Volkswagen Tiguan Comfortline 132TSI and thoughtfully designed, beautifully made and polished mid-size SUV
What is it?
The second generation Volkswagen Tiguan, tested here in mid-spec Comfortline trim with the punchy 132TSI petrol motor. The Tiguan slots into one of the busiest and most competitive segments in the market, and goes up against the likes of the excellent Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Renault Koleos, Subaru Forester, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4 and Holden Equinox.
So the Tiguan needs to be good if it is to find its way onto driveways.
What’s it cost?
Volkswagen offers the Tiguan in a number of trim levels and engine choices to appease a wide range of buyers with different needs and budgets. The range kicks off with the 110TSI Trendline manual with front wheel drive, which is priced from $31,990 plus on roads and extends all the way to the Tiguan Wolfsburg Edition, which has a recommended sticker price of $55,490 plus on roads.
Our test car, a 132TSI Comfortline slots somewhere in the middle with a list price of $41,990 plus on road coats. Key standard equipment includes climate control, satellite navigation, a plethora of airbags, a reversing camera, lane keep assist and departure warning, front and rear emergency braking, pedestrian detection, tyre pressure monitoring and an electronic diff lock. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fitted for extra convenience, along with a heap of clever storage cubbies. More on these later.
Our test car was fitted with the $2,200 Driver Assistance Package, which features are sharp digital instrumentation display, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring with active assistance and a front a rear camera system.
What’s it go like?
Refinement is the Tiguan’s key calling card. Performance from that 2.0 litre turbocharged engine that develops [email protected],000rpm and 320Nm @ 1500-3940rpm is commendable, offering a broad power band that makes for swift overtaking and relaxed cruising. The 2.0 litre engine is paired to Volkswagen’s seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG), which sends power to the 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The DSG was a delight with gear changes being slick and pretty much imperceptible.
Minimal engine noise filters through to the cabin and only when you’re really pressing on does the power plant makes itself heard. It’s a similar story with road noise, very little can be heard inside.
Ride quality is firm, with a focus on comfort and as such, is never jarring or unpleasant. This tautness is reflected in the handling, which is always poised and composed.
The front and rear camera system that forms part of the Driver Assistance pack made parking a doddle and image clarity on the centrally screen was crystal clear. The adaptive cruise control system was quick to respond to changing traffic conditions.
The Driver Assistance Pack is a worthy option, and we found each of its technologies useful, but we feel that VW should make the pack standard to further enhance the appeal of the Tiguan 132 TSI to prospective customers.
Overall, the Tiguan 132TSI is a polished and classy small SUV to drive.
What’s it like inside?
People who buy small SUVs generally – not always! – have a couple of children. And with children come an array of different paraphernalia, ranging from food to iPads to various different toys. Slip inside the Tiguan’s cabin and you’ll soon discover that Volkswagen’s designers had families and all their gear in mind. The array of different storage compartments throughout the interior are impressive. There are decent-sized roof mounted cubbies that could swallow a whole variety of different oddments.
Feeling hungry up the back? Then enjoy your feast on the airline-style tray tables that emerge from the backrests of the front seats. You needn’t worry about drink spillage either, the tray tables have built in cup holders. Thoughtful stuff.
The rear bench is firm and supportive in a Teutonic sort of way, and rear leg and headroom is more than adequate. Occupants sit up high too, giving them a commanding view of outside.
Up the front, the dashboard design is simply designed and sensibly laid out. We liked the infotainment system for both its ease of use and the quality of the system design, graphics and animations. The stereo wasn’t half bad, either, serving up good sound quality and power.
That optional digital instrument cluster is a must have. It has a huge amount of configurable settings, each of them easy on the eye. We particularly like how the satellite navigation mapping and instructions can be displayed in the instrument cluster, reducing the amount of time the driver is taking their eyes off the road when trying to make their way to a less-than-familiar destination.
The satellite navigation voice itself was unusual, with her accent a seeming combination of English and German.
As per the rear, the two occupants sit up high, giving both passengers that towering driving position for which many SUVs are purchased.
Around the back, lift up the manually operated tailgate and you get a handy 615 litres of boot space with the seats folded up, and a cavernous 1655 litres with the seats folded down.
In sum, the Tiguan Comfortline interior may not be overly exciting, but it is intelligently designed, beautifully executed and optimised to customer needs.
What we like:
- Clever interior design
- Drivetrain refinement
What we don’t:
- It’s not cheap
- Drive Assistance Pack should come standard
- Cloth trim looks a little low rent but feels hardwearing
- A power tailgate would be nice
Smart, clever and svelte, the Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline holds its own in the small SUV segment.