Volkswagen in India has had it’s ups and downs since it entered the market. They had introduced their mighty SUV, the Touareg in India initially, but later had to pull plugs on it. India lately, has seen a trend for Mini-SUVs or Compact SUVs (compact crossover) and going with this trend Volkswagen showcased its Compact SUV- the Tiguan, at the last Auto Expo. Going into the past of the Tiguan, this CUV, as Volkswagen calls it, was first introduced in 2007 and first showcased at the 2006 LA Auto Show. The 1st Generaton Tiguan used the PQ35 platform. Currently in its 2nd generation, the Tiguan becomes the 1st car based on the MQB platform of the Volkswagen Group to enter India. We drive this latest German Compact SUV, covering 600kms in two days, from the Garden City of Bangalore to the Coffee Town of Chikmagalur in Karnataka, to get you this extensive road-test review.
Food For Thought
The Tiguan was first manufactured at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant, and later also in Russia and China. Currently the Tiguan for India is built at the Aurangabad plant of Volkswagen, which also builds Audis and Skodas. A total of 3.5 million Tiguans have been sold globally since its launch in 2007. The 2nd Generation Tiguan made its debut at the 2016 Frankfurt Motorshow.
The Tiguan at first look, comes across as a very classy and unmistakably European-looking premium Crossover SUV. The design and styling is well proportioned with the Volkswagen family face, but in premium form. The face comes with the center grill that has three horizontal strips, two in chrome and the middle one in glossy black. On the background you have the metal studs that are placed at even distance. The large Volkswagen Logo placed in the middle on this grill completes its design.
The headlights come in a slightly angular design and get full LED lighting along with DRL (day time running) and LED turn light neatly integrated. The headlights give a lot of premium appeal to the face of the car. The front bumper too, gets a lot of angular design lines, an air dam placed low with a honeycomb grill and a neat looking thin chrome strip running across this air dam. The bumper also gets low placed fog lamps and integrated cornering lights. The lower section of the bumper is left unpainted in black to go with the SUV Crossover theme. The bonnet comes with neatly creased flowing body lines that have a backwards flow, towards the windshield.
The sides of the Tiguan are its highlight and we liked this profile angle a lot. The sharp waistline that runs across the door handles mating around the tail lights looks extremely classy. The glass area gets a neat looking chrome belt around them, highlighting their size and roominess. The A-Pillar gets a glossy blacked out coating while the lower section of the sides get mat black fiber cladding for highlighting that SUV look. The fenders too, come with fiber body cladding on them.
Wing mirrors get full LED turn lights and are mounted on the doors. The roof gets a sturdy looking roof rail along with a full panoramic sun/moon roof to go with it. Glossy black radio antenna completes the beauty aspect for the roof area. The Tiguan Highline drives on 235/55 R18 spec Hankook tyres mounted on R18 Kingston multispoked alloys. The rear profile of the Tiguan has some interesting bits, the angular shaped flushed in-body LED tail lights look highly different and classy.
The bootlid has a lot of angular design lines and the rear bumper gets a chrome insert making it look premium along with two slim design stop reflectors mounted on. The lower section of the rear bumper is also left unpainted in matt black completing the SUV Crossover theme. The rear glass gets a extended body spoiler along with LED stop light. The boot lid comes with an electric open and close feature, that can be activated using the button on the boot or the key remote. Also, the boot lid gets 4 Motion logo on it reminding you that this is an All Wheel Drive vehicle.
The Tiguan has a stated ground clearance of 149mm, yes… we were shocked to know this but later Volkswagen engineers told us the new way of calculating the GC is after loading the vehicle with 5 passengers and also loading the boot and hence it is 149mm of Minimum Ground clearance. The body styling on the Tiguan is subtle and very premium. The Side profile does remind you of the BMW X1 or the X3 due to the sharp body lines at time. The overall build quality is extremely high with excellent quality of paint and galvanized body panels used. The Tiguan does have a lot of distinct road presence and gets noticed wherever it’s driven to.
Step inside the Tiguan and you will notice the angular design theme seen on the outside continuing inside too. The all black cabin compliments the sporty off road theme of the vehicle. The dash is made of the soft rubbery material that the premium cars come with. The Tiguan comes with a flat bottom leather-wrapped 3 spoke steering seen on other Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda range of cars. This steering has manual adjust for height and reach and gets all the multi function control buttons on it, the steering also comes with paddle shifters.
