Volkswagen with its new Tiguan is driving another nail in the coffin of the family saloon. The SUV market is growing at a huge rate across Europe and while I was never any good at maths 100% is a finite amount and SUVs share is growing and the dependable saloon car is starting to lose out. The writing is on the wall or tailgate of the SUV in front of you and after a week in a Tiguan I would have it before a spec’ed up Jetta or a Passat in a heartbeat.
The driving position is commanding and the ride comfort very good. The exterior has been sharpened and is very smart looking. The bonnet creases are beautifully engineered and almost sharp to the touch! Other subtle but noticeable design touches like the door handles that sits in a body line crease as per the latest Passat add a touch of class. The grille and front end is elegant and even the daytime running lights are impressive. The rear gets a broader tailgate that looks much better and has better access to boot (see what I did there… sorry!). The first Tiguan was over priced in Ireland and dull – if it was a colour it would be beige. The new Tiguan has a more desirable sharper look that looks more like a premium offering.
Tiguan sits on VW’s MQB adaptable modular platform. Tiguan is wider and longer than the original model. The rear of the cabin is now more versatile thanks to a sliding rear bench. The launch engine range has one 125hp petrol and a 2 litre diesel with 150hp that will be joined by a higher output 2 litres with 190hp and 240hp plus there will be a GTE hybrid too. 4Motion all wheel drive is available although two wheel drive versions will be the big sellers. Manual and DSG gearboxes feature.
Our Highline test car had lots of toys but the digital instrument display stood out as being particularly attractive… not quite as nice as sister company Audi’s Active Cockpit but it is something the bigger selling Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson haven’t got.
The headline grabbing price is €29,790 for the 1.4 litre petrol powered Trendline VW Tiguan… but no one buys the bog standard model. Comfortline is always the popular grade (from €33,765) and there is a cool sporty R Line trim as well but Volkswagen Ireland has been doing a lot of up selling and with attractive finance deals getting customers to go in to Highline models – the version dealers love to see coming back as trade-ins as they are so easy to sell on. My Highline front wheel drive test car featured a manual gearbox. Power was from the diesel 150hp 2 litre TDI we know well from other VW products. CO2 is 125g/km – so its sits in tax band B1. The OTR (on the road) price is €36,790 and the equipment levels are pretty good with 18 inch alloys, LED headlights, winter pack, multi-function steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane assist to name a few of the creature comforts and safety aids. Nice ‘Deep Black Pearl Effect’ paint for €599 brought our car’s total to €37,389. A 115hp 2 litre TDI is on the way and will, we expect, be the big seller.
On the road the ride impresses. It’s a smooth, quiet and comfortable machine. I never felt the desire to give it the beans but when I did it felt competent if not overly inspiring. You will feel good though behind the wheel of new Tiguan, and that bit superior to anyone in a Japanese or Korean offering.