By Miles Downard
As we all know by now, the SUV market is absolutely booming. Everyone wants one, be it the young chap who thinks he likes a bit of the outdoors, or mom who ‘needs space for the kids’, or dad who wants to show off to his mates while justifying the spend to his wife on the basis that it’s a family car. The crossover SUV really has become everything to all men. VW’s Tiguan has always been a hot favourite here in SA – partly because they were one of the original bunch who introduced such a vehicle, and part thanks to the company’s stellar local following. Now there’s a new one, and my has it upped it’s game.
On the outside
Without a doubt the best looking crossover SUV thing on the market today (on the palatable side of R1m), especially with the ‘R Line’ package. It looks big and imposing, sharp clean lines, bling front bumper, all spot on. Even the premium segment stuff doesn’t hold a candle to the VW.
Also read: Mazda CX3 – fighter plane or SUV?
On the inside
Perhaps a little less impressive than what first meets the eye when you walk up to the Tiguan. It’s more standard issue VW, which don’t get me wrong looks nice and is very functional. You just expect more given the wow factor on the outside.
Space is decent, especially since the rear seats slide back and forth. So if you need boot space, give the rear passengers slightly less legroom. Alternately if you’re not fully loaded with cricket gear, the kids could almost run around in the rear footwell.
There’s a load of kit on offer too, but you have to pay for most of it. Options include a fully electronic instrument cluster (R8k), which will display all kinds of different dials and information based on your setup, including the navigation. Head’s up display (R9k) is another one, along with adaptive cruise control (R5k). It’ll help you parallel park too for R5k.
Behind the wheel
Two engines are on offer, namely 1.4 and 2.0 turbocharged petrol units, offering three different power outputs. I had the middle of the road 1.4 litre 110kW job with a DSG gearbox. It was good enough in most situations, although I’d probably like a little more oomph myself. The DSG box is slick, but still isn’t responsive enough off the line in my opinion. I’d rather have a manual.
VW has incorporated some of its clever fuel saving tech seen on other vehicles in their range. It’s called Active Cylinder Technology, which basically turns off half the engine if you’re just coasting or using a very light amount of throttle. I managed a fairly long stint on a gently undulating highway running on just two cylinders, which is rather neat.
Base price on the Comfortline unit I tested is R457,680. With options you could add as much as R120k to that. Seems like a lot until you visit Kia or Hyundai’s pricelist. There you’ll find a competitive Sportage (albeit with lots of kit included) is at least R560k and a Tucson at R520k. All come with 5 year / 90,000km service plans.
Traditionally I’ve always found the VW Tiguan to be the expensive option, however this one isn’t. What it is is the best looking of the SUVs around it, drives well enough, has a VW badge on the front and has some nice eco-technology. I expect them to fly off the shelves.