Volkswagen Tiguan: Things We Like And Things We Don't
Having showcased their new SUV at the 2016 Auto Expo, Volkswagen India finally launched the Tiguan in May this year. While the Comfortline variant is priced at Rs 27.98 lakh, the top-spec Highline variant is priced at Rs 31.38 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Although the Tiguan is quite expensive when compared to its direct rival, the Hyundai Tucson, it does justify the price tag with additional features. Now, after driving the Tiguan on Indian soil, here’s a list of things we like and don't like about Volkswagen's new SUV.
Things We Like
1. Luxury Brand Quality At A Better price
The second-gen Tiguan is based on Volkswagen Group's MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform which also underpins other cars from the group like the Skoda Superb and the Audi A3. Not only is the Tiguan assembled at the same plant as the other two, it also shares many components and other luxury bits like premium interior trims too. The quality of materials used in the Tiguan are top-notch and so is the switchgear and the plastic bits which feel soft to touch. The seats and the flat-bottom steering wheel are wrapped in Vienna leather, adding to the Tiguan’s luxury quotient.
2. Classy Design And Rock Solid Build Quality
The Tiguan looks more like a station waggon than a full-sized SUV. Its design is simple and understated, but that doesn't mean it's boring. In fact, people who like their luxury cars to be discreet will take an instant liking to the Tiguan. Apart from the curved wheel arches, every other panel is complimented by straight lines on the outside. Like many VW cars, it has an evergreen design that will age well. The sturdy build quality provides a reassuring sense of solidity every time you open or shut the doors.
3. Strong Standard Equipment List
The Tiguan offers a lot of features as standard. The Comfortline variant is equipped with features like automatic full-LED headlamps with daytime running lights (DRLs), three-zone climate control, electrically-adjustable, heated driver's seat with memory function, curtain and side airbags, touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and electrically-operated tailgate.
If you reach a bit deeper into your pocket and get the Highline variant instead, you will get many additional features such as 18-inch alloy wheels with self-sealing tyres, LED taillamps, panoramic sunroof with LED surround lighting, reverse parking camera and push button stop/start. If you want similar features in any other entry-level luxury SUV, you’ll be asked to tick a lot of boxes or opt for the top-spec variant instead. This will drive the price well above Rs 40 lakh. Thus, the Tiguan makes a case for itself by being one of the best value-for-money offerings in its segment.
4. Spacious And Practical Interior
The Tiguan’s cabin strikes a good balance between form and function. You get a front centre armrest which has a large storage space for phones and wallets. The driver's seat is electrically-adjustable and heated with memory function. The glove box has magnetic slots to hold loose change. You can also control the settings of the Tiguan through the touchscreen infotainment system.
Step into the rear, and you immediately take note of how spacious and comfortable the rear bench is with plenty of room for your knees. Rear passengers get separate controls for the air-conditioning and foldable trays too. Although the Tiguan is wide enough to accommodate three passengers at the rear, the protruding rear AC vent and the high hump on the floor can be slightly intrusive for the middle occupant.
5. All-wheel Drive
The Tiguan comes with all-wheel drive as standard. It has two driving modes, Road and Off-road which further have different sub-modes. The Off-road mode even has an individual mode where you can customise the setting for the steering, drivetrain and the four-wheel-drive system. It’s not a purpose-built off-roader like the Toyota Fortuner or the Ford Endeavour, but if you ever get into some tricky terrain, the Tiguan has what it takes to get you out safely. It’s also a major reason why the Tiguan is more expensive than the Tucson, which currently is only offered with front-wheel drive.
6. Engine Refinement
The Tiguan is powered by a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine which produces 143PS of max power and 340Nm of peak torque. This is a familiar engine as it also powers other cars from Volkswagen Group in India. It is coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission with paddle shifters. The engine is very refined, and while idling, you won't even feel the vibrations. The engine feels like a car from a segment or two above. As you rev the engine, its note gets sweeter and it feels at home. Also, the gear shifts are quick and precise.
Things We Don't Like
1. Feels Like Any Other VW On The Inside
Even though the Tiguan’s cabin feels premium, there is an overbearing sense of familiarity. At this price point, you’d want a car that makes you feel special. Sadly, the familiar nature of the cabin fails to make the Tiguan unique. When you are aiming for a sizeable chunk of the market share for luxury SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1, the interior needs to stand out at first glance.
2. Touchscreen Resolution Could've Been Better
This may seem like nitpicking and to be honest, we are. The touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use and offers a healthy amount of information and connectivity options. However, like the interior, it looks like something you’d find in any other VW model and we do wish it offered a better resolution, just to add to the feel good factor if nothing else. Also, it does support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but lacks an in-built navigation system. Navigation can only be used via the aforementioned Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
3. Steering Could’ve Been Sharper, Brakes Need More Bite
Overall, the Tiguan does offer a balanced ride and handling package, which makes it comfortable when you’re being driven and fairly engaging when you’re driving yourself. Even the steering feels great to grip and it is reasonably responsive, but it could do with a little more feel. Also, the brakes need to be more communicative. There’s adequate bite on offer, but they tend to fall short in feel.
Must See: Volkswagen Tiguan: First Drive Review
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