Bigger and better, and bolder than the model it replaced, the 2018 Tiguan is an absolute cracker.
Outside, the look is a little squarer and more aggressive than before. It is handsome, and masculine, and modern. Larger wheels probably negate any kind of off-roading aspirations. As in all SUVs, you might need different wheels for serious fun.
Veedub have whipped themselves into a frenzy about the new-gen Tiguan.
They say it is both powerful, and luxurious. They say it is a fit contender to compete against the high-end-ness of the Germans.
I guess they mean the other Germans.
We drove the top Highline model complete with the R-Line package. It has big 20” wheels, a powerful engine, and a premium cabin.
The look is chunky.
It’s Tonka-toy exterior is further accentuated by hi-tech LED headlights that look like ice cubes in a G & T. Around the back the LED story continues.
There are several groups of LEDs. The top line of LEDs remains steadily lit while the engine is on.
The bottom two horizontal pairs turn vertical, and become more intense when the brake applied. It is eye-catching the first time you see it.
Roof rails can take an optional travel pod should you fill the boot with your unbridled enthusiasm.
It is hard to fault the VW’s premium claim, at least on the outside.
Is it as good inside?
Yes, yes it is. In fact it is even better.
The R-Line package, brings some extra goodies to the Highline.
There are soft Vienna leather seats which have R-Line stitched into them.
In fact, R-Line garnishes have been lavished on every available surface, inside and out.
Apart from the chrome tail pipes, you get steering that’s progressive, and damping that’s adjustable.
The off-roading capabilities are greatly enhanced by the addition of extra settings. They’re controlled by a console-mounted control dial, which also houses the variable chassis controls.
The latest incarnation of the VWn infotainment system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All models get an 8” touch screen, with the top 2 models getting voice control for Satnav and audio operations.
Many users don’t know they can use “Hey Siri” to perform tasks completely hands free.
For example, you don’t need to press the voice button to play music, or make a call. More importantly, messaging is also completely handsfree.
Pressing then releasing the voice button activates the car’s voice controls, pressing and holding will activate Siri instead.
I see Siri as a the greatest safety feature since the seat belt,.
Many accidents have been caused by inattention.
The mobile phone has been the subject of much debate, especially since the advent of texting. All texting can be handled without having to touch a button. Surely more time spent watching the road instead of a phone is a good thing.
You can switch from CarPlay back to the car’s system anytime.
See Apply CarPlay demo here
The infotainment menu auto-bar hides when not in use. It gives the user more real estate for viewing maps, radio stations, and other functions. This is carried over from previous units.
The sound is rich and dark. It makes an already-elegant cabin even moodier. It looks particularly enchanting after dark.
This is not a case of form over function, rather an elegant combination of both.
The fittings and controls have a solid quality feel.
All materials feel soft and expensive, including the plastics. All Knobs, buttons, and levers, have a slight resistance to their smooth operation. You usually only expect from cars that cost the GDP of a small African nation.
The soft grip rim on the climate control dials give an impression that thought has gone into their design. Not only is is attractive, but it feels good to touch.
The R-Line casts almost $57,000, but the same care and quality goes in to the base Trendline.
I love the Tiguan’s look and feel, both inside and out.
The Highline has a “running clearance” of 201mm,, that gives you a good deal of leeway over uncooperative landscapes.
The cargo hold has 615L worth of space for your bags too. This expands greatly with rear seats that fold almost completely flat. The space then becomes very useful.
The Active Cruise Control (ACC) keeps an eye on the road ahead.
It slows you down when the traffic slows down, all the way to stop. When the traffic moves off, you either hit the “Resume” button, or blip the accelerator to get going again.
The only downside to ACC is you need to watch the speedo so you don’t wind up doing 70 in a 110 zone.
It’s easy to become mesmerized by the number plate in front of you on a 6-lane highway, especially if there is no one else around. I’ve been guilty of suddenly becoming aware of the car in front doing far below the speed limit.
Tiguan is so accomplished, picking a place to start praise is difficult.
There is a 7 speed DSG in the Highline, or a 6 speed manual/7speed DSG in the base model.
The Golf GTI engine has been shoehorned in for added zap.
A 0-100 time of 6.5 seconds means the Tiguan is every bit a hot hatch.
The controls are well laid out.
See here for VW Park assist automated parking system.
Tiguan has a “virtual dashboard”. All dirver’s dials have been replaced by a single 12” LCD wide-view screen.
Steering wheel buttons allow you to scroll through the driver’s LCD menu. You can even display the SatNav there, as with all VW virtual dashboards.
The speedo and tacho shrink in size when the map is displayed.
