Volkswagen cars today in general are pretty good and well thought which most of them are able to meet the needs of everyday use with useful amounts of performance and practicality. The exterior may look antiseptic vis-à-vis to Japanese brands, – depending on personal tastes as well – the Volkswagen Tiguan is actually far from that.
The latest generation Tiguan comes in two trims, Comfortline and Highline, which you see here in pictures. Being at the top of the range, the Highline comes with all of the goodies, like LED headlights with LED daytime running lamps, chrome roof rails, electric tailgate, 18-inch ‘Kingston’ alloy wheels which sets it apart from the Comfortline version.
Both cars do come with chrome grilles, but the only way to tell the difference is by the amount used. The Comfortline only gets a hint at the bottom end, while the Highline gets it throughout. Other notable features are heat insulated windshield and rear windows, LED taillights and licence plate lights, front and rear fog lamps, side mirrors with integrated turn signals which are foldable with environment lighting and curb view to see where you’re backing up into. There are automatic wipers and headlights with ‘Leaving Home’ function, too.
The exterior design of the current Tiguan is a step up from the previous version when it comes to judging its size; the Tiguan is now bigger albeit slightly lower. The wheelbase is now 77mm longer, which are an additional 55mm and 30mm wider. It is now 23mm shorter but the difference in height is not evident inside.
The Tiguan can be said to be spacious where the legroom is now more generous which can sit three adults comfortably without grieving on not having enough head and legroom. When there is a need to ferry young children around, there are ISOFIX anchor points available on each sides. The anchor points come with insertion guides allowing easy, tears-free installation.
Besides space, the rear occupants have useful cubbies to stow their items away in the deep and wide door pockets and the retractable centre armrest, which you can put two water bottles in. Like in the old Tiguan, rear passengers get to have their own foldable tables located behind the front seats.
3-zone climate control allows passengers to adjust to their preferred temperature, which can be done via the climate control at the front and at the rear. The driver can adjust temps in all three zones via the 8-inch Discover Media Pro system too.
The Vienna combination animal skin seats are comfortable to sit on with plenty of options to fit all. Driver gets a memory 12-way electrically adjustable seat with lumbar support – with three memory presets – and the passenger gets a mechanically adjustable seat. The front seats have tall side bolsters that provide good lateral support without sacrificing body movements especially when getting in or out of the vehicle, which in a way could help to increase the lifetime of the material.
Now with a slight growth spurt, the latest Tiguan’s boot space has supersedes the previous model of 470-litres and 1510-litres with all rear seats folded down at 615-litres with the 40:20:40 sliding rear seats up and grows up to 1655-litres when folded down. To make life easier, the range topping Highline benefits from an automatic tailgate, which can open and close via the key fob, or simply by pressing a button in between the licence plate lights. Other notable features found in the boot are the quick seat releases located on both sides, deep and wide cubbies located at the two ends, grocery bag hooks and cargo net hooks.
There’s more, the front occupants do get their own large and deep door cubbies – like in all Volkswagen models – likewise in the centre armrest, a wide trapezoidal cubbie with switchable drinks holders and under the climate control interface with a 12V socket, a Auxiliary and USB ports. Also, there’s a cubby on the dashboard, too.
The interior is well assembled with good fit and finish with an impressively upmarket aura with easy to reach button placements. They have a premium feel to the touch with good tactile feedback and doesn’t feel cheap. The DSG gear selector feels great to tug against and hold on to when the retractable centre armrest is set at a comfortable position. The steering wheel feels good to the touch with high levels of adjustability that allow drivers to find their driving sweet spot.
Range-toppers always get all of the goodies, the Highline trim comes with the 12-inch Active Info Display (AID), a fully digital instrument display – also featured in the Passat Highline – providing a long list of current driving information at the touch of a button.
Drivers can switch up to six different interface configurations: Classic, which only displays the rev and speedometer; Speed & gear, displays the gear position and driving speed in digits; Consumption & range provides the average fuel consumption of the day and range before the petrol tank runs dry; Efficiency likewise provides average fuel consumption figure but with an “eco” gauge to better judge frugal driving habits; Navigation provides elevation and a compass to see where you’re heading, and Offroad that shows the steering angle and the pitch and roll of the vehicle in real time.
The range-topping Tiguan is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged direct injection TSI engine, producing an output of 147hp, with a maximum torque output of 250Nm and paired with the engine is the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission, which makes it possible for the Tiguan Highline to achieve a frugal fuel consumption figure of 4.8l/100km as tested. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission is not the Tiguan’s weakest link as most might argue, but on the contrary it’s the Tiguan Highline’s tour de force.
Most sports cars come fitted with Launch Control, but in an SUV? The VW Tiguan Highline comes with it as standard, and can be done so by pressing and holding the traction control (ASR) button for two seconds and move the shift lever to the “S” position.
Once that is done, put your left foot on the brake paddle while your right foot down to the floor, once the AID says, “Launch Control is Active” as the revs sticks at 3,100 rpm, simply release the brake pedal and the Tiguan will reach 100 km/h in a reasonable 9.8 seconds as tested. Having such a feature shows that the company is confident that the DSG gearbox can take the daily abuse.
The 1.4 TSI petrol engine is especially smooth even when being worked hard, and it is still muted at a cruise and far from raucous when accelerating. The six-speed DSG gearbox provides progressive and seamless drive to its front wheels, with each gearshift being smooth with adequate gear ratios complementing the engine’s output with a maximum cruising speed of 160km/h at 3,000 rpm in sixth.
The Tiguan handles more like a conventional hatchback than many of its compact SUV rivals; it is genuinely enjoyable to drive and does not intimidate. The steering is light but precise, which makes the car easy to place on the road with a small turning radius. When introduced to some corners, the Tiguan does not roll too much through corners and all versions have plenty of grip.
By small SUV standards, the VW Tiguan rides well indeed. It smoothes over bumps, yet the suspension is still firm enough to stop the body from rolling and bouncing up and down too much along undulating roads. The big allow wheels can unsettle the Tiguan a little over patched up and broken tarmac – but compared with its key rivals, the Tiguan fares pretty well. But one thing is for sure that it will take a lot of effort to completely unsettle the car.
Both driver and passengers can enjoy travelling on long road trips in the VW Tiguan Highline, and what’s more is that the driver can enjoy its forgiving yet agile handling characteristics with the punchy turbocharged 1.4-litre engine providing power and torque be it in town or on the open road. The new Tiguan Highline is a car that you can definitely live with every day cocooned in comfort and practicality.
Besides the much improved seven-speed DSG transmission, the brand has improved a lot since; Volkswagen Malaysia has came fifth overall in the J.D Power Survey Customer Service Index (CSI) Study recently based on the feedback from randomly chosen existing customers. That being said, if you do opt for one, you will be getting Volkswagen’s 5 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty, 5 Years roadside service with 15,000km service schedule.
+ Contemporary VW design
+ Frugal Fuel Consumption
+ Punchy 1.4-litre engine
+ Fun to drive
+ Upmarket interior
+ Launch control
Volkswagen Tiguan Highline
Price Msia: RM169,578.00 (OTR W/ Insurance)
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged in-line four-cylinder
Top Speed: 202km/h (Tested)
Fuel consumption: 4.8 litres/100km (Tested)