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Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8

The all-new Volkswagen Tiguan SUV has grown in more ways than one.

The second generation is bigger in every dimension, giving it a roomier cabin and, finally, a decent sized cargo hold.

But when it arrives in showrooms in September, the new Tiguan will also come with a higher price.

The current model is already at the dearer end of the compact SUV class, but Volkswagen has hinted the price of the new edition is set to rise, with a vast model range likely to stretch from $30,000 to $50,000.

It’s part of Volkswagen’s plan to continue to build the brand as a bridge between mainstream and luxury.

“Without becoming out of reach, we want to position our vehicles as being premium but for the people,” said Volkswagen Australia head of product planning, Jeff Shafer.

To that end the German car maker has introduced a level of technology and safety equipment not seen before in the compact SUV segment in Australia, such as autonomous emergency braking (with pedestrian detection), a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians if all else fails, nine airbags, LED headlights, lane-keeping assistance, a heads-up display, and the same digital widescreen instrument display found on the $300,000-plus Audi R8 supercar.

Volkswagen Australia is yet to confirm which of these features will be standard across the range and which will be reserved for dearer variants.

There will be five engine options across four model grades.

Among the more basic mod-cons we hope to see as standard fare include Apple CarPlayrear view camera, electronic park brake, handy fold down tray tables on the back of the front seats, and air vents and power sources for the second row seats.

Regardless of what is standard and what is optional, it’s apparent Tiguan buyers may need to do more research than usual before fronting up to a dealership: there will be five engine options across four model grades.

The starter of the range is the 110TSI powered by a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG auto.

If history is a guide, the price leader will be the sole model that may sneak under the $30,000 plus-on roads price, but the automatic transmission that accounts for the overwhelming majority of sales will likely cost $2500 more.

From there, the Tiguan is available with a choice of two 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines (132kW/320Nm or 162kW/350Nm) and two 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines (110kW/340Nm or 140kW/400Nm).

All 2.0-litre petrol and diesel models come with seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.

Volkswagen expects there will be a fairly even mix of sales across all variants and does not foresee any backlash over the recent “dieselgate” scandal.

The early signs are good.

Although the new EA288 diesel engine in the new Tiguan is, according to Volkswagen “based on” the EA189, the same engine at the centre of the controversy, it has new technology, including “AdBlue”, which cleans its tailpipe emissions to the latest standards.

Significantly, all Tiguan models are due to arrive at the same time, rather than be metered out over several months as is often the case with new arrivals.

A sign of the insatiable appetite for SUVs globally, an even larger seven-seat version of the Tiguan is expected to follow about 12 months later, and the Volkswagen range will eventually be joined by two smaller SUVs to compete in the city-sized segment.

So the latest Tiguan is merely the start of a wave of new SUVs with a sharp new corporate look.

On the road

The international preview drive of the new Volkswagen Tiguan in Berlin was not extensive enough to provide definitive feedback, however the early signs are good.

The relatively short test routes took in mostly smooth roads and freeways; even the small amount of city and suburban driving seemed to be on perfect pavement.

The book ends of the new line-up -- the 110TSI and 162TSI petrol variants -- were not available at the media preview as production was still ramping up.

The test vehicles were loaded with almost every piece of available technology.

But the most powerful petrol version of the Tiguan promises new levels of performance for the compact SUV class, with the heart -- and the get up and go -- of a Golf GTI hot hatch.

We sampled the 110TDI diesel and the middle-of-the-range 132TSI petrol models.

It was difficult to gauge how the new model felt on bumps and bends, because the road conditions were impeccable.

But the quietness of the engines was apparent and the twin-clutch auto transmissions (known for their hesitation at times) were smoother operators than earlier iterations.

The test vehicles were loaded with almost every piece of available technology, to showcase what is available. So it was hard to establish what was standard and what will be optional.

But buyers of the luxury models can at least look forward to a full length “panorama” sunroof previously reserved for prestige cars.

Volkswagen says it plans to have a higher level of standard equipment in the new Tiguan which, along with the bigger body and new generation engines, will help justify the price hike.

Verdict

We’ll reserve final judgment until we test the new Tiguan more thoroughly on local roads.

But even with the limited exposure to the new model it’s safe to say it’s a significant step forward in every aspect -- size, safety, technology and fuel efficiency.

Click here to see more 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$29,990
Based on 159 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$15,990
Highest Price
$47,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
110 TDI COMFORTLINE 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $27,990 – 33,487 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 110 TDI COMFORTLINE Pricing and Specs
110 TSI COMFORTLINE 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $23,888 – 34,990 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 110 TSI COMFORTLINE Pricing and Specs
110 TSI TRENDLINE 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $23,598 – 27,990 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 110 TSI TRENDLINE Pricing and Specs
118 TSI (4x2) 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,990 – 20,990 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan 2016 118 TSI (4x2) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8