2017 Volkswagen Tiguan Review

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline

Overall Rating

0

4.5 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
Expand Section

Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

5 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

5 out of 5 stars

Technology

5 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProRoadholding; power; space; comfort.

  2. ConPrice with options; DSG autos in town.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan 132 TSI Comfortline 4D Wagon

What stands out?

Expand Section

The new-generation Tiguan is a medium SUV from Volkswagen that drives beautifully, with reassuring roadholding in all conditions. You can choose from five turbocharged engines, none of which uses much fuel, and most Tiguans drive all four wheels. All have excellent smartphone integration, and an active safety suite that includes auto braking.

What might bug me?

Expand Section

Stop-start driving with the auto transmission, which occasionally hesitates and can be inconsistent on take-offs. The Tiguan’s DSG auto gearbox is great once you’re moving, but many drivers do not find it as smooth and easy in town as a conventional or CVT auto.

Driving after a puncture. The Tiguan has a space-saver spare wheel, which limits the recommended top speed to 80km/h.

Paying more for fuel: all three petrol engines require premium unleaded, which costs more than regular unleaded.

That Volkswagen owners experienced months of uncertainty as parent Volkswagen Group developed its response to the Dieselgate scandal that erupted in September 2015, when it admitted that 11 million diesels sold worldwide had been capable of cheating emissions tests. Volkswagen says all engines supplied with the current Tiguan comply with pollution standards.

What body styles are there?

Expand Section

Five-door wagon only.

Some Tiguans drive only the front wheels, but most drive all four wheels.

Where the original Tiguan was classed as a small SUV, this replacement has grown a little and is classed as a medium SUV, lower priced.

What features do all Tiguans have?

Expand Section

An eight-speaker sound system with an AM/FM radio, a CD player, an SD card slot, Aux and USB inputs, and Bluetooth audio streaming. An 8.0-inch colour touchscreen from which you can control the sound system and other cabin functions.

Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you plug in a compatible iPhone or Android smartphone, some of the phone apps – including mapping and music – are mirrored on the touchscreen display and can be controlled from there.

Cruise control. Windscreen wipers that operate automatically when it rains, and headlights that switch on automatically in low light.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel that carries buttons for operating the cruise control, the audio system, and your phone.

A reversing camera, and parking sensors front and rear. There is also an auto parking function, which tells you when you have found a big enough space and can steer the car in for you.

Aluminium alloy wheels, which are lighter and more stylish than steel wheels. A space-saver spare wheel (with a recommended top speed of 80km/h).

Tyre pressure monitoring, which alerts you if a tyre is losing air.

Seven airbags. Electronic stability control, which can help control a skid or slide (all new cars must have this feature).

Autonomous emergency braking, and lane-keeping assistance. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Tiguan safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

The Tiguan is covered by a three-year warranty, with no limit on the kilometres travelled.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

Expand Section

Five engines are available in a Tiguan, two turbo-diesels and three turbo-petrols, and it is the diesels that use the least fuel.

The Tiguan 110TDI and 140TDI diesels each consume 5.9 litres/100km on the official test (city and country cycles combined). The engines are very similar 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, but the 140 is tuned to produce more power. Expect it to use more fuel also in real-world driving if you call on that extra power frequently.

One reason you might not choose a diesel is that TDI Tiguans cost more than comparable, petrol-powered, TSI Tiguans.

Another might be that you expect your Tiguan to spend much of its time in short runs about town. TDI Tiguans use a particulate filter, which traps soot emitted with diesel exhaust gases. You need to drive them at highway speed for a 30-minute stretch every couple of weeks, so that the filter can get hot enough to self-clean.

A third reason you might not want a diesel is that Tiguan petrol engines feel smoother and are nearly as fuel-efficient. In fact, the least costly petrol Tiguans – the 110TSI models – use only marginally more fuel than the diesels. The 110TSI is a sweet 1.4-litre petrol four-cylinder that winds up to making just as much power as the 110TDI, although it won’t jump as hard when you first press the accelerator.

The Tiguan 132TSI hits a nice middle ground between the two diesels. This 2.0-litre four-cylinder brings more punch than the 110TSI, at the expense of using about 20 per cent more fuel on the test.

The most powerful Tiguan is the 162TSI, a more highly tuned 2.0-litre four-cylinder, and at 8.1 litres/100km it is also the thirstiest. (The number designating each engine represents its maximum power output in kilowatts.)

All petrol Tiguans require premium unleaded, which is more expensive than regular unleaded and E10 (a blend of ethanol and petrol).

The 110TSI comes with a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG (for direct-shift gearbox) auto. The 110TDI, 132TSI, 140TDI and 162TSI come only with a seven-speed DSG auto.

A DSG auto gearbox works much like a manual gearbox with robotic control. It shifts very smoothly and quickly and saves fuel, but cannot match the fluid take-off from rest that you get with conventional or CVT autos.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

Expand Section

The least costly Tiguan, the 110TSI Trendline, has cloth-covered seats, 17-inch wheels, and drives only the front wheels. A manual gearbox is standard, with the auto an extra-cost option.

