A high seating position paired with safety and comfort: these, according to Volkswagen, are the attributes of SUVs that inspire many customers, and perhaps that’s why SUVs are the fastest growing body style worldwide, recording an increase of around 30 per cent in the last year.
The A-SUV segment alone, to which the new VW Tiguan belongs, is growing tremendously and forecasts for the next four years suggest a further global growth of more than two million vehicles.
Volkswagen introduced the original Tiguan in 2007 and has sold some 2.8 million vehicles worldwide.
Now, the German car giant is beginning to systematically extend its range of SUVs globally, starting with the new Tiguan, which has just arrived in Cyprus. This is the first new Volkswagen SUV to sit on the innovative and flexible MQB platform – which also underpins the class-leading Golf – and signals the start of a comprehensive SUV offensive which will see the brand represented in all core SUV segments by the end of this decade.
A show car recently presented in Geneva, the T-Cross Breeze SUV convertible, offered a first glimpse at a future model. Volkswagen has developed the Tiguan with two wheelbases, so as to fulfil the demand for seven seats and more leg room in certain markets such as the USA and China. A mid-size SUV for these markets is also in the starting blocks.
There’s a choice in Cyprus of three new petrol variants, with power outputs from 125 PS to 150 PS, and five new diesel models ranging from 115 PS to 150 PS. Three trim levels are available: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. All engines are EU6-compliant – they are more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the comparable EU5 engines of the previous model. The diesel engines feature SCR catalytic converter technology, using the AdBlue additive.
I took the 2-litre TDI 4Motion (all-wheel-drive) version (with Comfortline trim) on an extensive test drive both on and off road, and was impressed by its agility both on the tarmac and gravel roads.
The seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox (DSG) can be over-ridden manually if desired, but is set up well and I can’t see that anyone would want to go manual very often: the automatic shifts are smooth and hardly noticeable.
Don’t expect a ‘sporty’ drive – rather it’s a quiet, comfortable, yet still engaging motoring experience – in fact, just what owners of this type of vehicle are probably looking for; and the extra space that’s been squeezed into the interior makes for a roomy ride for rear seat passengers too.
All round visibility was excellent and the ride was balanced, with no discernible roll on heavy cornering and enough feedback to keep the driver engaged.
The cockpit is now aligned towards the driver ‘for better comfort and without constricting or disturbing the airy impression of the interior’. At the same time, the wider centre console typical of SUVs is paired with the new 4Motion Active Control rotary switch. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system defaults to front-wheel drive, but it can send torque to all wheels in just fractions of a second when needed.
The new car’s interior is 26 mm longer than previously, making it one of the most spacious in its class. At the rear, three passengers now enjoy 29 mm more knee room and, despite its lower overall height, the vehicle has been designed to offer more headroom. Seat height was raised 8 mm and the car also offers a sliding rear bench that was optimised to permit 180 mm of adjustment – 20 mm more than in the previous model. When the rear bench is slid forwards, the boot offers 615 litres of space – a gain of 145 litres. When the rear bench is folded, the vehicle’s 1,655 litres of boot volume is enough for all manner of large loads.
When it comes to aerodynamics, the new Tiguan has a Cd figure that’s 13 per cent better than its predecessor. This has been achieved by sculpting an aerodynamically shaped car body as well as by using an optimised underbody concept. Compared with models that have EU5 engines, the weight of the new car has also been reduced (by up to 53 kg).
New to the compact class is the Active Info Display, familiar from the Passat, and now with SUV-specific instruments. In combination with the display of the radio or navigation system this creates a virtual, flexible human-machine interface (HMI) whose displays complement one another. Six different views may be selected for the 12.3-inch Active Info Display. New in the Tiguan is an off-road display profile with steering angle indicator and compass that was specially designed for the car.
The cockpit is now aligned towards the driver ‘for better comfort and without constricting or disturbing the airy impression of the interior’
The new three-zone climate control system offers personalised climate comfort for driver and passengers, while the air quality sensor with allergen filter prevents hazardous materials from entering the car’s interior. Sun and humidity sensors also help to achieve optimal climate control in the interior and regulate air humidity, thereby reducing the incidence of window fogging.
The two-wheel-drive entry level 1.4 TSI is powered by a 1390cc engine which takes you from 0-100km/h in 10.5 seconds and uses six litres of fuel per 100km in the combined cycle. The best sellers are expected to be the two litre diesel variants with all-wheel-drive and either six-speed manual or 7-speed DSG transmission. They take 9.3 seconds to sprint to 100 km/h, and return combined fuel consumption of 5.6 litres per 100 km.
All versions have a Stop/Start system which saves fuel by cutting the engine when the car is stopped and automatically starting it again when the accelerator is touched. Electronic Stability Control, ABS, Anti-Spin Regulation (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock and Forward Collision Warning Front Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring are all standard features.
The interior finish is pretty classy – there’s not too much hard plastic, and it’s been ergonomically designed to make life easy for both the driver and passengers, with almost all the necessary functions and switches on the wide centre console or the steering wheel. Naturally it has all the usual storage pockets and cup holders – and rear seat passengers have a small airline-style table they can pull out from the back of the front seats.
Prices start at €23,900 for the entry level 1.4 TSI, up to €35,600 for the top of the range 2 litre TDI ith DSG and Highline trim.
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