Thursday, 8 September 2011 1:11 PM
Since it first went on sale in February 2008, the VW Tiguan has sold over half a million cars worldwide, taking the forth best VW seller spot after the top-boy Golf, then Polo and Passat. And now, for 2012, the compact SUV gets a mild styling makeover, a lower CO2 two-wheel drive model and a wide choice of six engines. We’ve had a first drive of three diesel models including the new front-driver and the predicted best-selling 2-litre TDI 140 PS. The new Tiguan is in VW dealers now.
What better place to start our first look at three new Tiguan models than with the entry-level Tiguan S BlueMotion Technology 2-litre TDI 110 PS, seen here in Titanium Beige metallic with Titan Black “Pakata” cloth upholstery. This is the lowest emitting Tiguan thanks to its BlueMotion tech – including Stop/Start and battery regeneration – and front-wheel drive only transmission. Priced at £21,730, but with optional extras here including touchscreen sat-nav and multimedia (£795), bigger, 17-inch wheels (£495) and metallic paint (£495).
From an exterior point of view, this first range-refresh for the Tiguan is most noticeable at the more pronounced front-end; two pairs of thick chrome horizontal lines now dominate the front grille, with the headlights black-backed. It’s a sharper, tougher new look. And, at the rear, the taillights too have been modernised. You’ll be familiar with Tiguan’s usual tall, chiselled and chunky bodywork.
The new Tiguan range starts at £21,085 in this “S” trim level so, discounting the optional extras on this test car, we’re in at the economy-focused end of the range. The rest of the new trim line-up follows S with SE, the Sport and the range-topping Escape. But, regardless of dress-up, all Tiguans feature a solid and rugged look perfectly suiting what many customers look for in an SUV. Even with “just” front-wheel drive, this Tiguan’s taller suspension and chunky tyres look like they should handle rougher terrain with considerably more ease than a road-biased road car.
After sampling the all-new, 2012 Golf Cabriolet moments before our Tiguan drives, the lower-slung Golf serves as a striking emphasis to one of Tiguan’s strongest selling points; that raised driving position.
Climbing up and into the sturdy SUV and the view of the world ahead is clearly more commanding than a standard passenger car, and with its higher roofline and wide windscreen, we’ve got a spacious and airy cabin to play with. Another positive point for all those Tiguan buyers.
The Titan Black “Pakata” cloth seats offer useful up-adjustment for an even better view, and while they’re rather unadventurous from a styling point of view, the quiet back and base pattern is much less likely to annoy over time than something more striking. Comfort levels are good, although a little firmer support from the side bolsters would’ve suited this tester.
We’ve got a 5-speed manual gearbox hooked up to the 4-cylinder, 2-litre turbo-diesel engine here, and with nearly 110bhp (110PS), a decent dollop of torque, light steering and an easy and progressive clutch, it’s a torquey piece of cake to get the handsome Tiguan rolling around town.
Suspension is on the firmer side – to keep that taller body in check from a body-roll point of view – and the Tiguan takes its bends with a reassuringly flat attitude. SUVs that wallow and tilt through the corners feel uncontrolled next to this VW.
SUVs used to be thirsty, but not anymore, and especially not this BlueMotion Tiguan, with its 139g/km of CO2 emissions attracting a first year road tax bill of £115; down to £105 every year after that. The combined economy figure of 53.3mpg is distinctly pocket-friendly.
It’s immediately obvious that the Tiguan TDI 110 PS is a synch to drive and enjoy with a great view of the road ahead and an easy-going, cruise-able nature, and for quite a big car, and thanks to the latest eco-tech, it shouldn’t be overly painful to run over the long-term. And that long-term feels like it could be a very long-term with this new VW's strong sense of build-quality, both inside and out.
First drive: New, 2012 VW Tiguan S 2-litre TDI 4Motion 140 PS here
By Daniel Anslow
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