Text and photos by Eric Tipan
While the name Tiguan — a portmanteau of ‘tiger’ and ‘iguana’ — may sound ambiguous and even a tad edgy, Volkswagen’s latest compact crossover is anything but.
Introduced as a concept in 2015 and launched locally March 2017, this second-generation model immediately brought in a huge dose of class and sophistication, which effectively elevated a segment known for its rugged appeal.
Now on its tenth year in the global market, I take a look at its latest features and give you four things that make the Tiguan more than just an amalgamated name.
If the Tiguan were a working man, it’d be the suit-and-tie guy.Just look at it and you’ll see my point.Nothing outrageous and out of the ordinary, no markings screaming ‘look at me!’, and every exterior feature seems to have been properly manicured in place.
The minimalist grille is a timely and refreshing change in an era where others have gone so big that it occupies the entire nose of the vehicle.An aggressive center line is carved along the side, through the reach-to-open-and-touch-to-lock door handles, all the way to the rear LED tail lamps.Simple design, perhaps dated even, but it does not come short of high-tech features.
LED headlamps come with LED daytime running lights plus the front windshield uses a sensor to automatically activate wipers when it starts pouring.
Inside the Tiguan is where it deviates a bit from that formal exterior and begins playing around with shapes.To conform with the contour of the dashboard and to create texture, designers added more angles to the outline of everything from the aircon vents, chrome panels and even door handles.It is a very subtle artsy-fartsy way to give the cabin personality without going over the top and losing the Tiguan’s essence.
Seating position is excellent and even though it only comes manually adjustable, that rotary dial to change the backrest angle does the job much better than the lever-types.
Despite being categorized as a crossover, which in general makes it smaller than full-blooded compact SUVs, it offers a roomy interior thanks to a wheelbase that’s wider than the segment standard.
Storage is not a problem. Aside from the main center console, the ingeniously designed cupholder area converts by pressing a switch to hide the clamps that hold your drink upright and then sliding a lid over to conceal its contents.
Prim and proper performance
The Tiguan’s performance is perfectly aligned with its dignified exterior and credit all that to its excellent powertrain.
It may be powered by a 1.4L four-cylinder fuel-injected engine, but turbocharging allows it to produce 150-PS (7-PS more than the 2.0L diesel engine) and 250-Nm of torque. A smaller more lightweight engine mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission allows the Tiguan to be three-tenths faster from 0-100 kph at 9.2 seconds with fuel consumption of 8.5 kilometers per liter on pure city driving.
I may make it seem like a hyperactive crossover but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, the engine is highly capable but it puts on a controlled, docile drive until you need that extra oomph for an overtaking maneuver perhaps or just to fill that need for speed.
The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering is light to the touch yet comes with German precision for a solid feel of the road.
Noise, vibration and harshness levels are very nicely dampened without sacrificing comfort by coil springs and triangular wishbones with stabilizer in front and independent four-link suspension with stabilizer in the rear.
Euro-priced at P2.259 million, the Tiguan does come with niceties that justify what it charges. For example, keyless-entry and courtesy light under the side mirrors shows forward-thinking and politeness to owners who may not all have the same well-lit garage or can’t be bothered to hunt down car keys.
It’s also got a push-start button, a 6.5-inch color touchscreen, electric parking brake with auto-hold function, Parking Distance Control with front and rear sensors and three-zone climate control with allergen filter to protect you from the filthy Metro Manila air.
For the discerning driver
Everybody loves them an SUV or crossover for same exact reasons — ride height and roominess. Since most of these cars look, feel and drive the same, look for tiny little features that make your experience in it and driving it much more enjoyable.These may add to the tag price of the vehicle and this is where you decide if it’s worth your hard-earned money or not.
If you want your next ride to still be in this segment but seek a more refined, smoother and more fuel-efficient unit, I do believe these dapper and distinguished features of the VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI DSG AT make it worth a long and hard look.