2017 Volkswagen Tiguan review
Isaac Bober’s 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The new VW Tiguan has grown bigger, more premium and seen a big jump in safety technology as standard.
2017 Volkswagen Tiguan
Pricing From $31,990+ORC Warranty Three-years, unlimited kilometres Safety five-star EuroNCAP for 110TDI Engine(s) 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol; 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol; 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Power/Torque 110kW/250Nm; 132kW/320Nm; 110kW/340Nm; 140kW/400Nm Transmission six-speed manual; six-speed DSG; 7-Speed DSG Body 4486mm (L); 1839mm (W); 1648-1658mm (H) Angles 25.6-degree approach; 24.7-degrees departure Ground Clearance 191-201mm Turning Circle 11.5m Weight 1430kg-1691kg GVM Not supplied Towing Capacity 1800-2500kg braked (effective braked towing capacity: 1000kg based on 10% towball download) Towball download 100kg Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 58-60 litres Thirst 5.9L/100km – 7.5L/100km combined
THE SECOND-GENERATION Volkswagen Tiguan has arrived in Australia bigger and better equipped than ever. Available in three specification grades and with five engines, Volkswagen is hoping the new Tiguan will see it become the benchmark in the medium SUV segment.
At the local launch at Byron Bay in New South Wales, Volkswagen Australia boss, Michael Bartsch, told journalists that in the same way “a new Golf redefines its segment and becomes the benchmark against which others measure themselves, so too will the new Tiguan … We are bringing premium to the people”.
And this is a big statement given the previous-generation Tiguan was a very conservative and not particularly sporting or premium compact SUV. It did everything by the book. Not this new one.
Volkswagen will continue to offer capped price servicing for the new Tiguan but at the time of writing it hadn’t been announced.
What is it?
The new Volkswagen Tiguan has outgrown the small SUV segment in which the first-generation model operated and is now in the medium SUV segment with the likes of Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and even premium players, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. That alone gives you an indication of how radical a change this new Tiguan is from the predecessor. More than that, though, by becoming bigger the new Tiguan makes room for VW to release a smaller SUV which will be released in the next couple of years.
The wheelbase has grown 76mm to 2681mm which has opened up more room on the inside, and particularly in the back seat. It now stands 38mm lower at 1648mm, 30mm wider at 1839mm and 60mm longer than the old car, or 4486mm long. Running ground clearance is between 190mm for front-drive models and 201mm for all-wheel drive variants.
The first SUV to be built on Volkswagen MQB modular platform, the Tiguan is a more mature prospect than its predecessor. For instance, it’s got more standard safety features, which we’ll explore later in the article, and a tweaked engine range that includes three petrol variants and two diesel variants.
There are three model grades to choose from: Trendline; Comfortline and Highline with two-wheel drive standard in the entry-level petrol-powered Trendline and all-wheel drive available from the Comfortline up. Highline models are exclusively all-wheel drive.
On the outside, besides looking bigger and more square than its predecessor, the new Tiguan clearly looks more imposing on the road and clearly borrows from the look of the larger Touareg. With its bluff front-end and muscular haunches and squared-off rear the new Tiguan is, to my eyes, a good-looking machine. Indeed, the new-look Tiguan will set the template, from a ‘look’ perspective, for all VW SUVs following it.
What’s it like on the inside and how practical is it?
Climb inside the Tiguan and, like me, after hearing about Volkswagen’s intentions that this new Tiguan will become the benchmark medium SUV, you might be a little underwhelmed. See, while there are brilliant practical touches inside this car it does look quite a lot like a Golf, but given we often refer to the Golf’s interior as being that by which others are measured then maybe we shouldn’t grumble…
The dashboard is well laid out and all of the controls fall easily to hand but, while the majority of the interior is swathed in nice soft-touch plastic there are some elements of hard, scratchy stuff which I wasn’t expecting, and I’m talking about the transmission tunnel here. I’ll accept that, though, given the fact there are numerous storage bins one of which is lined with felt, a finish you wouldn’t find on competitors at this price point, as well as a net storage pouch in the front passenger foot well. It’s these sorts of things that are normally the first to go when the bean counters get involved. And the beautiful frameless rear vision mirror is a nice bit of jewellery in an otherwise fairly plain but functional interior.
