There are two ways of looking at the new Volkswagen Tiguan. One, a crossover SUV that is almost as expensive as bigger and more capable SUVs such as Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. Two, a crossover SUV that is better, far more spacious and less expensive than the Audi Q3. First introduced globally in 2007, the Tiguan is one of the highest selling Volkswagen cars—it is sold in 150 markets with more than 3.5 million owners around the world. Pity the company brought it to India 10 years late. The design is contemporary and neat. It doesn’t have the flowing curves of the Hyundai Tucson or the bulk of the Fortuner, rather it has the ageless European elegance which gets reflected from every angle. In fact, the Tiguan is the winner of the German Design Award 2017. The sophistication in design can be observed in details such as the horizontally aligned unit formed by the radiator grille and headlights, and the higher waist line. However, even though the design is excellent, its on-road presence is understated—one of the reasons for this could be that all Volkswagen cars have started to look more or less the same, especially when viewed at from a distance.
The cabin is five-star. It is ages ahead of what you find in the Fortuners or the Endeavours. In fact, the cabin quality is almost as good as that of the far more expensive Audi Q5. The cabin is also very functional—every control, every button appears to be at the right place.
However, there’s one thing that is out of place for the Indian market—the front seats have a heating function, not cooling (the seats are a direct import from the European market, but at least Indian climatic conditions should have been kept in mind). The view from the driver’s seat is clear—you can even see the sky because the whole roof is glass (panoramic sunroof).
The Tiguan may look a mid-sized SUV from outside, yet the space inside is enormous. The rear-seat, especially, is so spacious that it reminds you of a comfortable sofa. The three-zone automatic climate control system results in precise temperature at all seats. The boot space is an impressive 615 litres (with all seats up) and 1,655 litres (with rear seats folded).
Under its hood sits the capable 1968cc TDI diesel engine, mated to the seven-speed automatic DSG dual-clutch gearbox. It produces a peak power of 143PS/105kW and a torque of 340Nm. Its rated fuel-efficiency is 17.06kpl. A fuel tank of 71 litres means a range of over 1,000-km on a full tank.
The Tiguan doesn’t drive or behave like an SUV; for example, when taking a sharp turn, there is no bodyroll. In fact, it drives like a luxury sedan. It also treats its passengers like a luxury sedan does—the cabin is plush, quiet and you can sit for hours driving or getting driven hundreds of kilometres without getting tired. In case you want to go off the road, the Tiguan comes equipped with the Volkswagen 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. Its ground clearance, even with four passengers on board and almost full fuel tank, is a decent 149mm. Therefore, the Tiguan may be classified as a luxury sedan that, if need be, can be taken off the road.
Safety is standard. It has features including pedestrian safety (active hood), six airbags, hill start assist, self-sealing tyres, rain and light sensors, keyless entry, among others.
Volkswagen doesn’t sell ‘entry-level’ models. Therefore, its cars are well-equipped. The Tiguan is available in only two trims—Comfortline and Highline—and both have almost all the necessary creature comfort features.
The Tiguan, with over 3.5 million sales globally, has proven its mettle as a robust and capable car the world over. However, in India, it won’t break any sales records. One, even though it is a very well-equipped car, but at over Rs 27 lakh ex-showroom, it’s still priced at a premium. Two, the Indian car-buyer still thinks that bigger is better, so a majority of them would likely choose a Fortuner over a Tiguan any day.
Towards that, there’s a third way of looking at the new Volkswagen Tiguan—an ‘affordable’ luxury sedan that, if need be, can be taken off the road. And right now, there’s no such vehicle in the Indian market.
Ex-showroom, Delhi, prices are Rs 27.98 lakh (Comfortline) and Rs 31.38 lakh (Highline). There are five colours to choose from—Tungsten Silver, Oryx White, Deep Black, Indium Grey and Atlantic Blue.