Brent Co / Patrick De Guzman Cardano | March 16, 2015 18:28
A true crossover in the most German sense
The Philippine urban jungle is a melting pot of varying road conditions and floods can hit any moment. These situations make crossovers the perfect everyday vehicle for Philippine motorists, especially for those who fancy the great outdoors every now and then.
The Tiguan is Volkswagen's first compact crossover that targets millennials who want a vehicle that fits their modern active lifestyle. The Tiguan was first introduced in 2006 as a crossover concept based on the Golf's PQ35 platform and has since spawned cousins like the Skoda Yeti and Audi Q3. Named as a portmanteau of the words tiger and iguana (Leguan in German); literally a crossover in a very German sense and can take on many kinds of terrain.
Being the Touareg's baby brother meant that the smaller Tiguan has adopted the overall shape of the midsize crossover. The updated version released for the Philippines features the sharper new look and a more tiger-like demeanor thanks to the black accents on the grill and headlights. The rear gets mono-red tail lamps with bright LED-lit character lines at night. The "Philadelphia" 17-inch wheels on the Sport & Style package completes the agile character while 235/55R17 tires provide good footing.
Inside, it felt very Volkswagen with round aircon vents and a softer looking steering wheel that appeals more to the volks. The seats felt good with the right amount of support and size. The second row provided good amount of space and legroom for occupants as well. It comes with a smart key and allows you start it up with a press of the button located near the shifter. The audio system comes with 8 speakers, USB and Aux-in connectivity. The overall interior design can use a little snazzing up though.
Underneath the bonnet is a 2.0-liter R4 TDI (turbocharged direct injection) also found in the Audi Q3. Unlike its platform cousin which gets the top-range 177 PS version, the Philippine-spec Tiguan's TDI only churns out 140 metric horsepower and 320 newton meters of torque. This might be a letdown for number nerds, but power felt more than enough for this compact crossover. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission delivering power to all four wheels.
Having driven the Q3, it felt very familiar to drive and maneuver. Pretty much like what the name promised, it felt sure-footed and agile the 140 PS TDI churned good power and pull. This is by no means a slouch of a crossover. The six-speed auto was a perfect match, shifting precisely and smoothly when you need it to; although a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic would've been great.
In city driving conditions, one might find it a bit odd having a wide turning radius for a compact crossover. Much like what we experienced with its Audi cousin. The suspension absorbed pretty much whatever our urban road conditions threw at it (at sensible speeds of course). It also comes with rear parking distance sensors as standard.
Out on the open road, it behaved quite well when it came to winding corners and fast bends. This “animal” seems more meant for the wild than the local urban jungle, though we can contend that this metro is a different jungle all its own.
For consumption, we logged 19 kilometers per liter on the highway at speeds of 90 to 100 km/h, while it tapered down to around 12 kilometers per liter in light to moderate city traffic. Despite a spirited pace, it still managed to log 9 km/l. For safety, the Euro NCAP gave it 5 star credentials, it gets 6 airbags; ABS, EBD, BA, ASR, EDS, EDTC, and ESP (all part of your safety alphabet soup).
Overall, the sensibly styled Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0-liter TDI version comes with the performance to match its looks. It seats 5 comfortably with a good amount of luggage space for the trip out of town. Based on the "original hot hatch" platform, its got the right size with the SUV features and safety features to keep your mind at ease.
On the pricetag, it is a bit more at Php 2,109,000 compared to Japanese offerings like the top-spec Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and approaches the price of midsize diesel-powered Korean crossovers like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. You do get a crossover in the most German sense with the utmost precision, efficiency and top-quality engineering.