Reader test: Volkswagen Tiguan
James Cooke, Cape Town
I required a vehicle with good ground clearance and a suspension that can handle rough dirt roads. I purchased a Tiguan 2.0 TDi Multitronic - Track and Field in December 2009 and it has covered 15 000 km to date. The distance travelled so far is made up of about 11 000 km long distance on tar, about 2 000km on dirt and the rest commuting.
Engine and transmission
Power delivery is smooth and linear and the gear ratios suit the engine's characteristics perfectly. Gear changes (up and down) are extremely smooth in D as well as S modes. This is a very good match.
VW's 4Matic all-wheel drive system is assisted by smart electronics and wheel spin appears to be virtually impossible on any surface.
Suspension and Road Holding
The suspension is firm, but not uncomfortable and handles dirt roads very well. One gets the impression that it can take a lot of hammering. The vehicle's road holding is excellent on dirt and tar and one can easily forget that you are not driving a sedan when negotiating a mountain pass.
Deliberately induced slides on dry or wet dirt roads are brilliantly corrected by the ESP. This is indeed a safe and forgiving vehicle.
The standard tyres are 215/65 x 16 – and intelligent profile for dirt roads (and pot-holed tar!!!)
Quality of materials as well the standards of fit and finish are very high and I would say class leading. Just have a look at the door seal rubbers and compare it with any other similar vehicle. The standard sound system is of a high quality and reception by the RDS radio is excellent.
Four 12v power points are located in the cabin – cigarette lighter, two on the console between the seats and one in the luggage compartment. In addition, there is a 230v outlet at the back of the centre console - ideal for charging cell phones, cameras and computers and driving a fridge.
Automatic wipers and lights come standard and the side view mirrors are electrically adjustable, foldable and are heated.
Front seats are, in addition to usual adjustments, adjustable for height and lumbar support (electric on the driver’s seat). The seats are very comfortable and supportive.
The leather-covered steering is small with a thick rim and can be adjusted for rake and reach. Finding an ideal driving position is easy. Steering feel is good.
Interior lighting is abundant and clear. The instruments are easy to read in daylight as well as at night.
A trip computer provides accurate and informative information - including oil temperature.
Each front door provides storage space for a 1.5 litre bottle in the roomy door bin.
Four handy storage bins are provided in the roof lining for sun glasses, GPS etc
Rear seat passengers have plenty of leg room and the seats can be moved forward to increase utility space. Seats are easy to fold. The front passenger seat backrest can fold forward to accommodate long loads.
Luggage space is just adequate, depending on the number of people in the family. In my case, with only two of us, the space is more than enough.
With plenty of airbags, sophisticated electronics and good suspension this is a safe vehicle.
Long-term average consumption is 8 litres/100km (or 12.5 km/litre) and on long journeys I have achieved up to 7.1 litres/100km (or 14km/litre).
A space saver spare wheel to my mind is a no-no in ANY vehicle. What do you do if you have a puncture or lose a tyre on a Sunday in the middle of the Karoo????
I'd rather sacrifice 80mm of luggage compartment depth and have a decent spare wheel (which I am going to buy). Space savers are a general new trend and only serves one purpose - to increase profits. They should be standard in so-called SUVs – especially at that price.
Value for money
At R391 000 (now R399 000) this is not a cheap car in the segment, but thankfully overall quality appears to be above average.
I believe that each and every car sold in South Africa is too expensive. We are all being taken for a ride - excuse the pun.
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