2017 marked the re-entry of the Volkswagen India group into the SUV market with the launch of the Tiguan. A SUV that has the trademark design lines of Volkswagen. Elegant and sophisticated are the words that came to mind when I first saw the Tiguan.
The hallmark of VW cars is how simple and clean the design always is. Starting with the front you have the 3-slat chrome grille on which sits the VW badge. Accompanying that are the LED headlights and LED DRL’s which complete the look.
Walk to the side and one notices the silver finish 18-inch alloy wheels with a high ground clearance of about 200mm. The shoulder line that runs from the front right to the rear reflects the elegant design of the Tiguan along with LED tail lamps in the rear.
VW is targeting the upmarket, premium and sophisticated customer for the Tiguan who pays more attention to the finer details of a car… This is not a SUV for someone who likes to be loud and aggressive in their car choices.
Step into the cabin and the all black interiors welcome you. They are rich and premium in feel and finish. The centre console comes with a host of features, colour touch screen, Apple car play and Android auto.
The seats in the front offer good support and the cushioning is high quality, something that makes long road trips very comfortable. The materials used reflect the luxury that VW is going for in the Tiguan. Now let’s come to the huge and panoramic sunroof which is probably the most opulent in this category. Its huge and when fully opened gives you a great view on clear cloudless nights.
The legroom and shoulder room in the rear is fantastic. The headroom is good courtesy the design of the roof. The rear seats have a reclining feature with a 60:40 split. Something the passengers over long trips came to appreciate. In a SUV such as the Tiguan, can impressive boot space be far behind?. Not at all. There’s lots of room there and the foot gesture opening feature adds a unique touch to the regular standard. Makes it fun to open the boot without using one’s hands!
The Tiguan comes with a 2.0 litre TDI turbocharged diesel engine with a peak power output of 143 hp and 340 Nm of torque. Based on Volkswagen’s legendary MQB modular platform, the Tiguan is lighter than most SUVs in its price bracket. The result of this was very evident when I drove it in the city and highways. It moved about very effortlessly and smoothly. The 7 speed DSG transmission the Tiguan comes with is amongst the best in the business. The upshifts and downshifts are quick, efficient and smooth. The Tiguan comes with paddle shifters which makes driving a fun exercise on empty highways.
HOW DOES IT DRIVE?
I spent the first 3 days with the Tiguan in the city. Driving it in all sorts of traffic conditions was an easy and effortless exercise. Like most people living in Mumbai, I don’t like the experience of driving in the city most times because of bad traffic. Somehow, I forgot that feeling when I drove the Tiguan.
Over the weekend, I had planned a trip to Sula Vineyards, one of India’s oldest and most well-known vineyards in Nashik, Maharashtra.
Sula Vineyards was established in 1999 by Rajeev Samant the first winery in Nashik. This has now paved the way for the emergence of Nashik to become India’s Wine Capital, with almost 35 other wineries setting up base there. Sula is one of the most Eco-friendly companies in India, with a significant amount of its resources committed to sustainable wine-making practices and ensuring fair livelihoods for Sula’s community of farmers across Maharashtra and Karnataka. Many Sula’s workers come from disadvantaged communities and have seen a significant change in their standard of living through their employment with the company.
On Saturday at the crack of dawn we set off for Sula. The moment we got onto the Eastern Express Highway towards Thane, the Tiguan came into its own. It also helps that the Mumbai – Nashik Expressway is very good and generally devoid of heavy traffic early in the morning.
The acceleration was very brisk and refined. I got to three-digit speeds very easily without any stress. The Tiguan is extremely planted at these speeds. The experience in the cabin was quiet, courtesy the well contained NVH levels.
The Tiguan comes with four driving modes – Snow, Normal, Off road and Individual. These modes alter the engine and gearbox response to handle different road conditions and terrain accordingly.
When you talk of Volkswagen, safety can’t be far behind. Their cars are known for being one of the safest in the world. The Tiguan is no different. It scores extremely high in that department. Starting with an active hood that automatically raises by 3 inches in the case of an accident with a pedestrian. This helps prevent the pedestrian from hitting the hard parts of the vehicle, minimising the level of injury. For people within the car the SUV comes with 6 airbags, ABS, ESC, Hill Descent Control and Auto Hold. Auto hold helps hold the car indefinitely until the driver presses the accelerator. The Tiguan also warns the driver every time a pedestrian/car/motorcycle is too close for comfort by beeping loudly.
Driving on the highways, on small village roads, in the city wherever I went with the Tiguan, I came back impressed. This is a SUV that you want to drive all the time. Efficient, smooth and refined is the Tiguan. I spent a whole week with the car. It still didn’t feel enough!
Priced a 27.98 for the Comfortline and 31.38 for the Highline, the Tiguan is for the customer who wants luxury combined with the practicality that a VW car comes with.
Would I buy this? Definitely!