Once at the forefront of the compact AWD SUV class recent additions such as the Mazda CX5, Kia Sportage and Hyundai IX35 have seen the VW Tiguan relegated to the second tier of choice. To combat this VW has recently released an updated version.
It has distinct family looks with similar frontal and rear design to its bigger brother the Touareg, and crisp lines front to back. It certainly ticks the style box.
Internally it is also distinctively VW with familiar dash, centre stack and console. The manually adjustable cloth driver seat is comfortable enough however it has an upright driving position that places a strain on the right foot after a while. I found myself getting cramps in the right ankle and really no way to adjust the seat to avoid it.
In front of the driver is a comfortable leather steering wheel that is tilt and reach adjustable and contains the controls for the multi-function display and the stereo. The dash has clear instruments with the multi-function display in the centre. The centre stack houses the radio with the sat nav RNS 510 a whopping $3,700 as an option. At least it now has Bluetooth.
There is reasonable storage space in the centre console and the door pockets for drinks, water bottles and all the little things we all seem to accumulate.
The rear seat has adequate leg room but the squab is a little flat. The seats are a 60:40 split bench that can be adjusted forwards and backwards by up to 16 cm and also reclined, while cargo capacity ranges from 395 to 1,510
Safety features include high passenger safety with daytime driving lights, six airbags; safety optimised front head restraints, ABS, Auto Hold function, BA and EBD, ASR, EDL, ESP and EBC as standard.
Other standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, AM/FM security coded radio (RCD310) with MP3 compatible CD player, Bluetooth® phone connectivity as well as Media Device Interface (MDI).
The Tiguan is powered by a 2.0L TDI turbocharged diesel engine that produces max power 103kW @ 4200rpm and max torque 320Nm @ 1750-2500rpm. This was mated to 7-speed DSG with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. This economical unit uses a measly 6.4 L/100Km. Assisting with the economy are new features such as Stop/Start, Coasting Function (only available for Tiguan 103TDI DSG) and Brake Energy Recuperation
However compared to others in its market segment it is underpowered and the DSG transmission can be a little fussy and indecisive down low and around town. Also worth noting is the fact that this engine was the subject of a massive recall in the USA with over 480,000 being recalled?
Even though the latest release Tiguan has addressed a few of its shortcomings it still remains as a second tier choice for a compact AWD SUV. It has a poor towing ability, is quite choppy on dirt tracks and underpowered compared to its competitors. There is still a question mark over VW reliability. In addition to that it has a long and expensive options list.
What is good:
• Fit and finish
What is not so good:
• Underpowered with fussy DSG
• Poor towing ability
• Expensive options
Model VW Tiguan 103 TDi 7 Sp DSG
Model Price $43,275 RDAP
Drivetrain 103 TDi 7 Sp DSG 4Motion
Power 103 Kw @ 4,200 rpm
Torque 320 Nm @ 1,750–2,500 rpm
Safety 5 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions g/km 164
Green Vehicle Rating 3 ½ Star
Fuel (ADR comb) 6.2 L/100Km
Tow Capacity – Max 2000 kg
Tow Ball Rating 100 kg
Servicing Not Supplied
Warranty 3yr/ unlimited km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 59/100
Behind the Wheel 7
Ride & Handling 7
Fit for Purpose 5
Towing Ability 3
Off Road Ability 4
Value for Money 6