The instrument cluster is a twin round pod with a LCD display in the middle. Neat, red needles run on the speedo and RPM While the center display reads out all the needed drive info including tyre pressure etc. The center dash gets a 8-inch touch-screen infotainment display that also doubles up as a screen for the reverse parktronics. This is the latest generation infotainment unit that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity along with the usual USB, Bluetooth audio, Radio CD etc. What is sorely missed in this unit is the presence of inbuilt maps. You can connect Google Maps using an Android phone, but not so using an Apple phone. There should have been an independent app for maps loaded in the console.
The Tiguan comes with a three zone climate control with individual temperature setting for the rear AC vents. The center console gets the typical DSG gear shifter along with a few control buttons placed besides it for electric hand brake, hill hold, ESP Off and parktronics. The Start/Stop button is also placed on this console. The Tiguan gets the rotary dial for the drive control that is placed behind the DSG shifter along with the 4Motion logo.
The seats come with all black leather upholstery. The driver’s seat gets all electric adjust for height, tilt and reach along with memory function. The front passenger seat gets manual adjust. The front seats come with heating function though we would have preferred a cooling function instead, more suited to Indian conditions. There is a closable storage space between the front seats that also doubles up as the center armrest for the front occupants. Front seats are XXL in size, offering extremely generous comfort levels and very good road visibility from them. The rear seats comes with a foldable center armrest.
Seating at the rear is very comfortable with a near to perfect incline for the backrest and perfect seat countering. Generous amount of leg room, head room and shoulder room is available with 5 passengers seated inside the Tiguan. Rear passengers also get a pair of foldable trays placed on the back of the front seats. The door pads and the dash get the faux carbon fiber inserts that look neat. The door panels also get the ambient lighting strips neatly tucked in them and also on the sides of the panoramic sun/moon roof, a real neat and clever touch.
Fit and finish is top class and the overall feel inside the cabin is premium with typical German precision and high quality. The switches have a typical click and feel like the premium brands and you instantly realize their high craftsmanship. The Tiguan comes with a boot capacity of 615 Litres that can be further extended to 1655 litres with rear seats folded down.
The Volkswagen Tiguan that is available in India comes powered with a 2.0Liter 4 cylinder TDI diesel engine that makes 143ps @ 4000rpm and belts out 340Nm of torque between the 1750-2750rpm.This is the latest generation engine (EA288) that also powers the Audi Q3 but in a slightly more powerful state of tune. Incidentally, the Tiguan becomes the 1st Volkswagen car in India to get the EA288 series of engine. The transmission department is taken care by the tried, trusted and well known 7-speed Dual Clutch (DQ500 DSG) unit. The AWD unit is an Haldex system that works intelligently, transferring power and torque as the situation demands.
Button -Start the engine and you notice the refinement levels of this new engine as compared to the older one. Shift to drive mode and you realize the power that this 2.0L motor has to offer. It glides ahead in style and grace and the DSG transmission shifts brilliantly without any fuss or jitter. You also have a choice of shifting via the paddle shifter or tip-tronic mode and there also is a Sport mode for the shifter. Power builds up quickly and the sweet spot for this motor is between the 1600-3200rpm.
High speed stability is excellent and then you have the 4Motion drive modes to play with. You can toggle between Normal, Snow, Offroad, Offroad Individual (Programmable). The suspension set up is perfect for our roads and driving conditions, and the Tiguan soaks up almost all the shocks of the bad roads. Body roll is minimal and the steering feedback is lively which changes as you toggle between the drive modes. Driving the Tiguan in traffic is effortless thanks to it’s not so large dimensions. Overall, it does impress in the driving dynamics department.
The Tiguan comes loaded with a long list of safety features. You get 6 Airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, Active Hood with Pedestrian Safety, Hill Descent Control, Hill Hold to name a few.
Should you buy one? This would be the question coming to your mind right now. Well, the Tiguan is a very well engineered product from Volkswagen; it shares a lot with the Audi Q3 under the skin, looks classy and drives very well too. The 4Motion AWD system works nicely too. The SUV also falls directly in the Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner price segment and also touches the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA segment. The pricing (Rs. 38 Lakh OTR Mumbai) for the fully loaded Highline could be the only thing that stands against it but then there are a few buyers who are out there looking for a true off road SUV and who cherish German Engineering.
Volkswagen Tiguan Photo Gallery
Pics by Dr. Anand Narvekar