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Volkswagen Tiguan 2018 review: 132TSI Adventure

EXPERT RATING
8.5
The Volkswagen Tiguan 2018 model range has seen the inclusion of a couple of new models, including the version you see here - the new Tiguan Adventure.

The Volkswagen Tiguan 2018 model range has seen the inclusion of a couple of new models, including the version you see here - the new Tiguan Adventure.

Claimed by Volkswagen Australia to be "off-road ready", the Adventure model rocks different body styling and includes additional specific equipment over the Comfortline models upon which it is based.

The promise is clear - the new Adventure model should make you want to get out there and experience the outdoors, so this test will cover both on-road testing and some mild off-roading, too.

More: Read our 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan range review here

Let's find out how it fared.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2018: 132 TSI ADVENTURE (SPECIAL ED)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$33,330

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The Tiguan Adventure model tested here looks a little different to the regular, run-of-the-mill Tiguan Comfortline on which it's based because it has a range of exterior tweaks that apparently allow it more credibility away from the tarmac.

The changes include a revised front bumper which sits up higher, allowing the Tiguan Adventure an approach angle of 24 degrees - which is better than the standard car by six degrees. The departure angle remains at 24 degrees.

Under that there is some underbody protection added, which is all well and good, but the ground clearance for this 4Motion model remains at 201mm, which is fine, but not really that off-road-able. The front-drive models sit lower and have worse approach and departure angles.

  • The 18-inch wheels are clad in 235/55 Continental ContiSportContact tyres. The 18-inch wheels are clad in 235/55 Continental ContiSportContact tyres.
  • While the tyres are developed specifically for SUVs, they aren't even close to being a serious off-road tyre. While the tyres are developed specifically for SUVs, they aren't even close to being a serious off-road tyre.
  • If you take the premise of off-road-ability seriously, you'll be shocked there is a space-saver spare under the boot floor rather than a full-size wheel and tyre. If you take the premise of off-road-ability seriously, you'll be shocked there is a space-saver spare under the boot floor rather than a full-size wheel and tyre.

The 18-inch wheels are clad in 235/55 Continental ContiSportContact tyres which, while they're developed specifically for SUVs, aren't even close to being a serious off-road tyre. And if you take the premise of off-road-ability seriously, you'll be shocked there is a space-saver spare under the boot floor rather than a full-size wheel and tyre.

When you open the front doors you'll notice 'offroad' sill protectors, which are equal parts handy and naff, but thankfully there's no try-hard embossing on the seats. Speaking of the seats, they are a model-specific trim called 'Art Velours' microfleece, which is really pleasant.

Apart from that, though, you'd hardly know this wasn't just a regular Tiguan Comfortline from the inside, or the outside... which is no bad thing, because it is a handsome vehicle in this spec (the LED headlights and daytime running lights help out a lot in that regard - the halogens on the Trendline and Comfortline models are really quite ugly).

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

We've asserted before that the Tiguan is hard to beat for practicality in the mid-sized SUV segment, and that remains a solid truth, even as the segment evolves.

Up front there's a brilliantly simple centre stack with a 8.0-inch touchscreen media system, and while there is only one USB port (a bit out of date, by class standards), it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, auxiliary input, built-in sat nav, and eight speakers.

The driver can double up on screens, with a 12.3-inch digital display screen with an array of configurable elements, including different displays of off-road driving, economy, navigation and media, and the regular dials for the tachometer and speedo. Plus, of course, a digital speed readout, which is such an important factor for so many buyers that happen to find themselves in a hurry more often than not.

  • There are the cool little aeroplane-style trays on the backs of the front seats. There are the cool little aeroplane-style trays on the backs of the front seats.
  • The Tiguan has a fold-down armrest with cupholders, bottle holders in all four doors. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The Tiguan has a fold-down armrest with cupholders, bottle holders in all four doors. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

The cabin is smart - not just to look at, but because of some of the excellent inclusions like sliding 60/40 rear seats, a front passenger seat that can be folded down forwards, allowing a flat surface if you're transporting longer items.

Then there are the cool little aeroplane-style trays on the backs of the front seats, the rear climate controls for adjusting the temperature setting of the rear vents, and of course the Tiguan has a fold-down armrest with cupholders, bottle holders in all four doors, and a pair of adjustable cupholders between the front seats.

Plus there are other storage brilliances, like the twin cubbies in the headlining, and the storage drawer under the passenger seat.

  • The boot is the best you can get in this segment in terms of space, with up to 610 litres (VDA) when you slide the rear seats all the way forward. (image credit: Matt Campbell) The boot is the best you can get in this segment in terms of space, with up to 610 litres (VDA) when you slide the rear seats all the way forward. (image credit: Matt Campbell)
  • With the seats folded down, the volume is a huge 1655L. (image credit: Matt Campbell) With the seats folded down, the volume is a huge 1655L. (image credit: Matt Campbell)

And the boot is the best you can get in this segment in terms of space, with up to 610 litres (VDA) when you slide the rear seats all the way forward, and while it decreases a bit when they're slid back, it's still a mammoth hold. With the seats folded down, the volume is a huge 1655L.

