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Reader's test: VW Tiguan

2012-02-09 06:17

Jan Naude

NOT BAD...: Jan lists his Tiguan's price, build quality and cabin space as some of its best features.

I bought the new VW Tiguan 1.4 TSI Blue Motion 90KW Trend and Fun in November 2011 – this is the 1.4 engine with turbo but no supercharger. The extras added were metallic paint, a swing-away tow bar, roof rails, front fog lights and rear park assist. I extended the three-year or 60 000km maintenance plan to five years or 90 000km. All this cost R298000 - a real bargain.

In December 2011, I went to Barra beach near Inhambane in Mozambique. The road was mostly tar except for a stretch of dirt road 5km from Barra beach with the last kilometer being thick sand. The Tiguan (a 4x2) with four occupants and tyres deflated to one bar successfully manage the sand with my brother-in-law, an expert driver in sand, behind the wheel. On the way back to South Africa we took a 95-km, relatively-poor dirt road to avoid the traffic congestion around Maputo.

The Tiguan has 6000km on the odometer. The engine has more than enough power for all driving conditions including quick over-taking. Maximum power is available from 1500 rpm (200Nm) with 80% of this power available as low as 1275 rpm.  Road holding is excellent even on poor dirt roads and the vehicle absorbed the potholes and other challenges of the dirt road exceptionally well. No rattles were observed afterwards.   


The Blue Motion Tiguan is promoted by VW as a fuel efficient vehicle, however, you have to drive the Tiguan at very low revs in all six gears to achieve good fuel consumption – and this is something that you have to get use to. Nevertheless, the fuel consumption is a bit disappointing. The average fuel consumption was 8.3 litres/100km with a best of 7.2 litres/100km and a worst of 9.5 litres/100km. Free-flowing highway driving gives you about 850 kilometers while city driving barely gets 700 kilometers out of the 64-litre tank.

Likes: The thick leather steering wheel and fat tyres are great. The build quality is good. The plastics are nice with a soft touch except some areas of hard plastic around the gear lever that scratches easily. The 230V socket and the storage space around the spare wheel under the luggage floor are very useful. The hill-hold function is cool.

The secondary digital speedometer read out is a nice feature and keeps one more conscious of the cruising speed than the needled speedometer.

Dislikes: The electronic parking brake is a nuisance (and sometimes dangerous) because it disengages the hill-hold function under certain circumstances leaving you without any means to prevent rolling backwards. The turning circle is poor. The engine sometimes stalls on pull away when the semi-automatic climate control is on.

Turbo-lag is also noticeable with climate control switched on despite VW claiming that the 90 kW engine has no turbo-lag.

In summary, this is a well-priced, good-quality vehicle with reasonable fuel consumption and good interior space.

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