Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Review: 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline


Let that color sear in your mind for a moment. That is what Volkswagen calls Habanero Orange. And though it’s not available in the Philippine-spec Tiguan (it was brought in specifically for the motor show circuit), it does point to a new way of thinking for Volkswagen’s compact crossover. From being an oddly-sized, oddly-priced SUV, the all-new 2017 Tiguan finally vies for mainstream crossover success. Building on the strengths of the previous model, it now offers more space, a classier feel, and improved efficiency. The question is, is it finally ready to sway Mr. Forester or Ms. CR-V to the Volkswagen fold?

If styling is the main consideration, then by all means, the Tiguan has hit the mark. Ushering a new styling language for Volkswagen SUVs, it’s boxier and crisper than ever before. Subjectively, it looks visually restrained, but at least everything looks well-proportioned and taut. It successfully plays on subtlety, going for long, purposeful lines and angular geometric styling down to the side mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels. Aside from the timeless shape, the Tiguan also has hidden gems sprinkled around such as full LED headlamps and taillights.




Like its restrained exterior, the Tiguan’s interior isn’t the most exciting one in the business; a fact not helped by its lack of luxury features. For instance, this Comfortline model doesn’t offer leather seating—a standard considered common for vehicles in this price range. Nonetheless, it’s typical Volkswagen so there are plenty of soft-touch plastics and controls that work with reassuring precision. Plus, the controls are laid out logically and the dash largely avoids being a “button fest” as most modern cars have become. Getting comfortable is easy too with plenty of adjustment from the steering wheel and (manually adjustable) seats. Even the pedals are well placed, perfect for people who do long drives on a regular basis.

Those who prefer a high-set driving position will appreciate the Tiguan. Despite being slightly lower compared to its predecessor (and some of its rivals), the seats are actually mounted higher allowing for excellent front visibility and commanding view of the traffic. On the flip side, the thick rear pillars do rob it of visibility at the back, a problem when trying to navigate through tight spaces. Thankfully, front and rear parking sensors (no camera) is standard.





While the Tiguan looks small outside, there’s a surprising amount of room for everyone inside. And while it’s a given that the largest of passengers will love the front quarters, the rear, except for the middle position, is treated to excellent legroom. It even has a three-zone climate control that boosts comfort levels further while numerous cubby holes including a cooled glove box and airplane-style flip-up tables ups its practicality as a family car. And on the subject of practicality, Volkswagen has successfully worked on the Tiguan’s biggest weakness by boosting the luggage space to 520 liters (up 125 liters from before). Though its cargo capacity is generous as it is, it’s mighty flexible too with the rear seats folding in a 40/20/40 split. And get this: even the front passenger seat folds forward enabling it to accommodate long items easily.

The previous Tiguan made a name for itself by offering copious amounts of power and torque courtesy of a 2.0-liter TDI motor so it comes as a rather unpleasant surprise that the 2017 model makes that an indent option favoring a small displacement gasoline engine instead. The 1.4-liter TSI 4-cylinder engine outs 150 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. These numbers aren’t necessarily bad and are perfectly suited for strutting in an urban environment. But since the characteristic turbo shove comes quite late in the pedal stroke, it feels lacking in pull and can feel struggled up inclines, especially when fully loaded. It needs to be wringed for maximum effect. Mated to the engine is a DSG gearbox that’s largely smooth. However, it occasionally lags in response accompanied by some jerkiness. And though there’s a Sport mode, paddle shifters would have been more welcome.




Positively, going for a gasoline engine makes the Tiguan mighty quiet at speed. Except for some minor wind noise, it’s actually quite adept at cruising on the expressway. Plus, the resulting fuel economy is actually quite good with 8.77 km/L in the city (average speed 14 km/h) and 15.87 km/L on the highway (average speed 47 km/h).

Though the Tiguan struggles a bit in a straight line, it’s still genuinely enjoyable to drive. It feels more like a hatchback with controlled body roll and good levels of grip. It may not be as agile as higher-end German crossovers, but it can outshine most Japanese and all Korean crossovers. The steering though is offputtingly light, but at least there’s precision dialed in making it easy to place on the road. If there’s anything that needs improvement though, it’s the ride. Though it’s smooth over bigger imperfections such as humps or over the expressway, it does have a problem absorbing patched up roads and broken tarmac. These kinds of surfaces will unsettle the Tiguan.





It seems the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan has most of the ingredients needed for success. It’s leagues better than the old one and could very well be one of the best compact crossovers. However, it is still lacking in one big thing that hinders its success: the price. At P 2,259,000, it’s prohibitive for those wanting to try something else from the usual Japanese choices. And for those looking for an affordable German crossover, the Tiguan may be more affordable than the Audis, BMWs, and Volvos out there, but the lack of luxury and comfort features is a turn off. Overall, it’s a great effort from Volkswagen, but for now, it seems Mr. CX-5 and Ms. RAV4 will stick to their guns.





2017 Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline
Ownership 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline FWD
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.4
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 150 @ 5,000-6,000
Nm @ rpm 250 @ 1,500-3,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 6 DCT
Cruise Control No
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8.77 km/L @ 14 km/h
15.87 km/L @ 47 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,486
Width (mm) 1,839
Height (mm) 1,632
Wheelbase (mm) 2,681
Curb Weight (kg) 1,498
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, 4-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Continental ContiSportContact 5 SUV
235/55 R 18 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Front and Rear
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, 3-Zone
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
Apple CarPlay
# of Speakers 8
Steering Controls Yes

6 comments:

  1. VW-PH should have brought the 162Highline model instead. It would have been a better fit for the price of 2.2M+.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As much as I would like to try Volkswagen, the equipment and features they offer just cannot match the Japanese, notably the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester XT. For that price, the two Japanese offerings are the better buy. And in terms of offering a premium and luxurious feel, the Mazda CX-5 offers that far better than the Volkswagen Tiguan. Seriously at 2.2m, still fabric seats? I think the Germans dislike leather due to it being sourced from animals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^Had they used leather and added some features, the cost could have ballooned to 2.5 M... This CBU from Germany?

      Delete
  3. Sportage looks more Germanic than this one and is much more powerful and much cheaper too boot.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They won't be bringing in the 7-seater variant at least?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great honest review. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete

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