How many seats does the Tiguan have? Five, for now... There's a seven-seat version called the Tiguan Allspace coming later in 2018.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

The Tiguan Adventure is available in two different levels - the 132TSI petrol version, which is priced at $43,990 plus on-road costs, and the 110TDI diesel model, which has a list price of $45,490.

It's the former model we're testing, but both are equipped identically - and that is to say, they're fairly well loaded with standard gear.

As well as the model-specific exterior styling and interior trim finishes, the Adventure version of the Tiguan adds a few extras over the Comfortline models (which are $2500 less, respectively).

The cabin is smart - not just to look at, but because of some of the excellent inclusions. The cabin is smart - not just to look at, but because of some of the excellent inclusions.

The equipment advantages include the 'ErgoActive' 14-way adjustable driver's seat with electric lumbar and massage function, heated front seats, and those striking LED headlights. It rides on bigger 18-inch alloys (the Comfortline has 17s), plus it gains an electric tailgate with hands-free opening and closing, power folding side mirrors with puddle lamps, and keyless access.

And, living up to the Adventure ideal, there are standard Volkswagen 'Genuine Accessory' roof bars fitted, plus there's a range of different packages that buyers can choose to include if they want, and all of them include a boot liner with a load-lip protector.

They are: the 'Tow Package', which has a genuine towbar setup ($1780); the 'Water Sports Package', which has a surfboard carrier ($560); the 'Winter Sports Package' swaps the surfboard carrier for a ski/snowboard carrier ($580); the 'Cycling Package' puts a bicycle carrier on top of the rails ($635); and, finally, the 'Transport Package' includes a 340-litre roof box ($1102). If you prefer to simply see out of the roof, you can option a panoramic opening sunroof for $2000.

Up front there's a brilliantly simple centre stack with a 8.0-inch touchscreen media system. Up front there's a brilliantly simple centre stack with a 8.0-inch touchscreen media system.

If the towing set-up is of interest, the capacity offered on all-wheel drive Tiguan models is 2500kg (braked) and 750kg (un-braked). But the towball down-weight is just 100kg.

There are five colour choices available for Adventure models, with metallic and pearl paints attracting a $700 premium. The colour you see here is the model-specific 'Atlantic Blue Metallic', while you can also choose 'Pure White', 'Tungsten Silver Metallic', 'Indium Grey Metallic' and 'Deep Black Pearl Effect'. Sadly the eye-catching 'Habanero Orange' metallic isn't available.

The safety kit list is solid, too - check out the safety section below for more info.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

The Tiguan Adventure is available with the choice of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

The petrol version is good for 132kW of power and 320Nm of torque, with Volkswagen claiming a pretty warm 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.7 seconds.

The diesel model has less power at 110kW, but more torque, with 340Nm. Still, the heavier diesel engine and a focus on economy rather than performance means a slower sprint time from 0-100km/h, at 9.3sec.

The Tiguan Adventure is available with the choice of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel. The Tiguan Adventure is available with the choice of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

Both are fitted exclusively with seven-speed dual-clutch 'DSG' automatic transmissions, and both have standard-fit '4Motion' all-wheel drive.

Does the Tiguan have a timing chain or belt? Depends which model you're buying - the diesel has a belt, but the petrol has a chain.

How much fuel does it consume?   9/10

The claimed fuel consumption of the petrol model we drove is 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres, and we saw an excellent 8.2L/100km on the dashboard after a range of driving that included highway, some stop-start adaptive-cruise-controlled urban motoring, and light-duty off-roading.

If you're into long-distance driving you should consider the diesel model, which has better consumption of 5.9L/100km, and will therefore achieve better mileage from the 60-litre fuel tank that is fitted to all Tiguan models.

Fuel-saving measures such as stop-start are included in both models. The petrol model requires 95RON premium unleaded fuel, and for those of you out there concerned about emissions, the diesel includes a particular filter.

What's it like to drive?   9/10

The Tiguan Adventure was simply asking for it.

I mean, if the media release says things like "rough and ready", and that the car is for someone who "prefers the road less travelled", then of course I was going to see if it could drive up something steep and slippery, and descend something equally steep and slippery.

And it did. Not without a few little qualms, but the Tiguan with the company's 4Motion smart all-wheel drive system - which can distribute torque where it needs it, when it needs it - mostly worked well. More focused tyres would make a difference, and there were some ruts I didn't dare drive through for fear of scrubbing the underbody, but I was genuinely impressed with the tractability of the drivetrain, the traction on offer, and the technology available.

The drive mode selector was set to Off-road mode, but there's a further Off-road mode that allows the driver to specify how they want the steering, engine, hill descent and other controls to behave. There's Snow mode, too, and On-road mode as well.

