I was very keen to see the new-series Tiguan, and when my wife and I first saw the white Comfortline in the showroom, our first impression was 'Wow!'.
Our red GTI was a great fun car, and as with all the VWs that we had owned, had been completely trouble free. Too many birthdays were starting to influence our car choices, and the Tiguan was the way we thought we should go. We ordered a white 162TSI Highline that same day.
We did not want a sunroof and my past experience steered me away from low-profile tyres, so we were unable to specify the R-Line. I considered the diesel, but was a little scared that the measures required for them to comply with the rules have made them harder to live with.
As with any first release of a new model, we seemed to be waiting forever for our car to arrive, so the three months we waited took a very long time.
When driving a shiny new car home for the first time, one's impressions tend to be clouded by great expectations. I think the reason for this is that we need to protect ourselves from the horrible prospect of parting with a large wad of cash on a mistake. The Tiguan was not a mistake, and after 15 months has proven to be a good vehicle.
My wife goes into panic mode each time we change the car. She was concerned that this one would be too big to park, and that the advancing technology we are forced to deal with would be overwhelming. It is a good thing that we still have a real speedo that does not disappear then re-appear! She has done well and handles the car with confidence.
Much of our driving is on mountain roads. This is fun in daylight and when the weather is fine, but can be quite challenging when cold, wet, slippery and dark. The Tiguan copes with these conditions very well. As for the cold and wet, VW climate control is truly excellent. Setting the system on auto at 21 degrees insulates the passengers from the outside world – never having to think about fogged-up windows or being uncomfortable. Even your bum is warm with the heated leather seats. Rain-sensing wipers take care of the windscreen, with the headlights coming on if they think it is a little dark.
In about 1970, I drove a friend's Beetle with six-volt electrics. The lights on high or not-quite-as low beam glowed around 10 metres into the darkness. Our first Golf was a 2005 2.0 TDI. Although better than the Beetle, the lights on that and the next three VWs were pathetic. The LEDs on the Tiguan are fantastic. They show a brilliant white light far enough into the distance, as well as looking whichever way the steering is turned.
The sound deadening is good, even on coarse surfaces. Barely a whisper of wind noise can be heard, though as in many other cars, if a rear window is lowered, look out!
Engine noise at idle and when accelerating is awful and the exhaust note is non-existent. Thank goodness it can't be heard when cruising. I can't believe that it is the same power plant as the GTI.
Performance is right up there, with plenty in reserve when overtaking. In saying that, the pedal needs a good shove to find that power.
To me, SUVs are a compromise. They are too low and pretty to be a proper off-road vehicle, and a little top heavy to achieve the best stability on the road. The Tiguan is very stable and solid on the road because some suspension softness has been given up. We can't have it all. I am happier to give up a little softness rather than put up with a wallowing jelly bag. In saying that, the car rides quite comfortably with great straight-line stability, and steering that is precise and well weighted.
A six-hour trip is usually a good comfort test, and the Tiggy passed with flying colours. I was able to stand up straight with no pains anywhere at all. Initially, the seats feel quite bland. I think that's why they are comfy. The Germans – they know!
Over 18,000km, fuel usage is 9.0L/100km. Not that brilliant, but not too bad.
So, if VW is reading this, congratulations. This is a very good vehicle that does well in all departments, except for the horrible sound that comes from the engine.
A Note from the Editor: A stock image has been supplied with this review