Spend more for any Tiguan Comfortline and auto transmission is standard. You also get satellite-navigation. Three-zone air-conditioning lets rear passengers too choose their temperature, and they can fold down little tables housed behind the front seats.

Choosing Comfortline also gives you access to the more powerful 132TSI petrol engine and the 110TDI diesel, both of which bring all-wheel drive (which Volkswagen calls 4Motion).

Those wanting more in a Comfortline can option the Luxury package for about $5000. It brings leather on the seats, heating for the front seats, power adjustment for the driver’s seat, and a memory for up to three drivers’ settings. Keyless Access lets you unlock the car and drive away without removing the key from your bag or pocket, and if you wave your foot under the tailgate it power-opens. There is a big sunroof, and the exterior mirrors fold against the body automatically when parked (which keeps them out of harm’s way).

The Comfortline can also be had with a Driver assistance pack. That brings you Adaptive cruise control (which can match the speed of a slower car in front on the highway, even bringing you automatically to a halt if that car stops). There is also an Active info display – which replaces your instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch customisable colour screen. And there is lane-change assistance (called Side Assist) and a rear cross-traffic alert (for more on these systems, please open the Safety section below).

Spend more again for a Tiguan Highline and you choose from the two most powerful engines, the 162TSI petrol and the 140TDI diesel, again both AWD autos.

Highline Tiguans come with very bright and long-lived LED headlights, whose beams self-level and shine into corners. Tail-lights are LED also, rear-cabin windows are tinted to keep out heat and glare, and a better multimedia unit allows voice control of the sat-nav. Wheels are bigger at 18 inches, and they carry lower profile tyres that are a bit wider (adding some grip on dry roads). As well, they have the Comfortline Luxury pack features as standard.

You can option a Highline with the Driver assistance pack. You can also add an R-Line pack, which brings you a small rear wing, other body add-ons, 20-inch wheels, trim changes inside, and Adaptive chassis control (which adjusts how the car rides automatically for the conditions, using electronically controlled suspension dampers).

Every AWD Tiguan has Driving profile selection with 4MOTION Active Control. This lets you adjust how lazily or immediately the car responds to your control inputs, and also to optimise it for snow or gravel-road driving. If your Tiguan Highline has Adaptive chassis control from the R-Line pack, you can also soften the suspension (for more comfort) or stiffen it (for sharper handling), while driving.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

Expand Section

The lower profile tyres on the more expensive variants ride more roughly – because there is less air between the wheel and the road – and could cost more to replace. The 20-inch wheels on the R-Line pack, in particular, degrade comfort.

White is the only standard colour; the other six cost extra.

How comfortable is the Volkswagen Tiguan?

Expand Section

In any Tiguan, the front seats are a highlight. The padding is quite firm but gives you excellent support and great comfort over long distances. Vision too is excellent all round.

Buttons and dials are well placed. The touchscreen is high on the dash and its infotainment menus are easy to follow.

In-cabin storage is excellent too, from binnacles in the centre console to large door pockets and even a covered cavity in the top of the dashboard.

The Tiguan cruises quietly on country roads, supressing road and engine noise well.

Suspensions are taut but not uncomfortably so. Body roll is nicely controlled, adding to the easy-driving nature of the cars.

All engines have plenty of punch in most situations, although the 110TSI may feel like it is working hard up long hills with lots of people on board.

The DSG auto transmissions feel smooth and slick on the run. When parking or in stop-start traffic, they are less forgiving than other autos, however.

What about safety in a Tiguan?

Expand Section

Every Tiguan has the mandatory electronic stability control, auto headlights and wipers, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, daytime running lights (which help other drivers see you), and seven airbags.

In addition, all Tiguans have city-speed auto emergency braking, a highway-speed forward collision alert, lane-keeping assistance, and a driver fatigue monitor.

Two airbags protect the driver and front passenger’s upper bodies from frontal impacts, and a third protects the driver’s knees. One outside each front seat protects at chest level from side impacts. And curtain airbags extending down each side of the car at head level protect front and rear passengers from side impacts.

The Tiguan’s standard driver assist systems use radar and camera sensors to monitor the roadway ahead when you’re driving.

Its autonomous emergency braking, which Volkswagen calls City Emergency Brake, operates at speeds up to 30km/h and can automatically brake the car if it concludes a collision is imminent (typically with a sharply slowing vehicle ahead). At all higher speeds, Front Assist warns you of an impending collision but will not apply the brakes for you.

Lane Assist uses the camera to monitor lane markers. At speeds over 55km/h, if it concludes you are drifting out of your lane – perhaps from distraction – it will gently adjust the steering in an attempt to bring you back. If you continue to drift, it will vibrate the steering wheel and flash a warning.

