s the usual plushness you’d expect from a VW, all dark grey with touches of chrome.
The Alcantara cloth sports seats are super-comfy and, actually, preferable to leather on a summer’s day in Perth. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is tactile, there’s dual-zone air-con, a six-disc audio system, a driver-fatigue detection system and all the tech you could need.
About that: the sat nav is a $2500 option (a lot of money for a car that will cost you well over $40,000 by the time you drive it away) and you don’t get keyless entry or start.
The true test of this class of SUV is not whether it can charge around off-road, but whether it can lug a family about. There’s 395 litres of space in the boot for all their stuff, and 1510 litres with the back seats down. And while my daughter found it a struggle to get in at first, she otherwise loved the space after spending the previous week annoyed at having to get in and out of a two-door Beetle.
Me? I loved the high driving position and I also have grown to love the rather boxy shape.
Maybe it’s because so many of its rivals are turning soft and cuddly in their design, but this Volkswagen stands out from its rivals — in more ways than one.
A Volkswagen badge, nippy driving experience, the ability to do a bit of off-roading, decent fuel economy and space for the family. What more do you want?
Model Highlander AWD
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Model Allure AWD
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission CVT automatic
Model TL 2WD
Engine 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Transmission CVT automatic
Engine 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Transmission Seven-speed DSG automatic
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