Late in 2011 Volkswagen used the scheduled mid model-life facelift of its Tiguan range as an opportunity to not only adorn their compact SUV entry with the latest family look (including the now-familiar horizontal grille and sharper headlamp treatment, including LED running lights) but also to offer a revised engine/transmission line-up aimed at achieving improved levels of efficiency throughout the range.
Along with the introduction of two new TSI engines (with outputs of 90 kW and 155 kW), and the inclusion of the company’s BlueMotion technology (including start/stop and battery regeneration functions), the previous-generation conventional torque-converter six-speed automatic transmission has been superceded by a slick seven-speed dual clutch ‘box.
Mated with the more powerful of the two 2,0-litre TDI engine options (it is also available with the 155 kW TSI unit), this DSG goes a long way towards endowing the revised Tiguan with a completely new personality.
One of the advantages the Volkswagen Tiguan has enjoyed since its 2008 introduction is that it successfully blends car-like driving characteristics with the sought-after convenience of a raised driving position and propped-up ground clearance. Although the trade-off for its compact, car-like, packaging is a slight compromise in usable interior space (specifically around the luggage area) compared with some of its rivals, that fact has little impact on the overall comfort levels of occupants – for those seated up front and at the rear. The tall stance of the Tiguan also allows for a high cabin roofline, which adds to the sense of roominess.
Based on the same platform as the Golf, the Tiguan manages to feel light on its feet and fairly nimble, a trait I’m sure many of its predominantly female drivers appreciate. Unlike some of the larger, more bulky SUVs on the market, this compact SUV (on which the upcoming Audi Q3 is also based) also proves easy to manoeuvre around tightly congested parking areas – like those found at popular shopping malls, for example.
Having experienced Volkswagen’s dual-clutch DSG transmissions in a number of other applications, most recently in the Polo GTI that accompanied our January 2012 Performance Issue road-trip, it was surely only a matter of time before this technology found its way into a vehicle like the Tiguan. Not only does the inclusion of a seventh cog significantly reduce average fuel consumption (down to a claimed 7,5 litres/100 kilometres on TDI 4Motion models) over longer journeys, but the near-seamless shift action of this transmission also makes shorter town trips and crawling in traffic far less stressful.
A feature not included on the vehicle that I spent time with, and one that arguably warrants inclusion as an extra option, was steering wheel-mounted (gear) shift paddles. While these items are usually included on more sporty models (like the Polo GTI), I would suggest they could prove even more useful fitted in the Tiguan TDI application as they offer the driver the chance to preempt any loss of momentum as the road conditions change. Although the gearshift offered by the DSG ‘box is seamless, it still needs to detect that one is required before any action can take place. Using the paddles to move into the optimal gear for an approaching incline could prove beneficial for both overall fuel consumption, and overall comfort.
Although I wasn’t called upon to test the full 4Motion off-road capabilities of the Track and Field model that I drove (look out for a full road test in an upcoming issue of CAR) I can say that the new front end design, dedicated to this model, and including a more rugged-looking bumper, underbody protection plates and revised 28-degreee approach angle (18-degress on Trend & Fun and Sport & Style versions) certainly add a sense of purpose to this package.
Prices (VAT and Emissions Tax included)
1,4 TSI 90kW 4×2 Trend & Fun with BlueMotion Technology R272 600
2,0 TDI 81kW 4×2 Trend & Fun with BlueMotion Technology R289 100
1,4 TSI 118kW 4×2 Trend & Fun with BlueMotion Technology R299 500
1,4 TSI 118kW 4MOTION Trend & Fun R318 200
2,0 TDI 103kW 4MOTION Track & Field DSG R383 400
2,0 TDI 103kW 4MOTION Sport & Style DSG R390 400
2,0 TSI 155kW 4MOTION Sport & Style DSG R413 800
Download the full press release on the revised VW Tiguan by clicking on the Attachments tab above.