Fatigue detection monitors your movements of the steering wheel. If they suggest you might be falling asleep, it proposes you take a break.

Should none of this prevent a crash (perhaps because you have been hit from behind), Multi-collision brake acts to prevent your drifting into the path of another vehicle after impact, automatically applying the brakes.

On Comfortline and Highline Tiguans you can enhance the standard safety equipment with a Driver assistance pack at extra cost. Among other features, it adds Side Assist and Rear Traffic Alert – both relying on rear-facing sensors. The former helps you avoid changing lanes into the path of an adjacent or overtaking vehicle, warning you with a light in the exterior mirror and even seeking to steer you away from danger. The latter works when you are reversing, looking to either side behind you for vehicles crossing on a collision course.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has rated the Tiguan at five stars for safety, most recently in October 2016.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

Expand Section

The original Tiguan raised the bar for SUV driving manners when it arrived in 2008, and this slightly bigger replacement remains among the most enjoyable cars of its type – in this case, mid-sized SUVs.

The steering is not as light as in some, but the weight – which is more noticeable above 60km/h – adds confidence. The steering wheel telegraphs every movement of the wheels, and that feel for the road is teamed with fantastic grip in corners.

A feature called Extended Differential Lock brakes inside wheels gently when you turn, effectively directing less power to those wheels and more to the more heavily loaded outside wheels, reducing the likelihood of an inside wheel spinning, and improving acceleration and steering accuracy.

The Tiguan is also quick to recover from bumps, even big ones.

The least costly, 110TSI, Tiguans pull strongly around town but their 1.4-litre engines have to work a bit on steep hills encountered at highway speeds.

All of the other Tiguans, including the 110TDI, have plenty of grunt for sustaining cruising speeds. The 140TDI sustains its strength over a broader rev range, which will appeal to those who like spirited driving but prioritise the fuel efficiency on long trips of a diesel over the smoothness and zip of the 132TSI petrol.

The 162TSI brings the most driving thrills. It shares its engine with the Volkswagen Golf GTI – a true hot hatch. While it’s not as fiery as the Golf – performance is dulled by the Tiguan’s bigger and heavier body – the 162TSI feels brisk and helps you exploit the Tiguan’s excellent dynamics.

All-wheel drive enhances the Tiguan’s stability on wet sealed roads. Even in AWD trim the Tiguan is only a light-duty off-roader, effective on gravel or snow covered roads and easy tracks. It does not have the ground clearance, under-body protection or low-range gearing required for challenging off-road work.

How is life in the rear seats?

Expand Section

The current Tiguan is about 6cm longer and 3cm wider than the original it has replaced. Crucially, there is an extra 7.5cm between the front and rear wheels, which liberates leg room in the rear. Tall adults will appreciate the generous rear head room, too.

The rear seats slide forward and back to adjust boot space, and you can adjust the seatback angle for comfort.

Rear storage is good, too. As well as sizeable door pockets there are small binnacles on either side of the seat base, providing a perfect cubby hole for toys or rubbish.

Even if you are small, it is easy to see out from the back seat. And rear passengers in any automatic Tiguan can use airline-style fold-up tables mounted on the backs of the front seats.

How is it for carrying stuff?

Expand Section

Boot space in the original Tiguan was tight for family duties. This longer replacement can handle much more luggage.

The boot floor is flat, broad, and deep, and there are binnacles in both rear corners for small items you don’t want rolling around.

Rear seats now fold 40-20-40, which adds flexibility for combining rear passengers with long loads. You can fold either of the big outer seat units or both, or you can seat two outer passengers while still allowing long, narrow items to poke into the cabin.

Plus, the entire rear seat unit slides forward and back, allowing a trade-off between rear leg room and boot space.

However, while the seat backs flip down the seat bases remain in place, so that the expanded boot rises slightly towards the front of the car.

The 110TSI is rated to tow 1800kg; all other Tiguans are rated to tow 2500kg.

Where does Volkswagen make the Tiguan?

Expand Section

All Tiguans sold in Australia are made in Germany.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

Expand Section

Possibly a third row of seats, so that you can carry seven people. The Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander offer this in an SUV that is still classed as medium-sized.

Otherwise you won’t miss much. The Tiguan is very well equipped, with models and options to please a wide variety of tastes.

Among other cars you might consider are the Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Jeep Cherokee and Suzuki Vitara.

Are there plans to update the Tiguan soon?

Expand Section

This second generation Tiguan went on sale about September 2016, and so we are not likely to see an all-new model until 2022.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is preparing a seven-seat version, to be called the Tiguan XL. It is expected in 2018.

About 2019 you could expect to see a mild mid-life update for the Tiguan.

And Volkswagen is working on a variation with a lower rear roofline and sleeker shape – a four-door Tiguan Coupe.

I like this car, but I can’t choose which version. Can you help?

Expand Section

The Tiguan 132TSI Comfortline has enough punch for very relaxed motoring on the open road. All-wheel drive is a plus, as are the Comfortline features.