Always a great all-rounder, Volkswagen has mostly made Tiguan even better

Volkswagen’s clever Tiguan has always been a great all-rounder. Versatile, practical and supremely family friendly, it looks the part inside and out. Now a smart set of latest upgrades continues to set this handsome and good looking sport ute apart. Our test unit looked splendid in its electric blue get-up. To complement a fresh grille, front bumper and bonnet. Best of all, broader 22-LED IQ.Light matrix headlamps look great. They make for a stunning night-time driving experience too.


Our flagship Tiguan R-Line further benefited its smart set of 19-inch Valencia alloys. Not much else changes outside, although latest VW badging convention Tiguan lettering does set it apart from behind. But step aboard and VW’s virtual, flexible human-machine interface based infotainment moves the game further forward.

New Tiguan gets a sexy new touch and swipe multi-functional steering wheel. To control latest generation VW infotainment along with Active Info Display, Composition Media Radio with App Connect. Ours also packed fine optional Harmon Kardon sound with a 16-channel amp, 8 speakers and a subwoofer. There are also touch slider digitalised air conditioning functions and myriad virtual buttons to play with. All of which looks fantastic. But…

VW tells us that those touch controls are among Tiguan’s key interior highlights. They however split opinion among our team. The technologically more adroit (techy ones) among us en main found those buttonless controls cute. But the analogue types were frustrated. Even annoyed by the touchy new tech. The ‘virtual buttons’ either never did enough, or put whatever we were trying to adjust flat out in one fell swoop.


It’s also frustrating for some of us to have to paddle though layers of virtual windows to find a menial function other cars may manage to do at the touch of an obvious button. And that also had us wondering how much attention one needs to divert from the road to delve in there to achieve what you are trying to. Some of us may need more tome to get our minds around all that. And hopefully VW will tune its sensitivity better too.

Other Tigian cabin highlights are splendid. Like those 30 cool new ambient colour lighting options, great ‘Vienna’ pews and a many a very pretty finish. Ours also had keyless entry and button start/stop, and a bevy of driver assistance. From emergency braking to lane-change, front and side assistants. Over and above Tiguan’s 18 cm fore and aft sliding 40:20:40 split rear bench seat, which brings great practicality. Add great cabin space and a big boot too.

On the road, it’s no drag racing champion, but this small-bore turbo Tiguan gets along happily. It rides and drives just fine. Seems VW spent a little TLC on its damping and suspension. It felt better than what we recall from the pre-nip & tuck car. Although straight line stability could be better. It’s still unsettled by bumpier roads. One ought to get used to that.


All in all, these latest upgrades bring another sizeable Tiguan step forward. Big enough and quick enough amongst its rivals, Tiguan is frugal and handy on the road. It also offers a most competitive parts basket if you ever intend to keep it long enough to escape its 5-year service plan. And when you do part with your Tiguan, it will also look after you best when it comes down to selling. It’s famous for maintaining value.

This R-Design is generously equipped and well up to any family’s needs with great versatility, practicality. It also looks the part — probably far better, actually, than its price suggests. To keep it a fine solution among an ever-mushrooming small SUV market in SA. – Michele Lupini

Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG
Engine: 110kW 250Nm 1.4-litre I4 turbo petrol
Drive: 6-speed DC auto FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.81 sec
0-100 km/h:       10.52 sec
0-120 km/h:       14.54 sec
0-160 km/h:       27.83 sec
400m:             17.5 sec @ 132 km/h
80-120 km/h:      7.34 sec
120-160 km/h:     13.54 sec
Vmax:             200 km/h
Fuel:             7.7 l/100km
CO2:              175 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 120/5y 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R654K
RATED:            8
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