Text by: Samuel Ee, The Business Times
Going for dinner can occasionally be like going for a drive. For example, a Michelin-starred restaurant is like an expensive car - there's nice decor (styling) and quality service (sales and aftersales). The chef (salesman) comes to your table to explain his food (model). Maybe he scoured the whole of South-east Asia for the perfect chicken to gently luxuriate in a water bath for optimum tenderness. You're impressed by his passion and craft (the chef, not the salesman). But when the dish arrives - you're not sure why, but you don't really like it. Perhaps the chicken was unhappy at being the main course and refused to relax. Or your expectations were too high.
Fortunately, you don't feel the same about the new Volkswagen Tiguan. It looks nothing like organic poultry; in fact, it's rather handsome. The second generation of the German manufacturer's hugely popular compact sport-utility vehicle is not only bigger but also buffier
Where the originals styling was soft, the successor's is macho, with sharpened lines and creases. The profile is especially attractive, with its big wheels and strong rear pillar. The new car is 60 mm longer at 4,486 mm and its wheel base extended by 77 mm to 2,681 mm. But it is 33 mm lower at 1,632 mm, giving it a more attractively planted stance. More importantly, the Tiguan is now built on VW's MQB modular architecture, thus allowing it to incorporate features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and an active engine bonnet to increase pedestrian safety.
Two versions are available - the Tiguan Highline 280 TSI with a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine driving the front wheels, and the Tiguan R-Line 380 TSI with a 2.0-litre unit driving all four wheels. The latter features the latest 4Motion Active Control permanent all-wheel-drive technology with various terrain settings and the familiar driving profiles selected using a new rotary knob on the lower centre console. You can now drive the Tiguan on snow if you can find any.
But perhaps the slickest part of the cabin has to be the new virtual instrument binnacle. Called the Active Info Display, it offers the same configurable driver info and images as Audi's virtual cockpit (the Volkswagen Group owns Audi). This means big or small meters featuring any combination of driving, vehicle, navigation and infotainment data. One quirky result of the myriad options available is that, together with the standard head-up display (using a retractable glass panel), it is possible to have up to four speedometer readings all at once if you so desire - three digital and one analogue-style.
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