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2017 Volkswagen Tiguan TSI R-Line 4Motion  – Car Review – Mid Sized Life Crisis

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan TSI R-Line 4Motion – Car Review – Mid Sized Life Crisis

This market segment is today what the hot hatch market was 10 years ago. And as it heats up to boiling point, every manufacturer wants to make sure they are not left out in the cold to die.

We even have SUVs from some of the supercar manufacturers on the way too, which shows the power of customers’ desires in this segment. Previously they have never been swung by market demand. So if you want to offer an SUV in today’s market, it needs to be pretty damn amazing.

The Range

There are 5 models to chose from, four petrol and one diesel. This range starts with the TSI Comfortline 2WD for $41,990 and goes all the way up to the test model we have, the TSI R-Line 4 Motion which is $66,990. In between those you have the TSI Highline 2WD ($47,990), the TSI Highline 4Motion ($57,990) and the TDI Highline 4Motion ($59,990).

The car is available in 9 colors, Urano Grey Non-Metallic, Pure White Non-Metallic, Titanium Beige Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic, Caribbean Blue Metallic, Tungsten Silver Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Nutshell Brown, Indium Grey Metallic, Deep Black Pearl Effect. And finally, two premium paints that have additional costs, Oryx White Premium ($2000) which was on our review car and Habanero Orange Premium ($500).

The range itself is very well spec’d, from 11 available options to add to the base model, to 3 available options to add to the R-Line. For the R-Line you get the following as standard; Start /stop system with regenerative braking, Electronic Stability Control with driver steering recommendation, ABS, ASR, EDL,EDTC, and trailer stabilisation, electronic parking brake, with Autohold function, Forward Collision Warning Front Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Side Assist Plus incl. lane keeping system, Lane
Assist, and Rear Traffic Alert, DCC adaptive chassis control including driving
profile selection, alloy wheels –  20” Suzuka with 255/40 tyres, Park Distance Control front and rear with Park Assist, parallel parking assistant, Area view camera including rear view camera, privacy glass – rear window and rear side windows, 65% light absorbing, Easy Open plus Easy Close – sensor controlled luggage compartment opener, 4 x 20 watts, 8 loudspeakers. If that was not a mouthful the R-Line package includes – “Vienna” leather upholstery, top comfort seats in front, heated front seats. electric seat adjustment with memory system right, left seats mechanically height-adjustable and electrically adjustable lumbar support for right-front seat.

As you can see, you get a lot for your money. And if you want more, you can add the Panorama sliding glass sunroof for $2500 the Oryx White exterior paint for $2000 and DYNAUDIO Excite surround, 8+1 speakers with 10-channel digital amplifier, 400 watts output and subwoofer for $1500. Our test car, had everything but the DYNAUDIO package

First Impressions

Oh my! How you’ve grown since I saw you last. The new Tiguan is a big vehicle; wider, longer and taller than the old Tiguan. If you didn’t look at the name, you might even think it’s the larger cousin, the Touareg. But you can’t argue that the new Tiguan is a great looking machine. From any angle it’s got nice lines and sweeping curves. Being the R-Line model, it had that really aggressive flourishes all over. Bumper and sill extensions give it a lower hugging feeling, and the wheel arch extensions and body color rear spoiler accentuates that sporty attitude.

I was thankful that our test car came in white, as I really think this is the best color for this model, contrasting the sport aspects of the vehicle to their full effect. The whole package had a menacing look that left you wanting to dive right in and drive it.

The Inside

If you have been inside any VW made in the last two years, that’s what it looks like. They are all the same, down to the fact of using all the same parts. But as the saying goes, “if something isn’t broken, dont fix it”. And that’s exactly what VW have done; nothing. There have been some changes to software and features, but the overall interior looks almost the same as the Mk VII Golf that was launched in 2012

The seats all round were very comfy, and that Vienna leather upholstery really left you with a high-end luxury feeling. The front seats were slightly sporty in the sense that they had a bit of support in the sides, while the rear seats were a bit more bench like. A good test for these vehicles are how roomy they are in the back. An even for a tall 6’7” guy like myself, I was able to get in and get comfy without any struggle.

