New Tiguan ditches its ‘mom’s taxi’ look

MAKEOVER MAGIC: Volkswagen’s new Tiguan, pictured here with the optional R-Line package, is a real head-turner Picture: MOTORPRESS
MAKEOVER MAGIC: Volkswagen’s new Tiguan, pictured here with the optional R-Line package, is a real head-turner Picture: MOTORPRESS
It's amazing what a makeover can do. Take the new Volkswagen Tiguan, for example. Now in its second generation, the vehicle has been transformed from a “very nice-looking” family SUV into a real stunner that is turning more than its fair share of heads.

The new model has received a complete overhaul from the ground up and it shows.

Gone is the mom’s taxi look of old and in its place stands a handsome and muscular looking SUV.

The Tiguan was introduced to South Africa in 2008 and has sold in excess of 19000 units, firmly establishing itself as a family favourite. Expect even bigger things of the new model – not only because it is bigger (in both length and breadth) – but because it has been improved in all facets.

Only three models are currently available. A 1.4 TSI Trendline manual (R378000), a 1.4 TSI Comfortline manual (R419000) and the range- topping (for now) 1.4 TSI Comfortline DSG (R457680). The latter produces an impressive 110kW of power while the other two both produce 92kW. Three 2.0l TDI models offering different power outputs and a 2.0l turbocharged petrol powered Tiguan (162kW) are expected to reach our shores soon.

Dispatch Motoring was recently supplied with a six-speed manual 1.4 TSI Comfortline model fitted with a host of optional extras and a R-Line package, which gives the SUV a sportier look and feel. The R-Line package is also available on Highline models and includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a lower suspension, rear spoiler and some exterior changes.

The optional extras included a panoramic sunroof, auto opening and closing boot lid, DynAudio sound package, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights and App Connect.

Standard features supplied across the range include electric windows, air con, satellite controls on the steering wheel, cruise control and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

Viewed from the front, the “face” of the Tiguan is dominated by the grille, headlights and an aggressive-looking air intake incorporated into the front bumper. A high waistline ends with a muscular looking rear end which is neat and uncluttered.

Although the 92kW 1.4-litre turbcharged engine has to power a relatively big vehicle, it is no slouch and completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 10.5 seconds and goes on to reach a top speed of 190 km/h. Even with a full house of two adults, three children and some bags it still got the job done adequately.

The Tiguan is a great example of what a South African family vehicle should be. Although ride comfort was on the firm side, it’s light on fuel (6.1l/100km claimed), spacious and rugged enough to tackle the odd dirt road or pothole-littered main street when needed.

When they do arrive, two of the diesel models and the 2.0l turbocharged petrol model will feature all wheel drive, improving off-road capabilities.

Legroom for passengers occupying the rear bench seat – which can be slid forwards or backwards – was plentiful and my kids were particularly impressed with the fold-down trays attached to the back seats which could be placed at an angle to hold tablets. For larger items the rear seats fold down in a 40/20/40 split increasing luggage carrying capacity significantly.

The Tiguan is pitched against the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Rav4 and Nissan Qashqai, all highly capable in their own rights. But I believe Volkswagen has got the combination of style, quality and performance right that will see the Tiguan win over a lot of buyers. —

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