Volkswagen Tiguan 2011 Review

Volkswagen’s updated Tiguan 4×4 has new TDi diesel technology driving through a six-speed Tiptronic transmission making it more frugal by 0.5l/100km and with less emisions (by 10g of CO2 per km). Other performance figures remain the same, with the Tiguan taking 10.7 seconds to reach 100kph. With the 4Motion all-wheel drive and 235/55 tyres on 17-inch wheels it’s got plenty of grip on all surfaces, and it’s capable of towing up to two tonnes (as long a the trailer is braked). It also comes, as standard, with a trailer stabilization system to stop any speed wobbles.

So, it’s a city-style compact 4WD SUV, but with the toughness credentials to back it up. Our test car was brown, which seems to be staging a resurgence in popularity. You might remember the brown Ford Cortinas and Escorts of 30 years ago with moderate disdain, but the new metallic brown hues look quite sharp.

Volkswagen has designed the Tiguan to appeal to small families. There are fold-up tray tables behind the passenger and driver’s seat which have integrated cup holders. These seats are ‘cinema style’ – they’re slightly raised to give the rear passengers a better view. The seats are covered in hard-wearing upholstery.

The boot is sizeable and will expand to over 1500 litres. With the Tiguan’s height, you can fit some fairly large objects in there, so it’s useful for holiday paraphernalia. The rear seats are split for extra flexibility, and the boot has a low lip to make for easier loading. Under the boot floor there are a couple of hidden compartments around the space saver spare wheel. The boot also contains a couple of bag hooks which are useful to stop single bags from sliding around.

Up front, the Tiguan has a good entertainment system. It’s driven through a large colour touch screen. There is an iPod dock in the central binnacle, and you can connect your phone via Bluetooth.

The 4Motion system mostly drives the Tiguan through the front wheels to save fuel, but under acceleration will transfer power as required to the rear wheels. This helps give the Tiguan an average fuel economy (combined of 7l/100km). We managed around 8l/100km, but motoring journalists are not renowned for being overly frugal with the right hand pedal.

The Tiguan’s party trick is that it will not only parallel park itself (with your hands off the wheel), but also help extricate you from a tight parking spot if someone’s boxed you in. It only needs a gap 25cm longer than the car to do this. However, you don’t really need this feature because the ultrasonic parking sensors are very good. Rather than just being at the front and back, they also monitor the sides of the Tiguan, so you can squeeze into quite tight spaces without worrying you’ll scratch a side panel. There are 12 sensors in total – four at the front, four at the back and two on each side.

The Tiguan is comfortable to drive, and whether it’s hot or there are eight (count ‘em) air conditioning vents spread across the entire dashboard. It’s overkill. An electronic handbrake removes the need for a cumbersome normal handbrake. There are some nice cubby holes for various bits and pieces, including a useful one to the right of the steering wheel. The instrument layout is simple to read with trip computer and important features on a display. This can be changed using buttons on the steering wheel, as can the stereo system.

We’ve established the Tiguan is a solid all-rounder, but all-rounders still have their weaknesses. With the Tiguan, it’s a little bit harsh-sounding under acceleration. The 2-litre diesel liberates only 103kW, which means you do need to give it some beans to overtake, or up the hills.

Overall, though, you can’t really fault the Tiguan. It’s a car that makes you look good if you’re not good at parking; it’s got your back with the driver fatigue detection system; it’s got all the right safety features coupled with a practical layout and adequate power; and it looks sharp, too.

Our test car had optional LED lights fitted.

We first reviewed the Tiguan back in 2008

Why you’ll buy it:

  • You’re a small family that needs to tow something
  • You want a reasonably compact but practical car which has good visibility and is easy to park
  • You want a 4WD SUV-style vehicle with sensible fuel economy
  • You want a car that’s easy to get into and out of – perhaps you have trouble getting in and out of lower vehicles.