This Tiguan has a revised front bumper which sits up higher, allowing the Tiguan Adventure an approach angle of 24 degrees. This Tiguan has a revised front bumper which sits up higher, allowing the Tiguan Adventure an approach angle of 24 degrees.

Leaving the car to its own devices in the regular Off-road mode, I thought I would need to hit another button to activate the hill descent system, but that wasn't the case: I simply approached the hill slowly, and the system used the ABS brakes to slowly progress down the hill. I tried another hill, with the transmission in first (M1 indicated on the dash) and it seemed to offer better control and speed retention as a result.

Over pockmarked gravel tracks the suspension coped well, and the steering offered good confidence in all situations when the surface wasn't sealed.

Now, for the real-world stuff.

In a mix of different driving situations I was impressed by the Tiguan's prowess and control.

Of course, the 4Motion system works a treat in the wet, and there's heaps of traction readily available in corners, too. The steering is nicely weighted and precise enough to judge your lines - be it through the bendy bits or a roundabout - and the suspension does a pretty good job of isolating those in the cabin from cruddy or sharp road surfaces underneath. That said, the larger 18-inch wheels (and therefore slightly lower-profile tyres) mean things like road joins on the freeway can be felt.

The engine is no fire-cracker, but it is certainly a great fit for this type of car. Without a load of kids or luggage on board, my drive was limited to solo motoring, and it felt better than good in most situations.

Over pockmarked gravel tracks the suspension coped well, and the steering offered good confidence in all situations when the surface wasn't sealed. Over pockmarked gravel tracks the suspension coped well, and the steering offered good confidence in all situations when the surface wasn't sealed.

My main gripe with the Tiguan is its transmission, which at low speeds still has some of those typical dual-clutch hesitation moments when its in the regular drive mode. Put the car in Sport mode (the rotary dial has to be positioned at the On-road setting), or even just the transmission, and it will get away with more vigour. I found myself almost sub-consciously tipping the shifter back to get 'S1' showing up on the display when stopped at traffic lights.

The engine start-stop system has a part to play in that sluggish start stuff, too, but it can be turned off.

Another thing, which isn't so much a problem as an observation, is that the adaptive cruise control could be a little heavy-footed when applying the brakes in stop-start traffic.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

All Tiguan models have a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and seven airbags including dual front, front side, driver's knee and full-length curtain coverage.

Beyond that, the Tiguan comes pretty stacked (pardon the pun) with safety equipment, including auto emergency braking (AEB), manoeuvre braking (where the car can brake if the rear sensors detect an obstacle), semi-automated parking (parallel and perpendicular bay parking), driver fatigue detection, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance (the car will steer you into your lane if it needs to), and multi-collision brake (a system that applies the brakes if you have an accident, lessening the chance of further damage).

Buyers who wish to add even more kit can option the 'Driver Assistance' pack for $2000, which includes adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, lane-changing assistant, a system called 'Emergency Assist' that can stop the car if the driver is unresponsive, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Tiguan was crash tested by ANCAP in September 2016, where it achieved the maximum five-star score. That score remains intact for this model year version, too.

Where is the Tiguan built? Germany, as you might expect of a Volkswagen (even though a bunch of the company's offerings are made in other countries).

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Volkswagen's aren't renowned for affordable ownership - that's just a fact of life in the highly competitive Australian new car market - but the company offers a five-year/75,000km capped-price service plan that should put most buyers' minds at ease.

The cost of the services for the 132TSI petrol auto model tested here are as follows: $426 for the first visit; $622 for the second; $664 for the third; $1040 for the fourth; and $426 for the fifth. Ouchie...

The warranty offered by Volkswagen Australia remains at three years/unlimited kilometres, but there's an additional two-year warranty available for those who wish to add that. VW backs owners with included roadside assist while the car is under warranty.

Verdict

We already rated the Volkswagen Tiguan as one of the best - if not the best - mid-size SUV on sale in Australia, and models like the Adventure only broaden its appeal.

Admittedly, it isn't an off-road superhero, but the styling and inclusions could be enough to sway more than a few buyers into the Adventure model - and they could certainly do a lot worse.

Would you choose the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Adventure model? Let us know in the comments section below.

Pricing Guides

$46,990
Based on 751 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$27,999
Highest Price
$67,053

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
110 TDI ADVENTURE (SPECIAL ED) 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $34,980 – 41,580 2018 VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN 2018 110 TDI ADVENTURE (SPECIAL ED) Pricing and Specs
110 TDI COMFORTLINE 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $37,990 – 44,990 2018 VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN 2018 110 TDI COMFORTLINE Pricing and Specs
110 TSI COMFORTLINE 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $33,999 – 46,459 2018 VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN 2018 110 TSI COMFORTLINE Pricing and Specs
110 TSI TRENDLINE 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $28,990 – 31,990 2018 VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN 2018 110 TSI TRENDLINE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8.5
Design8
Practicality9
Price and features9
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption9
Driving9
Safety9
Ownership7
Matt Campbell
Senior Editor

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