The use of VW’s MQB architecture has allowed the Tiguan to grow and nowhere is this more evident than on the inside where ‘roomy’ is the best way to describe the thing. Despite being shorter, the VW Tiguan actually offers 8mm more headroom than before and while the driving position feels very commercial vehicle-esque, meaning perched, the seats proved comfortable enough on our short test drive at the local launch. I’ll be interested to see how they fare on my usual week-long test where my regular commuting distances can extend beyond 100km. I did like the quilted look of the seats and the material used felt ever so slightly grippy and should prove to be hard wearing.
Over in the back there’s loads of head, shoulder, knee and leg room for three adults, although the passenger sat in the middle will have to share foot well space with the two outboard passengers. The transmission tunnel isn’t overly intrusive. And while there’s no USB outlet for back seat passengers, something that seems to be a necessity in our gadget-obsessed lives, there is a vent for back seat passengers which I reckon is infinitely more practical. The back seats slide forwards and backwards and they split fold 40:20:40. There are top tether and ISOFIX mounting points across the back seat.
Over in the boot there’s an impressive 615 litres of storage space (which expands to 1655 litres when the back seats are folded) and the boot floor is false meaning it can be raised or lowered to create a totally flat floor with no load lip if needed.
At the launch, we drove both the entry level Tiguan 110 TSI, 110 TDI (in AWD Comfortline trim) and the model VW expects will be the volume seller, the 132 TSI (AWD and Comfortline trim but with the $2000 Driver Assistance Package).
What’s the infotainment and communication system like?
All models get an 8.0-inch touch screen which dominates the dashboard. Thankfully, there are clearly marked shortcut buttons on both sides of the screen and the tri-zone climate control, also separate, sits below the screen and is easy to control.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink are all standard. In the entry level models with the Composition Media units you can make use of your smartphone’s connectivity to stream music or app-based navigation direct from your phone. As you climb through the model range the infotainment system gets turned up a notch with native sat-nav options on the Comfortline variants and, also the ability to connect a tablet via Wi-Fi and hand over control of the audio system to those sitting in the back seat. The MirroLink app Cam Connect also allows you to connect a Bluetooth enabled GoPro and stream live video onto the infotainment display.
What’s the performance like?
The new Tiguan, here in Australia, is available with three petrol engines and two diesel engine variants. The 110TSI we drove gets a clever little 1.4-litre turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that produces 110kW at 5000-6000rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1500-3500rpm, the 132TSI runs a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 132kW at 3900-6000rpm and 320Nm of torque from 1500-3940rpm, while the 110TDI we drove is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel that makes 110kW at 3500-4000rpm and 340Nm of torque from 1750-3000rpm. The 140TDI Highline model runs the same 2.0-litre turbo-diesel but produces more power thanks to a different turbo and computer tuning, it makes 140kW and 400Nm of torque. There will also be a 162TSI joining the line-up early next year.
Of the three engines we drove our pick was either the 110TSI or 110TDI, that’s despite VW claiming the 132TSI will be the volume seller. Our brief drive of the 110TSI which involved some urban roads and a brief stint on the highway, with no load and just two blokes on-board, showed it to be a nice little engine with enough pep to keep up with traffic and overtake without holding our breath.
The cylinder deactivation system is clever, seamless and audibly imperceptible as to when two of the four cylinders have shut down or when they’ve come back online. The only way of knowing is via the display which explains when you’re running in two-cylinder mode. This entry engine is mated to a six-speed DSG which felt like the perfect match shifting cleanly and quickly and without stumbling in on, off and on again throttle applications.
The 110TDI offers a different character and while not overly blessed with buckets of power it’s the torque and the wide spread of torque that makes this such a good, flexible choice in the Tiguan. This engine is mated to a seven-speed DSG and while it doesn’t feel as tight as the six-speed DSG with which Skoda has matched this engine to in the past it’s quick and smooth enough that you can make pretty swift progress.
The 132TSI is a good engine too but it doesn’t feel as flexible as the entry diesel engine and that’s partly due to it having a little less torque albeit across a wider rev range. It too runs a seven-speed DSG but in similar situations there seemed to be lag between throttle input and transmission response but, to be fair, the launch roads were very tight and twisting. There also seemed to be a little bit of injection whine from this engine when under load and just a touch of wind rustle from the big wing mirrors. Beyond that, the Tiguan’s cabin is very well insulated and the engines, especially, the diesel whisper quiet.
What’s the ride and handling like?
My drive of the front-drive 110TSI was only 20km so forming a complete picture of its ride and handling will have to wait until I’ve spent some more time in it across roads I’m familiar with. But, my gut feeling is that it’s good.
