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New Volkswagen Tiguan 118TSI review

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    Volkswagen Tiguan has sporty SUV looks and is offered in two or four-wheel drive.

Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the VW Tiguan, with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

For the 2012 model season the Volkswagen Tiguan received a new frontal appearance to bring it into line with the latest Volkswagen horizontal theme. A theme that’s now used on VWs from the Polo through to the Amarok utility. Interestingly, though, the new VW up! hasn’t received this frontal style as Volkswagen is keen for its new baby car to establish its own individual identity.


The standard Volkswagen Tiguan 118TSI starts at $28,490 and provides a range of standard equipment such as cruise control, roof rails, rear fog lamps, alloy wheels (17-inch on the 155TSI, 16-inch on the other models with optional 18-inch), auxiliary and USB audio inputs, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming, media devise interface (MDI) and leather covered steering wheel and gear lever.

The flagship 155TSI will set you back $42,990 and adds chrome side mouldings, window trim and roof rails, front fog lamps, sports front seats with storage drawers, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, low tyre pressure indicator and driver fatigue detection system. 

For those are looking to take their VW Tiguan off-road the AWD models come with a useful approach angle of 28 degrees. In line with its more suburban role the front-wheel drive 118TSI is limited to just 18 degrees.


In 2011, the Tiguan range expanded its appeal by adding a two-wheel drive (2WD) alternative to the all-wheel drive (4WD) models. The entry level Tiguan 118TSI we reviewed combines a 1.4-litre Twincharger petrol engine with Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology to combine performance and fuel economy.

The Twincharger is a clever combination of supercharging and turbocharging. The supercharger provides a rapid increase in power when you step on the accelerator. The turbocharger then adds extra grunt as it comes into play at higher revs, the two blowers work in combination as the engine electronics calculate the driver’s needs from moment to moment.

We were able to drive both the Tiguan 118TSI and the 155TSI as part of our routine road test program. The 118TSI with a six-speed manual gearbox, the 155TSI with Volkswagen’s self-shifting-manual DSG transmission. While driving enthusiasts will clearly prefer the semi sporty performance from the 155TSI we feel that most buyers will be more than satisfied with the economy model.


As well as changes to the frontal appearance, the latest Tiguan has revised taillights, these also have a horizontal look and tie in neatly with the revised front end. Interiors feature new seat trim and a redesigned steering wheel. There’s plenty of leg and headroom in both front and rear seats, with space in the back for three adults without too much of a squeeze.

Rear storage space is a reasonable 395 litres, expanding to 1510 litres with the rear seatbacks folded. Both the rear and front passenger seats in the 155TSI fold flat and we were able to transport a couple of 2.4-metre posts without any problem. The front seatback can act as a table when folded.


Standard crash avoidance features in all Tiguan models include ABS brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, auto-hold parking brake, electronic stability and traction control. Six airbags will help minimise injuries should everything still go wrong.


Handling is surprisingly good for a tallish vehicle with good ground clearance and the Tiguan can be pushed through corners at reasonable speeds without too much body roll. Having said that, it’s no sportscar so shouldn't be rushed too hard at bends. Noise and vibration reduction is very good on smooth to moderate roads, although not so good on the typical Australian coarse-chip surfaces where there can be quite a racket at times. Try for yourself if trips to the country are in your sights.


Our tests of models at each end of the Volkswagen Tiguan range show the German maker has a range that will appeal to a variety of budgets and buyers.

Volkswagen Tiguan 118TSI

Price: from $28,490
Warranty: three years/100,000km
Safety: 5-star ANCAP (expected)
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder petrol, 118kW/240Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Body: 4427mm (L); 1809mm (w); 1686mm (h)
Weight: 1493kg
Thirst: 6.9L/100km 162g/km CO2


Kia Sportage
Price: from $26,990
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl petrol, 122kW/197Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD
Thirst: 8.7L/100km 208g/km CO2



Kia Sportage - see other Kia Sportage verdicts



Mazda CX-5
Price: from $27,880
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl petrol, 114kW/200Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Thirst: 6.4L/100km 149g/km CO2



Mazda CX-5 - see other Mazda CX-5 verdicts



Skoda Yeti
Price: from $26,290
Engine: 1.2-litre 4-cyl petrol, 77kW/175Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD
Thirst: 6.6L/100km 154g/km CO2



Skoda Yeti - see other Skoda Yeti verdicts



Comments on this story

Displaying 2 of 2 comments

  • Same with my Golf - bought in 2008 with Goodyears as std - changed to Michelins at 70,000 kms and road noise all but gone.

    Doug Parke of Melbourne Posted on 07 December 2013 12:03am
  • Thanks Ewan, for highlighting the high road noise issue when driving on some country/coarse-chip surfaces. This has been recently brought to my attention as I have purchase a new Skoda Octavia 90TSI. I love the car exept when driving on the above type of roads - excessive road noise at 90/100kmh. My car is fitted with Bridgestone 205/60/15 Turanza er300 touring tyres, and road noise was never a problem an my last car - 2007 Kia Magentis. I would like to see more of this road noise issue being mentioned when test driving cars, as we consumers only get to test drive cars from dealers around the local area. This is an important issue for me, as I regularly travel on these countru roads.

    Shane Chislett of Craigieburn Posted on 26 July 2013 6:07pm

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