Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI R-Line with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
Volkswagen might have been late to the SUV party in Australia, but the German brand has set about making up for lost time with its all-new Tiguan range. Launched in September 2016, the Tiguan arrived with a fairly comprehensive four engine options and three different trim levels, and it made an immediate impact, with VW shifting almost 4,000 units before the end of the year.
But now it's added a fifth flagship engine variant to the line-up. And, if we're honest, this is the one we've been waiting for. While we liked the all-new Tiguan range when it launched, we said at the time we were looking forward to driving something with more punch in the engine.
This, then, is that something; the Tiguan 162TSI, powered by the self-same engine as the venerable Golf GTI. The Tiguan shares the same platform as VW’s hot hatch, too. And despite being about 300 kilograms heavier, VW claims an identical zero-100km/h sprint time of 6.5 seconds, thanks largely to its all-wheel-drive system and the extra step in its seven-speed automatic. And it does it while offering all the sensible practicality of a mid-size SUV. So is this the world's most practical hot hatch?
Price and features
The 162TSI ($48,490) arrives to add some performance to the Tiguan family in Australia, alongside the diesel-powered 140TDI and above the 132TSI and 110TDI/110TSI. Unlike the smaller capacity engines, the 162TSI is available only in the top-spec Highline trim, though VW tells us the majority of its customers will also be ticking the $4,000 R-Line pack that adds 20-inch alloys, a sportier interior and exterior and some crucial engineering changes like adaptive chassis control and predictive steering.
Skip the R-Line option box, though, and your 162TSI arrives with 4Motion all-wheel drive, LED headlights with dynamic cornering and LED rear lights,18-inch alloys, chrome window surrounds and roof rails, keyless entry and an electronic boot. Inside, you can expect Vienna leather trim, heated sports seats, three-zone climate control and an eight-inch, nav-equipped touchscreen that's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready.
Extra options are split into two packs. The Driver Assistance Pack ($2,000) adds adaptive cruise control, side assist with rear traffic alert and the very good Active Info Display (which replaces the dials in the driver’s binnacle with a customisable 12.3-inch digital display). Alternatively, the aforementioned and sporty-flavoured R-Line pack will set you back $4,000. Tick both (and VW tells us most people do) and you're staring down the barrel of a not-insignificant of $54,500, before on-road costs.
VW boldly declares its 162TSI Tiguan will “put the premium SUV makers on notice”, and this performance-focused variant looks every bit the luxe German offering, at least with the optional R-Line pack fitted. The slightly sportier exterior treatment combined with the arch-filling 20-inch alloys work a treat on an SUV this size, but it does have the unwanted side-effect of making the standard Highline version look a little underwhelming by comparison.
This new Tiguan feels light and spacious from the cabin, and cruises along at city and freeway speeds with quiet, comfortable ease.
Like the rest of the Tiguan range, the 162TSI looks significantly bigger than the outgoing model, but remains well proportioned, and the creased bonnet and sharp body line running front to back gives the shape some character. Both the front and rear lights deserve special mention, too, with the individual LEDs adding a noticeable sense of premium to the Tiguan's design.
Inside, this top-spec Tiguan is lined with soft touch materials and comfortable leather, and there's a sense of well-executed quality at every touchpoint. Like in the other models, that sense of premium doesn't quite extend to the back seat, where some cheaper materials start to pop up.
Engine and transmission
The Tiguan 162TSI borrows the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine from the Golf GTI, and produces an identical 162kW at 4,500rpm and 350Nm from a slightly lower 1,500rpm. That power is fed through a seven-speed DSG automatic and fed to all four wheels thanks to VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. It’s that system that helps the Tiguan knock off the zero-to-100km/h sprint in a GTI-equalling 6.5secs, despite its tare mass of 1637kg sitting about 300kg more than that of the Golf.
The Tiguan 162TSI will sip a claimed/combined 8.1 litres per hundred kilometres from its 60-litre tank, and will produce a claimed 186g/km of C02.
First up: it’s not a bigger GTI. The added weight and dimensions take their inevitable toll on dynamics, and the result is a car that’s not quite as sharp or composed through the bends as its smaller, more lithe rival. But… it’s almost a bigger GTI. And that’s not a bad compromise for a car that offers infinitely more space and practicality than your average hot hatch.
We spent our time in the R-Line-equipped version, which swaps the 18-inch alloys for a set of 20s, and adds adaptive chassis control and VW’s progressive steering system to the mix. And for us, it’s the option to go for, especially as the bigger boots don’t noticeably alter ride comfort when you engage the comfort suspension setting.
The steering, which can feel artificially light in normal mode, gets significantly meatier with Sport mode engaged, and being able to firm-up the suspension does inject confidence when tackling high speed corners. The Tiguan can shift its weight around if you tackle a bend too hot, and those extra 300kgs make their presence known when you stand on the brakes, but the way it delivers its power as you rocket out of a corner is hugely entertaining.
The DSG gearbox can occasionally feel a little jittery between first and second if you confuse it by suddenly changing what you've asked it to do, whether that’s going from braking to accelerating or the other way around, but it spends most of its time seamlessly flicking between gears as required, adding to the sense of quiet refinement on the road.
And like the lesser-engined models, this new Tiguan feels light and spacious from the cabin, and cruises along at city and freeway speeds with quiet, comfortable ease.
Like the rest of the new Tiguan range, the 162TSI’s wheelbase has grown by 76mm on the outgoing model, and the car is 30mm wider. That might not sound like a lot, but the result is a new-found airiness to the cabin, whether you’re riding in the front or in the back.
Storage space is still an impressive 615 litres (VDA) with the rear seats up, aided by the fact the second row sits on a sliding rail, so you can move it forward or backward depending on whether you want to prioritise room for the rear seat passengers or for baggage. Flatten the rear sears and storage grows to 1,655 litres.
There's more cupholders than seats, too, with the 162TSi Highline offering two in the front, two more in the pull-down divider separating the rear seat and another in the two tray tables attached to the back of the front seats. There’s two ISOFIX attachment points, one in each window seat in the back.
The standard safety list is impressive, and includes AEB, Lane Assist, VW's fatigue detection system and a reversing camera, along with seven airbags and a self-parking system. The Driver Assistance Pack ($2,000) adds adaptive cruise control and side assist with rear traffic alert to that list.
The Tiguan range was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The Tiguan 162TSI is covered by VW's three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, and requires servicing evert 15,00km or 12 months. It's included in Volkswagen's capped-price servicing program, with costs capped at a total $3,297 for the first five services.