The 110TSI is lighter than its equivalent predecessor and feels more eager and fun to drive. The ride around town and on the highway was quiet and well controlled across the broken surfaces we did encounter while the steering was well weighted and direct in its action. In truth, the steering in this entry model is the pick, as far as I’m concerned.
Moving up to the 110TDI and 132TSI and the body control is good with the ability to iron out lumps and bumps in the road to the point where you’ll hear something rather than feel it. And it’s not because the thing’s sprung softly, because its ability to maintain composure through vertical loads is similarly impressive.
Through corners both engine varaints, thanks to load-based all-wheel drive feel sure-footed and comfortable to drive. That said, the Tiguan is perhaps not quite as dynamic as some in the segment, but it is well composed and easy to drive, which is exactly what you want from a family car.
On dirt the Tiguan feels just as comfortable as it does on bitumen, although you’ll be able to get to its adhesion limits much faster than on the road. But even when the front starts to push wide, the stability control and all-wheel drive system works subtly to keep the car on line, making it, if not rewarding to drive quickly on dirt, at least easy and comfortable to drive and as a family vehicle that’s probably more important.
In both the 110TDI and 132TSI the steering, while consistently weighted lacked feel, something that wasn’t as noticeable on bitumen as it was on dirt. The brakes offer a nice progressive feel and on either bitumen or dirt do a good job of pulling the car up straight.
As mentioned, our drive loops were only short as we were trying to shuffle through as many variants as possible and some we weren’t able to back-to-back across the same roads, so, making an ultimate claim on the Tiguan’s handling will have to wait. Stay tuned. But, we did learn enough to say the new Tiguan is a capable, comfortable and easy driving family car with, in Comfortline and Highline models the added benefit of all-wheel drive to keep you on the straight and narrow.
At the launch Volkswagen made particular note of the Tiguan’s towing capacity of 2500kg in the bigger petrol and diesel engine models, but with a towball download limit of just 100kg, the effective towing limit, based on a 10% download minimum, would reduce the braked towing capacity to just 1000kg.
How safe is it?
The VW Tiguan is an impressive safety story, getting seven airbags, a multi-collision braking system that applies the brakes when the system has detected a collision to avoid it being shunted along by a secondary impact. It also has, as standard, reversing camera with guide lines, front assist with city emergency braking (autonomous braking).
The front assist system works via radar as does the cost optional rear traffic alert which will apply emergency braking if an obstacle is detected that the driver might have missed. Unlike other systems, the radar doesn’t work in conjunction with a multi-view camera. Standard is lane assist that helps with blind spot monitoring, as well as a low tyre pressure monitor, and park assist which is great if you don’t know how to park a car… the cost optional driver assistance package adds area view which gives you a 360-view of the car when parking, and you’re able to use one or more camera at the same time, like the two front cameras mounted underneath the wing mirrors to give you a view of both front wheels, which is great when you need to manoeuvre through a tight spot.
The Tiguan hasn’t been tested by ANCAP yet, but testing by EuroNCAP saw it achieve a five-star rating.
Volkswagen Tiguan pricing:
- Tiguan 110TSI Trendline 6-Speed manual – $31,990+ORC
- Tiguan 110TSI Trendline 6-Speed DSG – $34,490+ORC
- Tiguan 110TSI Comfortline 6-Speed DSG – $36,990+ORC
- Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline 7-Speed DSG – $41,490+ORC
- Tiguan 110TDI Conmfortline 7-Speed DSG – $42,990+ORC
- Tiguan 162TSI Highline 7-Speed DSG – $48,490+ORC
- Tiguan 140TDI Highline 7-Speed DSG – $49,990+ORC
Cost Option packages:
- Metallic/Pear Effect paint – $700
- Driver Assistance package – Comfortline – $2250
- Driver Assistance package – Highline – $2000
- Luxury package – Comfortline – $5000
- R-Line Package – Highline – $4000
- Panoramic Electric Glass Sunroof – Highline – $2000
Cost Option pack – Descriptions:
Luxury Package: This includes Vienna leather-appointed upholstery, electronically adjustable driver’s seat with three-position memory, heated front seats, power folding door mirrors, Keyless Access, electronically-operated tailgate with Easy Open and Close, and a panoramic electric glass sunroof.
Driver Assistance Package: Available for Comfortline and Highline models, the Driver Assistance Package offers Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, Active Info display, power folding door mirrors and Area View.
R-Line Package: The R-Line Package includes an exclusive R-Line body kit, R-Line interior, 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive chassis control and progressive steering.