While you may argue that the Touareg was the first SUV from Volkswagen, thing is, it never got the numbers being a high-end luxury SUV. Thus the Tiguan then is the first stab by VW in India at the lucrative SUV space. Sedans are losing favour and entry level luxury SUVs is a segment gaining momentum increasingly with a lot of competition. The Tiguan will not have it easy though as it has everything from the BMW X1 to the Hyundai Tucson to compete with. Has VW got a winner on its hands? And is it worth the Rs 31 lakh asking price (top-end)? We find out..
Looks subtle right?
Well, that should not be surprising now is it? As with all VW products, the design is pure understated elegance and there is a simplicity to its lines which is endearing. The front end is imposing enough with LED headlamps and DRLs along with a big grille while the side and rear appear to the be more sober but we like the all LED tail-lamps which spice up the slightly bland rear styling. What also helps though are the 18 inch alloys (Highline trim) which adds to the stance.
Build quality and paint finish is phenomenal and it feels solid. Overall like all their cars, it a fuss free design and stands apart from other SUVs. Like the Polo or Jetta, it will not get dated quickly and overall are fans of its design.
I am guessing the interior is all high quality..
Yep, business as usual. Overall quality and interior ambience is second to none and we would not like it any other way! The design is again what the VW philosophy is all about with the neat dash and well laid out, easy to use, clutter free design. Yes it is an all black cabin but the superb quality makes it shine through. Also the ambient lighting at night livens up the cabin considerably.
There is no base Trendline and VW has thrown the kitchen sink here. You have three-zone climate control, boot that can be opened simply by moving a foot in front of a sensor, panoramic sunroof, Vienna leather seats, Cruise Control, AppConnect, Rain and Light sensor, LED Headlamps with DRLs, 6 Airbags, Hill Start Assist, Auto Hold, Self-sealing tyres, electronic parking brake, rear camera, tyre pressure monitoring system etc.
There is no in-built navigation but the big touchscreen works nicely and we used navigation via Android Auto (Not available with Apple CarPlay). The drivers seat is powered and the seats themselves look and feel great with high quality materials all round.
The generous wheelbase means space and comfort is very good and the back, you would be happy with the space on offer plus thigh support is good too. With the sunroof, the all black cabin does not feel lacking in space at all and feels reasonably airy here. In terms of boot space it is 1655 litres with the rear-seat folded. In terms of storage, the glove-box is not really big but you have another space at top of the dash.
Want to know how it drives now..
There is only one engine option and one gearbox. Not that we are complaining as its a 2.0 TDI with 141 bhp/340Nm along with a 7-speed DSG. Standard is the the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with variable torque transfer to the rear wheels. Before we start the Tiguan has the new gen 2.0 diesel so do not worry regarding its emissions or anything. Start it up and there is the familiar clatter but while the engine is slightly noisy at low speeds, it gets much smoother and quieter with progress in speed. At high speeds, refinement is really good- easily the best yet from VW and thanks to the wonderful refinement you pick out the slight wind noise.
Power is more than adequate and the superb DSG gearbox also gets credit. This 2.0 TDI is one of the smoothest we have seen from the VW stable. It is less erratic and the gearbox enables smooth build up. Lag is hardly there apart from the tiny bit at the start and it cruises brilliantly. You can use the paddles too which helps in spirited driving. Standard in the Tiguan is the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with variable torque transfer to the rear wheels. There are also different driving modes on offer where things like the gearshift pattern and throttle response are altered.
Eco is where we thought the car was bogged down too much, Sport and Normal work very well. There is also an off-road mode where various off-road aids are bundled together. Now the 149mm ground clearance has raised a few eyebrows but fret not as its the fully laden figure with the unladen figure being close to 200. We had no issues with the ground clearance at all!
However the best part about the Tiguan is its handling. The light MQB platform aids flexibililty and the Tiguan drives like a big hatch. Body control for an SUV is very good and you do not mind pushing it around. High speed stability is fantastic with a slightly firm suspension set-up tuned to deliver near zero roll. Steering while light is direct and spot on. I have said that it has a firm set-up and at low speeds there is the VW firmness but it irons out mostly when speeds increase. But at low speeds, sharp potholes and bumps are filtered in but to be honest, it feels so nimble and agile that you forgive.
The Tiguan is every bit the car we expected it to be. It stradles between two segments and at the moment champions in many factors. Yes it is expensive (starts from near Rs 28 lakh), yes, its styling may seem conservative and it may lack the flash value but look beyond that and you have a brilliant SUV. Amongst the luxury crossovers at the moment it is among the best. It is built beautifully inside out, loaded to the brim, drives superbly, is reasonably spacious and its styling grows on you. It is an SUV built with clinical precision and the moment for sheer quality, driving manners, features, it is a very good deal. The Tiguan is perfect start for VWs SUV game in India.