In Tig-Top Shape

Photos by Low Fai Ming. Text by Sabrina Lee, sgCarMart.com

Just the other day, I saw an 80-year old grandpa with a walking stick emerge out of a Tiguan. That's the beauty about the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), its suits almost anyone. It can offer just as smooth a ride as a sedan, easy entrance and egress, climate systems, and connected car features up the wazoo. And despite the naysayers, its popularity continues to climb.

Yes it may be heavier than a hatchback or sedan, but it also comes with advantages like a higher seating position, a better view of the road and, of course, the inherent space and flexibility that comes with any SUV that's worth its weight.

As VW aspires to be the biggest car producer in the world, the new Tiguan's format offers similar practicality but with more styling panache and mechanical power, which will probably see buyers beat a trail to its showrooms.

 

Enter the matrix

The latest generation Tiguan heralds the start of an onslaught of new SUV models from the people's car company, from big to small. It is the first VW SUV to be based on the company's latest game-changing MQB platform.

The principle is a simple one, and that's to build an architecture that's flexible enough to accommodate anything, from a supermini like a Polo to a compact SUV like the Tiguan. Currently, other VW cars that share the same MQB platform include the Golf, Sportsvan, and Passat Mk8.

Thanks to the wizardry of VW's MQB platform, the Tiguan is now wider, longer and has a longer wheelbase than the one it replaces. There is a 33mm reduction in height to 1,632mm, and at 4,486mm in length, it is 60mm longer than its predecessor.

The wheelbase is also extended to 2,681mm - a gain of 77mm. This translates to 29mm more kneeroom and more than enough space for three adults to sit comfortably.


Heart of a GTI

The Tiguan you see here is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which packs 220bhp, and sends 350Nm of torque to all four tyres. Because the Tiguan shares the same engine found in the pre-facelift Mk7 Golf GTI, those numbers will look familiar to some.

Despite the 492kg weight disadvantage compared to the GTI, the surge of power from the engine remains impressive. But this propulsion wouldn't be possible without the Tiguan's 4Motion all-wheel drive system and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission drivetain, which enables this SUV to go from 0-100km/h in just 6.5 seconds, beating the base Porsche Macan by 0.4 seconds.

For the most part, it's a happy marriage. There's a trace of turbo lag off the line, but once up and running, the dual-clutch gearbox manages to keep the revs right in the sweet spot, and as usual with DSGs, up-and-down changes happen almost imperceptibly.


New features, new looks

In accordance with the company's current design language, the new Tiguan also gets a revised radiator grille with big horizontally aligned head lights, providing the SUV a fuller, bolder front profile.

Look inside the outgoing Tiguan and you'll find a family-friendly environment that mixes good quality materials with an air of spaciousness and good visibility.

The new car has a premium feel that belies the Tiguan's humble underpinnings. Materials are of an even higher quality than before and the whole layout comes across as a lot more car-like as well. When you factor in a much larger infotainment screen and Volkswagen's own version of Audi's Virtual Cockpit, you have a seriously nice place to sit.

And because the new Tiguan understands how busy life can get should you decide to start a family, it also comes with a host of features that aim to make things easier for you.

For example, the Easy Close button located in its boot lid detects the key fob moving away and closes the tailgate automatically. The sensor works for up to 20 seconds - if the key is still in range after this time, it will deactivate and the tailgate stays open.


Great assets

While we can accuse the new interior of being predictable, with use of the same design and material elements as in many other VW products, it has indeed been well thought out.

The seats themselves are much lighter than before, and new foam bolsters with cleverly woven internal springs make the sitting surfaces easier on the tush, especially over rough roads.

The front seat backs also get fold-down tray tables, which could be handy for en-route kiddie meals, although they do require the driver and front passenger to sit at very upright angles if you want to keep things from sliding off.

In terms of space, the new model has its predecessor licked, too. The previous Tiguan was already one of the more spacious options in its class, with a 470-litre boot and plenty of room for five. The new car ups this to a plentiful 615 litres, which expands to 1,655 litres with the seats folded up.

Priced at $192,400 (as of 16th March 2017), the Tiguan is the right car for the moment - there's no shortage of demand for handsome yet practical, tech-laden SUVs. There is little doubt the new Tiguan is an impressive machine that could redefine buyer expectations in our thriving SUV market.

Volkswagen has given the people, both young and old, more of what they want in the new Tiguan: space, style and technology.

This article was first published on sgCarMart.

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