There is a digital speedo and is my preference.
Steering is very light. It varies depending on chassis setting, which also alters the dampers. Handling becomes sports-like when in sports mode.
For a change, claims of sportiness have not been exaggerated.
The road manners are as impeccable as the immaculate cabin.
The ride is superb. It gets firmer of course, the second you enter sports mode. However, even in the hardest setting, the suspension won’t come close to dislodging body parts and it tackles cobbles.
I have it on good authority that the off-road settings make a decent fist of light cross-country work. You probably won’t want to tow much, but for those rare times when you do, hiring a bigger rig is an option.
The electric rear door isn’t exactly unusual today, but it makes things much easier none the less.
If the ride, and the handling doesn’t do it for you, then, then fuel economy will.
8.1L/100k for the petrol engine is quite good given what SUVs did only a few years ago. They were one seen as petrol guzzlers, and so they were. Now, they’re as economical as their family hatch counterparts.
VW says it takes 95ron, but I’ll bet it runs on E10 just as well.
E10 is usually 94ron or better. It is certainly worth investigating.
The driving position is high-set, and I’m beginning to like that very much. You sit upright too, which means oodles of space in the rear seats. 4 adults fitted with room to spare.
We enjoyed a day’s motoring on a course usually reserved for sports cars. I’m not saying it is quite as much of a rip-snorter as a Golf GTI, but it is as near as damnit.
The 4motion AWD shuffles power to give the best grip. while the chassis control adjusts the dampers up to 1,000 times a second. 1,000 times a second seems extreme but accounts for the excellent handling in extreme conditions.
You can feel the weight of the Tiguan shift as you enter corners, but never feel as though you’ll be pulled off course.
My only concern is the expense should this system fail.
There is all the usual safety gear, including Autonomous Emergency Braking, which adds an extra peace-of-mind to the comfort.
From next year, AEB will be required on the base models of cars to get a 5-star safety rating.
Automated parking took a while to get used to.
Rather than selecting whether parallel or end-in parking available, the system does it for you.
Once you press the parking button, the car searches for a spot it will fit in to. You indicate if you want to park on the driver’s side, otherwise it parks on the passenger’s side.
It knows what kind of park it has found, then all you have to do is follow directions by shifting in to D or R. You control the speed, but the steering is done by the computer, and it is very good at it.
The sensors know exactly where the obstacles are. It will take you far closer to them than your eye, and good judgement, will allow. Auto parking was once just an amusement for the kids, but is now a real tool.
Make no bones about it, auto parking is going to save insurance claims.
The reversing camera is high quality too. The lines show where you’re going, and how close you can get to an obstacle and still be able to open the tailgate.
I searched hard to find something I didn’t like, I really did.
There just isn’t anything that needs sorting. It is very safe. It looks good, goes great, is comfortable, and is economical.
I was never a real fan of diesel, despite the benefits of economy. The NOX emissions have never been terribly satisfactory, and the sensation has always been slightly industrial. Good economy is now not the sole preserve of the oil-burners.
Now, petrol turbos are cheap to run.
I could probably do without the sunroof, but it is nice to have if it is included in a package. I’d rather opt out and save the money instead. It is usually about 2 grand, so take your better half on a holiday instead.
The real question is not “how good is the Tiguan”, but rather “is there anything else better for the money?”
I’ll bet the answer is no.
+ $4,000 for R-line package which adds
- Electric adjustment for driver’s seat with 3 position memory function
- Adaptive chassis control
- Alloy wheels (Suzuka) 20” x 8.5”
- Black headlining and pillar trim
- Electrically foldable exterior mirrors with environment lighting and memory function
- Front bumper in R design; lower body side extensions in body colour with black grained wheel arch extensions
- Lumbar adjustment for driver’s seat, electrically adjustable
- Mobility tires 255/40 R20
- Progressive steering
- R-Line multi-function leather covered sports steering wheel with gear shift paddles
- R-Line rear spoiler
- Stainless steel finish accelerator and brake pedals
- Stainless steel finish front door sill scuff plates with R-Line logo
- Vienna leather appointed seat upholstery with R-Line logo and decorative stitching
+ $2,000 for Driver assistance package which adds
- Park Assist, parking bay and parallel parking assistance
- Active Info Display with customisable menus
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Area View, front, rear and side cameras to provide 360 degree exterior view
- Lane Assist, lane departure warning system; Side Assist, lane changing assistant; Rear Traffic Alert
+ $2,000 for Panoramic Sunroof
Engine: 4cyl, 162kw/350Nm
Trans: 7sp DSG
Econ: 8.1 L/100k
Performance: 0-100kph 6.5 seconds