This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit our website.
Accept and continue

Closet Golfer Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TSI R-Line Review

Text by Clifford Chow, OneShift.

Introduction and Exterior

Volkswagen has a new Tiguan. And we are happy to say, that the guys in lab coats down at Wolfsburg, have put plenty of thought in the new one. The Mk2 builds on the new MQB platform, which forms the base for the Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf, and even the bigger Passat.

Aiming higher, VW has increased on space and improved on the performance and quality in this new car. How much good is this new Tiguan? Oneshift's Clifford Chow finds out.



The rounded styling, which made the previous car blend in with its Japanese and Korean counterparts, makes way for crisp, sharper lines, and it is quite a bit bigger! Front-end styling of the R-Line trimmed version sees an added bit of glossy black trim on the front bumper, beefing up the styling. Side body mouldings are body coloured, while the 1.4 Highline version, gets simpler styling.

Like the Passat we tested recently, there is plenty of sheet metal being pressed, folded and made to look good. The front bonnet features two creases on each side, which flow in parallel, while side styling gets the same double-shouldered styling, presenting additional visual girth, which wrap around the rear of the car, terminating above the tail lamps in similar design language to the Passat. Pretty neat styling, really…

Headlamp assemblies feature a refreshing new arrangement, with daytime running lights sitting over the lamps, while LED indicators are sited at the base of the lighting units. Fog lamps, located on the front bumper, double as turning lamps, which are a big help in tight spaces.

Tail lights are beautifully sculpted with an angular moulded 'L' shaped top end, and brake LEDs which dynamically switch, like the ones found on the Passat, from a horizontal set of dashes, to a vertical arrangement, when the brakes are depressed.

Up on the roof, the Tiguan gets a set of roof rails, and one of the largest glass sunroofs I've seen in a compact. The amount of light that filters through makes the interior a nice place to be in.


The Mk2 boasts an added 73mm between the front and rear wheels, and it does show the spatial advantage especially at the rear seats. There is plenty of room to stretch out at the rear. The tri-zone air-conditioning unit keeps things cool at the back as well. Additionally, the kids get a tray/tablet holder each behind the front seats, which also come with a cup holder. Extra points if you are planning that road trip up to Cameron Highlands.

Front driver and passenger seats are electric, with memory function, and you would be able to find the correct driving position with them easily. Behind the wheel, there are a number of refreshing changes. Like the Passat, the instrument binnacle has been digitised. Gauges can be virtually slid aside to create more space for wayfinding purposes. A retractable and adjustable head-up display takes your eyes away from instrument clutter, enabling you to keep your speed in-check, without taking your eyes off the road.

In the middle of the dash, you also get the all-familiar 8" TFT screen, which provides crucial information, and also doubles as the reverse camera's display.

Talking about reversing, the new Tiguan has been equipped with their "Area View" camera system, providing drivers with a full 360 degree view, by way of cameras in the front, rear and under the wing mirrors on each side of the car. As per expected, the Tiguan also has Bluetooth connectivity, App-Connect functionality, USB connectors and an Aux-in multimedia slot.

The 2.0 is also equipped with Volkswagen's Dynaudio sound system. Yes, standard car systems are able to produce enough bass.

Open the glove box, and you will get twin SD card slots for various applications, I bet the playlist is the most important one. There is also the old-school DVD/CD player hidden away in here.

In engineering the Tiguan, VW made the effort to up their game with their build quality. Door grab bars are thick, chunky (like how an SUV should be) and feel good in the hands. Overall, the interior is very VW, but there is a higher sense of premium-ness versus a number of higher premium brands which also field their models in this game of "Who's Got the Best Compact SUV/CUV".

Cargo room is an improvement over the older car, with a large 615 litres of practical use (145 litres more than the Mk1), the BMW X3 pales in comparison with 550 litres (which is still decent space). Drop the 60:40 rear folding seats, and you will get yourself a 1,655 litres, with the seats folding near-flat. Additionally, the loading area is free from odd blockages between the left and right wheel arches. While there are no rails for you to organise the cargo area, there are a number of lashes and hooks available for use to secure cargo into place. As a plus, the rear seats slide forward with a full 180mm of movement, providing users with more cargo room without folding the seats down, or if used wisely, bring kids who are strapped into child seats closer to front passengers, making it easier to tend to them.

How it Drives

Who has driven a Golf? "kee qiu"…. Who has driven a Golf GTi? "double Kee qiu". They drive brilliantly don't they? The Tiguan drives like a slightly taller, bigger GTi, Under 'Sports' mode, there is minimal roll (surely more than a GTi, due to its height), and weight transference when you flick the compact SUV around a series of bends. The permanent all-wheel drive 4MOTION system employed keeps the car in-check, effectively cancelling front-drive understeer. A rotary knob behind the gearshift lever provides controls for the 4MOTION, allowing users to set the drive for the kind of terrain that they encounter. While it is a 'soft roader', the Tiguan does boast hill-start and hill descent assist programming, electronic stabilisation, and even an electronic differential lock, for situations where the Tiguan might need to lock up opposing wheels to gain more off-roading traction. Not that you would need it here, but yeah…. Pressing down on the same rotary switch, changes the drive mode. Between the different suspension settings, there is very little difference to ride comfort, but handling does improve. Ride comfort by the way, is one of the best I have come across.

Powering the Tiguan is a familiar 2.0 turbocharged four, found in the GTi, but mated to VW's new dual clutched 7-speeder. Get this! It is approximately 200kg heavier than the GTi, but it does a 6.5 second 0-100km/h... The GTi does 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds. All this, thanks to the new transmission, and its ability to plant all 220ps and 350Nm utilising all four wheels, onto the tarmac efficiently. Give the car the beans in 'Sport' mode, and you do also get rewarded with DSG farts during upshifts, much like the GTi too.

Steering feel is pretty good. The speed sensitive unit drops in more weight as the speed ticks up. And yes, there are the much needed paddle shifters for you to swap cogs, while keeping both hands on the wheel. The head up display is a very welcome item in the car, as you are able to just simply… focus.


And so the argument goes, as always, when it comes to buying a VW. We would agree that the car is expensive. A top-spec Nissan Qashqai sets you back at $123,300, and the Tiguan still costs more than the Honda CRV (which isn't very pretty) but when stacking it up with premium badges, the Tiguan may be close in pricing to even a BMW X1, but what it offers in terms of practical space, interior refinement and equipment, just makes this more sensible. You are essentially buying some very good engineering here.

This article was first published on Oneshift.

Click here to book a test drive today!

You may also like:
Volkswagen Services
Volkswagen Facebook and Instagram