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Tiguan a Golf GTI on stilts


The latest Volkswagen Tiguan has proven to be a great success for the Volkswagen brand within the local market.

Sales are certainly up versus the previous generation despite the fact that local passenger car sales figures are down overall. Volkswagen’s medium-sized SUV ticks all the right boxes with great styling, superb quality, respectable handling, practicality and more recently, has provided consumers with a range of derivatives to choose from.

I drove the brand’s recently introduced 2.0-litre TSI version which also comes with 4Motion all-wheel drive.

That styling

There’s no denying that the Tiguan best represents what a modern Volkswagen should look like in the eyes of consumers. With the shift from lower hatchback and sedan-type vehicles to crossovers and SUVs, the Tiguan is the right car for current automotive trends.

I have seen very few of the new models not fitted with the R-Line bodykit and that’s perhaps because South Africa is the biggest market in the world for the R-Line styling package. I cannot deny how effective the sporty kit is though, the Tiguan looks positively imposing with it fitted.

My test unit was specified with the aforementioned kit, which looks slightly different from the 1.4-litre TSI model equipped with R-Line by virtue of the 20-inch Suzuka alloy wheels specific to the 2.0-litre TSI and TDI variants, along with different
exhaust exits on the lower bumper, which are integrated as opposed the twin-pipe setup on the 1.4 TSI.

My test unit also featured LED headlamps which adds another dimension to the front-end styling. The result is a thoroughly modern interpretation of a sporty SUV with an imposing grille, large wheels and an impression that it is quite a bit larger than it really is. Some members of the general public even asked if it was a Touareg.

Endearing ergonomics

The interior of the latest Tiguan is a classy affair with excellent build quality and a general impression that all of the switchgear is located in the right place. The logical layout adds to the driving experience and makes vehicle operation a breeze.

Options fitted to my tester included the App Connect system, which integrates with the infotainment system and allows users to make use of smartphone-based applications while operating the car, while the Active Info Display turns your instrument cluster into a media hub of sorts, meaning that there’s no need to take your eyes off of the road.

The R-Line package also adds a black roof liner to the interior which makes for a more cosseted feel, while also ensuring that the roof will not show scuff marks in future.

Driving 4Motion

The biggest addition to the Tiguan range earlier this year was the introduction of the 2.0-litre turbo petrol and turbodiesel engines, which also brought about 4Motion all-wheel drive in the process. The addition of 4Motion gives the Tiguan a degree of off-road ability and increased stability for those taking on the odd dirt/gravel road.

The 2.0-litre TSI is quite a nippy piece of kit, with the 162kW/350Nm motor lifted from the Golf GTI providing a 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds thanks to a launch control system. Fuel consumption is claimed at 7.8-litres/100km, however from my experience, expect around 9.3-litres/100km over a mixed cycle.

The R-Line package also adds a sports suspension setup which, combined with the low profile tyres, can compromise the ride at times, but on the other hand, does make the Tiguan a very competent car in the handling department.


The 2.0-litre TSI Tiguan is an impressive piece of kit with Golf GTI-rivalling levels of performance and surprisingly adept dynamics. This does come at a cost though with the Highline R-Line model retailing for R569 600 without options, meaning that with a few tasty boxes ticked, your Tiguan could be priced well over the R600 000 mark.

I’d be tempted to say that the TDI might just prove to be the better alternative if you value fuel consumption over performance.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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