The Volkswagen Tiguan launched late last year with a four-model range encompassing two petrol and two diesel engine options. A fifth engine has now joined the Tiguan family in the form of the Tiguan 162TSI, and is positioned as a performance-oriented flagship for the range.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The Tiguan 162TSI takes the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine of the Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch and combines it with a seven-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Peak power and torque figures are identical to the GTI, making the 162TSI the most powerful version of the Tiguan to date.
Taking over from the outgoing Tiguan 155TSI, the 162TSI boasts 7kW more power and a huge 70Nm more torque than its predecessor and can zip to 100km/h from standstill in just 6.5 seconds. That’s not only 0.8 seconds faster than the superseded 155TSI, but it equals the 0-100km/h stat of the much lighter Golf GTI as well.
Priced at $48,490, the Tiguan 162TSI is equipped to the same Highline specification as the existing Tiguan 140TDI, which includes a bright and clear 8.0-inch infotainment display, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, LED headlamps, keyless entry and ignition, powered tailgate and dark tinted privacy glass.
Two option packages are available: a $4000 R-Line pack that brings a sports bodykit, variable-ratio steering, adjustable suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels; and a $2000 Driver’s Assistance pack that bundles adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, an electronic instrument panel and 360-degree camera view.
A panoramic glass sunroof is also optional, costing $2000.
Performance. For a mid-sized SUV, the Tiguan 162TSI can really move. Stomp the throttle and it responds keenly, with powerful mid-range thrust from its turbocharged engine. The seven-speed automatic also responds quickly when the Tiguan is being driven hard.
Handling. The Tiguan’s on-road manners are impressive, with excellent resistance to body roll and a fairly well-balanced chassis that is surprisingly adept at handling twisting roads.
Standard equipment. At $48.5k the Tiguan 162TSI is not what most would consider cheap, but it does come with a healthy list of standard equipment. An 8-inch colour infotainment display packs a great deal of functionality (including satellite navigation and a plethora of performance-monitoring displays) and is complemented by keyless entry, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, interior ambient lighting, and a powered tailgate.
Interior. Cabin quality and design is one of the Tiguan’s highlights, with clean presentation married with top-shelf materials and switchgear. It easily outdoes the majority of its mainstream competitors in this area, and imparts a premium flavour to the Tiguan experience.
Safety. The Tiguan range boasts autonomous emergency braking as standard across the range – 162TSI included – which is a crucial piece of accident-avoidance technology that is still relatively rare in the segment. On top of that there’s also lane-departure warning, driver fatigue warning, seven airbags and an active bonnet for pedestrian protection as standard.
Ride quality. On the standard Highline suspension, the Tiguan’s ride can be brittle and unforgiving. However the optional adaptive suspension brings multi-mode dampers that allow the Tiguan to cycle through Comfort, Normal and Sport configurations. The first two offer a greatly-improved ride, while the Sport mode is best suited to smoother roads.
Price. The adaptive suspension greatly improves the Tiguan 162TSI, but the only way to get it is to option the $4000 R-Line package. That takes the retail price above the $50k mark, making an already expensive car an even pricier proposition.
Transmission. The dual-clutch automatic might boast ultra-crisp gearchanges when in motion, but it suffers from the occasional stumble when travelling at low speeds. Transmission refinement could also use some work, as there is some driveline shunt in heavy traffic when coming on and off the accelerator, and moving away from a standstill can be jerky at times.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
The Subaru Forester XT Premium comes awfully close to the Tiguan 162TSI in terms of pricing, equipment, power and torque, with its 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four actually eclipsing the Tiguan’s power output by 15kW.
However, it’s a full second slower to 100km/h and can’t match the Tiguan for interior quality. Its slushy CVT automatic transmission is also a less appealing gearbox than the Tiguan’s crisp dual-clutch.
Another option is the Ford Escape Titanium 2.0 turbo. It’s an even more powerful option with 178kW from a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, but has slightly less torque at 345Nm. It drives well and is reasonably well-equipped, but cannot quite equal the Tiguan’s sumptuous cabin.