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Volkswagen Tiguan first drive review

first_imgMost people acknowledge Volkswagen in India as a manufacturer of hatchbacks and sedans and there is a reason for that. The only SUV the company ever launched in India was the Touareg and it was in a segment which is out of bounds for most. The Touareg also led a short life and was taken out of the portfolio many years back, leaving the SUV section blank. Quite a ‘no, no’ in a country fascinated by these big beasts. Now there is an option in the form of the Tiguan.Design:Let’s start with a fact which is not clear to the naked eye. The Tiguan is based on Volkswagen’s famous MQB platform and the same makes its debut here in India with this SUV. The Tiguan follows the brand’s global design philosophy and as a result this SUV has a very different take on SUV design. It is not butch and bulky but smooth and sophisticated.Build quality inside is top class. Soft touch dash adds to plushness. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)The front end design is unmistakably VW with the grille flanked by a sleek pair of headlamps. These lamps are all LED units and incorporate daytime running lights and indicators. The bumper adds a sporty hue and also houses the fog lamps and cornering lamps. Mind you these are both separate units and not combined into one and we can vouch that they come really handy especially driving around in the hills.  In profile the Tiguan looks good thanks to the prominent cladding and the strong shoulder line.advertisementThe 2.0-litre engine offers ample grunt and is smooth too. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)It is here that we come to a rather unique figure, the ground clearance. VW in Europe claim the Tiguan to offer 200mm of clearance but here that figure has reduced to 149mm. Now before you dismiss the Tiguan, let us tell you that this lesser figure is due to the fact that the Indian authorities have started measuring ground clearance at full payload or gross vehicle weight. Hence the difference.At the back, the large LED tail lamps take up most of the space and the roof spoiler adds to the sporty feel.The front end design is unmistakably VW with the grille flanked by a sleek pair of headlamps. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Features:Inside the Tiguan looks and feels well-built much like most other VW products. There are multiple shades of black in the offering and the dash is soft to touch. There is a deep glove box and the centre console houses an infotainment system which supports Android and Apple devices. The system also offers the ‘Think Blue Trainer’ which essentially marks the way one drives and gives a real time score on 100 marks.At the back, the large LED tail lamps take up most of the space and the roof spoiler adds to the sporty feel. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)On the downside, the system does not come with an in-built sat nav. The multi-function steering wheel is good to grip and the comprehensive IP displays all things related to the car. The Tiguan also comes with a three-zone climate control system and that means the driver, front passenger and the rear passengers can set their own temperatures. The driver’s perch is all electric and comes with memory function as well. The cabin also sports mood lighting which highlights the panoramic sunroof. This five-seater SUV offers ample space for its occupants and is pretty versatile as well. The rear seats are foldable and can help increase boot space. So with the rear seat in place, the Tiguan can take in 615 litres of cargo which can go up to 1,655mm with the rear seats folded.The Tiguan also offers a unique feature which comes as a help while loading up the boot. Say you reach the SUV with your hands full. To access the boot you will have to drop it all somewhere and then open the boot. Not in the Tiguan. With the key within proximity, a certain gesture below the rear bumper is enough to release the boot.The 18 inch Kingston alloy wheels are only available with the top end variant of the Tiguan. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Safety Features:When it comes to safety VW has decided to load up the Tiguan properly. The SUV comes with six airbags, Electronic Stabilisation Program, ABS Hill Decent Control and Hill Hold functions. Further to that the Tiguan also comes with an Active Hood designed to save the pedestrian in case of a collision.advertisementEngine:Under the bonnet, VW has decided to plonk in the tried and tested 2.0-litre TDI motor which is tuned to offer 143bhp and 340Nm of torque. The motor is mated to a seven-speed DSG gear box which sends power to all four wheels (if necessary) using VW’s 4MOTION AWD system. The 4MOTION system can be further regulated using a knob placed conveniently on the centre console. The driver can then choose to leave it in auto or select modes depending on the type of terrain he or she is attempting to tread.Blue Drive gives the driver marks based on driving patters. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Now this is the only combination which the company is offering here in India and both Comfortline and Highline variants get the same mechanicals.Drive Quality:The Tiguan on the road feels extremely refined. The engine comes to life without much clatter and within the cabin things remain rather quiet thanks to the excellent NVH packaging. Our test route was a mix of city, highway and hilly terrain and it gave us the opportunity to truly test out the capabilities of this SUV. In the city to start with one does feel a bit of a lag. It is primarily because the motor hits the sweet spot just around the 2,000rpm mark and till then one has come to a stop. So in stop-and-go traffic things get better if the manual mode is used on the gearbox.Photo: Nishant JhambShift down a gear, get the Tiguan motor in the right rev range and then acceleration is brisk. On the highway though, the Tiguan comes into its own. The smooth DSG gearbox shifts up and once you start cruising, the Tiguan gathers speed rapidly and can sit at high speeds all day long. Overtaking on the highway too is no problem as there is ample power to take care of most situations. We simply enjoyed our highway run more than the crowded city roads.   Handling:Moving on to the ride and handling department. The Tiguan to begin with does not feel like a SUV on the move. It feels extremely well-planted on the highway and the suspension is tuned to take on and dismiss most rough patches with ease. This means that the passengers generally get to hear but not feel bad sections.The motor is mated to a seven-speed DSG gear box which sends power to all four wheels (if necessary) using VW’s 4MOTION AWD system. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)We also loved the way the Tiguan handled around the twisties. The taught suspension helps reduce body roll and the driver should feel ever so confident. The steering too is well-balanced and offers plenty of feedback to the driver which helps tackling twisties. So overall, the Tiguan looks much like an SUV but drives like a car and that should be taken as a compliment.Dimension:Last but not the least, the delicate topic of the 149mm ground clearance. We were driving well loaded most of the time and at no point did we feel scared of a speed hump or getting off the road. At one stage we did lose our way and entered a village section with literally no roads. Even in such sections we came out with the under body un-scraped.advertisementVerdict:The Tiguan in itself has proved to be a rather complete SUV. It looks good, offers a plethora of features, is efficient, comes with AWD tech and last but not the least offers brilliant ride and handling. What’s not to like? Now here comes the real question of how much?Taught suspension reduces body roll, gives confidence while tackling twisties.(Photo: Nishant Jhamb)At Rs 31.4 lakh for the Highline and Rs 27.9 lakh for the Comfortline, the Tiguan sure is pricey. It should ideally compete with the Hyundai Tucson and the soon to be launched Jeep Compass, but it competes with SUVs a notch above. This should only be the cause of concern for the Tiguan buyer. Rest everything is just brilliant.ALSO READ:Volkswagen Tiguan vs Ford Endeavour vs Toyota Fortuner vs Isuzu MU-XALSO READ:Volkswagen Tiguan launched in India, prices of SUV begin from Rs 27.68 lakhlast_img read more

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