By Miles Downard
VW’s Tiguan has always been a hot favourite here in SA – part thanks to the company’s stellar local following. Not so long ago VW gave the Tiguan a ground up refresh and if nothing else it looks really great. Now what they’ve done is added some extra space in the back for another row of seats and called it the Allspace. Genius.
On the outside
Without a doubt the best looking crossover SUV 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 Tiguan. The extra rear overhang doesn’t look out of place either. It just sort of works.
On the inside
It’s quite standard issue VW group stuff inside the Tiguan, which don’t get me wrong looks nice and is very functional, but can be a bit bland if you don’t go for options like the digital dashboard.
Space is sort of what the AllSpace is all about. Rather cleverly the middle row of seats slide back and forth so if you need boot space, just give the passengers slightly less legroom and the boot opens up. This can also be used to afford the third row passengers the luxury of keeping their feet. And when you’re not fully loaded with cricket gear, or people, you can comfortably carry two full-sized adults.
Obviously throwing up the third row of seats severely limits actual boot space. And frankly you need to be a circus person to clamber into one of those back seats as the middle row doesn’t move enough to give a decent opening.
There’s a load of kit on offer as usual with VW, most of which comes from big brother Audi, but you have to pay for it. Options include a fully electronic instrument cluster (R8,650), which will display all kinds of different dials and information based on your setup, including the navigation. Head’s up display (R9,150) is another one, along with adaptive cruise control (R5,000). It’ll help you parallel park too for yet another R5,000.
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 big guy 2.0 litre job with a DSG gearbox. It really gets a move on with what is effectively a slightly detuned Golf GTi motor. The DSG ‘box is slick, but still isn’t responsive enough off the line in my opinion. I’d rather have a manual.
4motion all wheel drive is a useful addition considering this is an SUV after all, so it should on occasion see a dirt road and perhaps even a bit of mud.
The Tiguan with this motor isn’t the most frugal car on the planet, but it’s not diabolical either. Expect between 9 and 11 litres per hundred in town. Down to around 7 on the open road at highway speeds.
Base price on the Highline unit I tested is R604,800. With options you could add as much as R120,000 to that. Seems like a lot but another 7 seater, like the Land Rover Discovery Sport is R670,000 before options.
It is the best looking of the SUVs around it, drives well enough, has a VW badge on the front and is one of the few 7 seaters in this price range. It’s a bit niche I’ll grant you, but to the right buyer it’s compelling indeed.