We took the Tiguan over to Martinbrough for the Easter long weekend, something we do every year as a small getaway. It’s also a great test for vehicles like this, to see how they fare with luggage, and a group of adults for an entire weekend. Everyone liked the look of the Tiguan, but surprisingly enough the most impressive thing that some of the passengers found was the flip out tables in the rear. They were great for phones or wallets to be placed on, and if you had any drinks they had cup holders too. They would be great for kids, for books, iPads etc…

The fully digital dash that started life with Audi and is now making it down to VW, is very cool to look at. However I personally found it a bit odd at times, as it gave the impression of being fully customisable, however it was not. You had certain limitation with settings. For instance, you could have classic mode, which is just a normal dial in digital form. Then you could add to this Speed or Gears, which would show in the center of the dials, the speed on one side and gears on the other. Another setting was Consumption and Range, which would show you fuel consumption on one side and range on the other. I would have liked to have Speed on one side and range on the other, and could not see why you could not pick what you wanted in each zone of the interface. It was not the end of the world, but its was one of those things that was almost perfect, but not quite.

The HUD was also a nice surprise, and I must say I thought it was cheap upon first glance as its was a flip up piece of plastic, not a projection system on the windscreen. But over time I grew to like it, and understood why they went with the pop up plastic panel over the glass projection. It was more of the simple and easy approach, and it worked very well. It also had no problem adjusting to my height unlike some other brands of HUDs display. And just like the photo shows, once in the driver’s seat, you barely notice it’s a piece of plastic at all.

The glass roof is a must-have for me. These sorts of SUV’s are made for them – it changed the whole dynamic of the interior, from what could be a somewhat dark space to a light, airy, and inviting interior. I was also glad to see that the sunroof was a large glass panel, and not the typical small cut hole sunroof that we are still seeing as options in other Euro brands.

The Drive

Before we get too far into the drive, it’s worth noting that this Tiguan is running the same engine as the VW Golf Mk VII Gti. Both have roughly the same kW, 162kW on the Tiguan, and 169kW on the Golf GTI and both have the same 350Nm of torque. They are also both have a DSG gearbox with flappy paddles, however the Tiguan also has the 4-Motion AWD drive train. This means that the performance of the Tiguan is not that shabby at all. The Golf GTI can do 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds, and the Tiguan can do 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds. Thats pretty impressive for an SUV that is 336kg heavier than the Golf GTI.

Around the city and on the daily drive, the Tiguan was as easy to as any vehicle can be. It’s smooth and light to drive, and the visibility all around is great, thanks to the high seating position. It does feel like a big wide vehicle, and that’s because it has grown 5cm since the previous model. This helps the overall look a lot, and I did not find it anymore difficult to navigate around tight carpark buildings or tight spaces.

The boot space was very good too, For the day to day you can have it set at its default height, leaving you with a flat bottom boot space, and when you need more space you can lower it about 3 inches. It may not seem like a lot, but it does make a difference when you’re away for a weekend and packing food and luggage for a few people. We were able to load the car up with everything we needed for several adults for a few days, plus our own luggage and still have the visibility clear out the back of the vehicle. With the rear seats down, the boot open up into a cavernous 1655 litres space, one of the largest spaces for its size in the market.

The big question after all that, does it drive like the GTI? I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it did perform just as well. One of my friends who came over to Martinbrough just happened to have a VW Golf MKVII GTI. So we both thought it would be a shame not to test them against each other and see how they perform in the real world. Off the line both cars had very similar performance as per the advertised spec, but where we wanted to test its ability was off the straight motorways and onto the twisty country roads.

Once we had a bit of time to ourselves, Chris (the Golf owner) and I took the Tiguan out to see how it handles the country roads. After dialing in the sport drive mode, I really wanted to push the Tiguan around a bit to see if something that’s so much taller than a hot hatch can perform just as well. Even in its normal Comfort mode, it was easy to notice that lack of body roll when driving around, something some SUV’s suffer from heavily. But when in Sports mode, there was barely any roll at all. You felt planted to the ground, and thanks to the 4-Motion AWD system, you had such confidence to keep the power on while carving up some of the back country roads. It’s no coupe, so it’s not the ultimate driving machine, but it does not act like an SUV either. The DNA from the Golf GTI was there, and it was not shy about showing us either. The great thing about this SUV, much like the GTI, is that you don’t need to be hooning it to have a bit of fun. Well, within the speed limits you can blissfully enjoy the sharp performance.

