TEST DRIVE REVIEW – VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN

SOPHISTICATED, HIGH QUALITY AND PACKED WITH THE GOODNESS OF GERMAN ENGINEERING, THIS ROBUST SUV REALLY IS READY TO LET THE ADVENTURE, ALBEIT OF AN EVOLVED KIND, BEGIN

Words: Aninda Sardar

At Rs 31.46 lakh, ex-showroom, for the Highline version (Rs 28.07 lakh for the base Comfortline) that I was driving, the Volkswagen Tiguan at first glance appears to be on the expensive side of life. Quite honestly, by the time you’ve added up all the taxes and other rubbish that the government wants you to pay, you could stretch things just a bit and you’d be in BMW or Audi territory. A definite jump up the brag rights ladder. So why then should you even consider this particular German?

BECAUSE SIZE MATTERS

The Volkswagen Tiguan is roughly the same size as Skoda’s Kodiaq but because the VW only has to seat five people and not seven like in its Czech cousin, things are a bit more sprawled out on the inside. It’s not as if the Skoda lacks for space, it’s just that you get a little bit more in the Tiguan. Which also means there is a lot more space here than you’ll find in an X1, Q3 or a GLA. On the outside too, while the VW badge on the grille doesn’t carry the same snob value as the blue and white propeller, the four rings or the three pointed star, it’s not way behind. That, combined with its larger dimensions, means that you’ll get noticed anyway. Not in the loud shouty kind of way that some others do, but in a quiet more dignified way. In line with your evolved man aspirations.

Where I think the VW really scores is in the quality department. From the leather of the seats to the aluminium accents in the car to the feel of the plastics, everything here is high quality stuff. There’s a solid premium feel to this one that you’ll be able to like quite easily. And then to top it all off, there’s that impeccable German logic at work everywhere. So all the buttons are placed logically and in a sequence that makes sense. Not to mention there is a lovely positive tactile feel to their use. The end result? That sense of premium which you always appreciate in high end luxury cars.

The Tiguan also has a fairly long list of features that most of us would appreciate in our cars. Take the panoramic sunroof for instance. Right this moment I can just look up and see the pitter patter of rain on glass, turning into globs of water that make for super Insta shots while I wait for the traffic light to change from red. Or when the sun shines through the grey pall of the monsoon skies I can just feel nice and bright and chirpy. And once the sun dips below the horizon and the sky is dotted with a billion twinkling stars the auto dimming mirror in the cabin ensures your view of the heavens isn’t filled with the glare of those headlamps of the guy behind you. The only thing missing here is a massage function or at least the Passat’s cooled seats. Those would have seriously upped the premium stakes some more.

OF MATTERS THAT ALSO MATTER

Premium and noticeable though an SUV may be, eventually you’ll want some performance out of the thing. You don’t want to be taking a thoroughly charmed gang of girls out on a road trip into the hills only to find that the bloody motor’s got no poke. That’d be embarrassing, right? You want the man in you to show in your choice of wheels.

Thankfully, the Tiguan’s 2-litre engine with 143 cantering horses and 340Nm of max torque pulls through virtually all situations with zero fuss. Not to forget, that peachy dual clutch transmission that makes sure that the transfer of power from heart to legs is silky smooth. It’s pretty linear too for a turbocharged diesel, the usual sudden caught-me-unaware surge of grunt simply isn’t there to unsettle you. On the downside, this does rob the VW of some amount of excitement but then the Tiguan is blessed with lovely dynamic characteristics as compensation. It really is a pleasure to drive. Out on the highway, get up to a nice and relaxed cruising speed and stick it in cruise control and you’re sorted. On the hills, that light but accurate and quick steering coupled with a taut chassis and a suspension set just so will make sure you’re smiling at the end when you’ve got to that hotel at the top. At the same time, back on the city streets it will soak up all the ravaging that the monsoon wreaks on our roads.

So, if you’re still wondering why you should spend money on this VW that seems pricey enough to be something else? Well, let’s just say it’s so much more than a brand.

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