Story & photos by Patrick P. Tulfo
THE previous Volkswagen Tiguan was a good crossover based on reviews. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to test it, so I am unable to compare it with the latest Tiguan, which was formally introduced in the country in the last Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) last summer.
What I can tell you about, though, is my five days of blissful driving with the 2017 version of this wonderful crossover. It all started when I picked up the vehicle at the Volkswagen’s swanky dealership at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City. The first thing that caught my attention was the screaming color of the compact crossover, which VW calls Habanero Orange. This was the same unit that was on display at their booth in the recently concluded MIAS.
Exterior-wise, the new Tiguan is better looking than the model it replaced, as it now carries the new design language of VW sport-utility vehicle (SUVs), which was first seen in the company’s latest entry in the full-size SUV category in the US, the Atlas (it’s boxier, and somewhat bears a resemblance to BMW X5, especially in the rear). Size-wise it is longer by 2.4 inches and wider by 1.2 inches, but is 1.3-inches shorter in height than the previous model—the increase in length and width benefited the rear passengers the most and increased the space in the rear compartment. Up front, it now has the latest LED headlamps with Daytime Running Lights features and autoactivation function when it gets dark. Redesigned fog lamps fitted with turning lights are located below the color-keyed bumpers.
The BMW X5-like rear also features a clean layout with the spoiler on top and the VW logo in the middle, sandwiched by a pair of neat-looking LED tail lights.
Inside the vehicle, Volkswagen owners will feel right at home, as the familiar VW ergonomics are carried over to this model. First-time owners will only take a while to familiarize themselves with the layout, as all switches are placed logically. A fine example is the ignition switch, which is placed just beside the shifter (above the electronic parking-brake switch) instead of on the dashboard panel or behind the steering wheel, where it’s traditionally located.
The composition media-infotainment system features a large 6.5-inch monitor with a touchscreen feature. It plays MP3s and CDs with the slot located inside the humongous glove compartment, as well as music from external players, such as iPods or smartphones via Auxiliary slot, USB or Bluetooth.
The music is channeled through an eight-speaker system that sounds great whatever genre it plays. Audio controls are also conveniently placed on the steering wheel itself, although VW could have made the buttons a little bigger.
Storage are aplenty with the front having five, two in the dashboard, plus two more conveniently located under the front seats plus the usual compartment in the middle.
Soft materials are used all over the cabin, and chrome panels on the door and the dashboard add to the premium feel. Other features include a powerful Tri-zone Climatronic air-conditioning system with an allergen filter, two tray tables located on the rear of the front seats that will delight both kids and adults alike, as it locks in place and rain-sensing front windshield wipers, to name a few.
The Tiguan is available in two variants; the 2.0 TDI DSG (Diesel) Highline and the 1.4 TSI DSG Comfortline.
The unit lent to this scribe was the Comfortline variant powered by a 1.4-liter in-line four cylinder, turbo fuel-injected gasoline engine boasting of the company’s trademark Blue motion technology and is Euro-6 compliant.
It produces 150 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 250 N-m of torque at 3,500 rpm. When the Tiguan was first shown in the US, its engine was paired with an electric motor for more power and better efficiency. But, even without the electric motor, it produces wonderful thrust at the slightest tap of the accelerator pedal, and is capable of shaming vehicles with bigger engines at the stoplight. It is also very smooth and economical, averaging more than 8 kilometer to a liter in city driving and double that on the highway. No doubt, the start/stop function that is similar to Mazda’s skyactiv system helps in this regard.
The six-speed DSG transmission, meanwhile, rarely hunts for gears in both city and highway driving. The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering has a good feel, especially at high speed.
The suspension soaked up most road undulations and only got ruffled by big potholes. The ride is Euro firm, and is a perfect match with its handling, which inspires confidence when cornering.
The Tiguan felt very solid, just like the other VW vehicles that I tested in the past. The only downside is its price, as the unit that I tested is priced at P2.259 million, which makes it downright expensive when compared to the offerings of its Japanese counterparts.
But, it’s still way more affordable when compared to its German brethren.