The other noticeable aspect of the R-Line was the exhaust note. In Comfort mode is was as one would expect. Subdued, but still subtly grumbly, which was nice to hear on the day to day. Once you switched this to Sport mode, it was like the gloves were off. You get a much deeper sound and a fiery gurgle and pop when changing up and down gears. It’s not the kind of noise that makes you weak at the knees, but that noise that gives you a cheeky little grin of guilty pleasure.

By the end of our country jaunt, nether of us were left unimpressed with this vehicle; it performed as well as it looked.  

 

What it’s up against

It might be easier to say, what is it not up against, as this segment of the market is full of options for even the most picky customer. Almost every brand has an midsize SUV now, some even have multiple variants, like coupes or sportbacks. For value for money based on aesthetics, the VW wins hands down over all of the other Euro brand SUVs. As the VW is the R-Line, you get a much better body kit, and a saving of around $20k or more. The only vehicle in the list that comes close in looks and style in my opinion is the Range Rover Evoque, however it’s still around $10k more.

Mid Size SUV

Brand / ModelEnginePower Kw/NmFuel L/100kmBoot Capacity LitresPrice Highest to Lowest
BMW X3 xDrive28i2.0L Turbo inline 4180kw / 350Nm7.3L550-1600$99,350
Mercedes-Benz GLC 2502.0L Turbo inline 4155kw / 350Nm7.2L550-1600 $95,900
Lexus NX 200t AWD F Sport2.0L 4 Cylinder DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i175kw / 350Nm7.3L475-1520 $94,700
Range Rover Evoque2.0L SI4 inline177kw / 340Nwm7.6L575-1445 $78,000
Volvo XC60 T5 AWD2.0L I4 Petrol Turbo174kw / 350Nm7.5L635-1432 $75,900
Cherokee Tailhawk v63.2L V6 VVT Pentastar®200kw / 316Nm10.0L591-1267 $69,990
Volkswagen Tiguan TSI R-Line 4Motion2.0 L TSI inline 4162kw / 350Nm7.8L615-1655 $66,990
Toyota Highlander AWD GX3.5 Litre Petrol, V6 VVTi218kw . 350Nm9.5L813-1872 $63,490
Hyundai Tucson 1.6 Turbo Elite Ltd DCT A71.6 litre 16 valve DOHC 4 cylinder (CVVT) Turbo130kw / 265Nm7.7L488-1478 $59,990

ProsCons
  • Great looks, very sporty and classy
  • Very spacious and roomy in all seats
  • Quality VW /Euro interior
  • Comfy to drive, long and short distances
  • Great boot space, with rear seats up or down.
  • Great value compared to other Euros for specs
  • Lots of kit, only 3 options available to add to the R-Line
  • As fun to drive as a Golf GTI
  • Oryx White Premium ($2000) is a bit steep considering what other brands are doing.
  • Digital Dash not as customisable as I would have liked, restricted to certain set options.

What do we think?

At first I thought this was an expensive vehicle, but once you compare what else you can get on the market it’s surprisingly good value. I didn’t want to give it a high rating, as similar sporty spec models across all brand are usually quite a bit more expensive than the normal models.

But this is an R-Line, not an R model, which makes a difference. This Tiguan, really is the complete package; great looks, everyday life practical, and fun to drive. Even my wife (who hates all SUV’s and daily drives a VW Golf R32), said she would happily have one to daily drive. And that to me said it all.

Top marks for this Volkswagen Tiguan TSI R-Line 4Motion.

Rating – Chevron rating 5 out of 5

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan TSI R-Line 4Motion

Vehicle TypeFront-wheel drive petrol mid size SUV
Starting Price$66,990
Tested Price$71,490
Engine2.0L TSI R-Line 4MOTION
Transmission7 speed DSG

 

Kerb Weight1,669 kg
Length x Width x Height4486 x 2099 x 1643 mm
Cargo Capacity615-1655 Litres
Fuel Tank 60 litres
Fuel Efficiency Advertised Spec – Combined – 7.8 L / 100km

Real World Test – Combined – 9.5 L / 100km

ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Star Ancap Rating

 

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