Pros:

  • Versatile and flexible
  • Drives well

Cons:

  • Engine sounds harsh

You might want to check out:

Audi Q5

Holden Captiva

Mitsubishi Outlander

Toyota RAV4 diesel

Honda CR-V

Hyundai iX35 diesel

Price: starts at $53,250

Specifications

Engine, gearbox, electrical system (2.0 TDI Tiptronic)

Engine type 103kW TDI
Cubic capacity, litres/cm 3 1968cc
Max. output, kW(bhp) at rpm 103kW @ 4200rpm
Max. torque, Nm at rpm 320Nm @ 1750-2500rpm
Gearbox, standard 6-Speed automatic with tiptronic

Top speed, kph

with automatic gearbox 182

Weights, kg

Min. unladen weight (kg) 1600
12% gradient, (braked/unbraked) 2000/750

Acceleration, in seconds from 0-100 kph

with automatic gearbox 10.7

Fuel consumption, litres/100 km with automatic gearbox

urban 9.0
extra-urban 5.8
combined 7.0
CO 2 emission, g/km 185g/km – Euro 4
103kW TDI = $53,250

Prices exclude on-road costs and effective September 7, 2011

Engine, gearbox, electrical system (2.0 TDI Tiptronic)

Engine type 103kW TDI
Cubic capacity, litres/cm 3 1968cc
Max. output, kW(bhp) at rpm 103kW @ 4200rpm
Max. torque, Nm at rpm 320Nm @ 1750-2500rpm
Gearbox, standard 6-Speed automatic with tiptronic

Top speed, kph

with automatic gearbox 182

Weights, kg

Min. unladen weight (kg) 1600
12% gradient, (braked/unbraked) 2000/750

Acceleration, in seconds from 0-100 kph

with automatic gearbox 10.7

Fuel consumption, litres/100 km with automatic gearbox

urban 9.0
extra-urban 5.8
combined 7.0
CO 2 emission, g/km 185g/km – Euro 4

Safety and Security
ESP (electronic stability program), ABS braking system with Brake Assist, and EDL (electronic diff lock)
Electronic parking brake
Airbags for driver and front passenger
Front passenger airbag deactivation
Curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers
Side airbags at the front
Safety steering column with telescoping element
3 rear head restraints
5 three point inertia reel seat belts; front belts with height adjustment and belt tensioners.
Safety optimised front head restraints
ISOFIX mountings on outer rear seats for child seats
Automatic activation of hazard warning lights if full braking is applied
Electronic immobiliser
Anti-theft ‘Plus’ alarm system
Turn signals with LED technology integrated in door mirrors

Wheels
Alloy wheels, 17″ Boston with 235/55 tyres
Space and weight saving emergency spare wheel
Tyre pressure monitoring system

Exterior features
Headlights – Halogen
Automatic driving light control with ‘leaving home’ function and manual ‘coming home’ function
Chrome work package
Rain sensor
Front fog lights with fixed cornering lights
Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
ParkPilot front and rear with Park Assist parking assistant
Green-tinted heat insulating windows
Privacy glass – rear windown and rear side windows 65% light absorbing
Roof rails, silver anodized

Interior features
Automotically dimming rear view mirror
Climatronic two zone air conditioning system
Cruise Control
Steering wheel with height and rake adjustment
Leather covered gear lever and hand brake lever
Leather covered multifunction steering wheel
Central locking with radio remote control
Electric windows, front and rear
Multi-function display ‘Plus’
Front centre armrest with storage box, 2 vents and 2 cup holders at the rear
Glove compartment, lockable and illuminated

Seats and upholstery
Milan fabric/alcantara upholstery, sports front seats with lumbar support
Driver and passenger seat height adjustment and lumbar support, manual adjustment
Asymmetrically split folding rear bench seat can be moved lengthwise, with backrest angle adjustment and centre armrest with load through provision
Drawers under front seats
Folding front passenger seat backrest, serving table and load through provision

Multimedia
4 x 20 watts, 8 loud speakers
AUX-IN multimedia socket
RCD510 Radio CD system with large high resolution colour touch screen, 6 disc CD changer, MP3 and WMA file compatible
Media Device Interface (MDI) multimedia socket and iPod adapter cable
Mobile phone with Bluetooth (hands free profile, A2DP) including multi-function display ‘Plus’ and phonebook display

Warranty and Assistance
3 year / unlimited km mechanical warranty, 12 year anti-corrosion warranty
3 year Volkswagen Roadside Assistance

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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