Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld
2019 VW Tiguan R-line
This week we are reviewing the VW Tiguan in Highline trim with the additional R-Line package. Our vehicle was assembled in the VW Puebla plant in Mexico and has an MSRP of $43,580 CAD.
Fun Factor: 5
Can it Family: 7
Karaoke Friendly: 7
City Cruising: 4
The current generation of Tiguan left us a little perplexed, as the previous generation was aesthetically more refined and sportier, which you would expect VW to offer if they built an SUV that shared the same platform as the Passat which is based on the transverse engine layout. You couldn't mistake that the previous generation was based on a stretched version of the Mk5 Golf (fifth generation golf) platform while the new Tiguan is based on a newer platform called MQB which is shared with a multitude of VW products ranging from smaller cars to midsized SUV's. Giving VW an edge as they could shift production easily to a different vehicle in the same factory while also reducing production cost. Our first impression of the Tiguan was the underwhelming performance at low speeds and its unrefined engine note. The Tiguan can feel sluggish when accelerating at a stop. Once it gets going, the engine feels less strained. We suspect that the 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder has a lot to do with that, the engine is tuned to produce 184hp and 221 lb-ft of torque ranging 1600 rpm to 4300 rpm to all 4 wheels thanks to the 4Motion All-wheel-drive system. The Tiguan has an 8-speed automatic transmission that feels decent; nevertheless, it could sometimes seem hesitant when changing gears at slow speeds. We tested the Tiguan in the city, and its performance was proper; we think the 19-inch wheels didn't help the acceleration and also provided a firmer ride. We also felt the same when we drove it on the HWY; it just felt decent. After testing some more, we just could not find enjoyment with the Tiguan or had we missed something? That's when we decided to drive the Tiguan on a light trail and see how we like it. What we noticed right away is that while the engineers made the Tiguan handle as ordinary as possible on the road, the experience is totally different on dirt roads and uneven terrain. The Tiguan really felt enjoyable off-road, and the driving experience was entertaining and felt direct. In the urban jungle, we would like to see more power after trying the Atlas which we will review soon, the Tiguan would need the V6 found in the Atlas or a hybrid version would greatly help the engine at start and also lower the fuel consumption in the city. VW has already announced a plugin hybrid for 2022 we would expect this would make city driving more convenient and more enjoyable. As for a usual real-life test to 100km/h, we achieved this in 8.95 seconds. We were not able to find the official numbers from VW regarding the acceleration.
How's the Tiguan when it comes to hauling the family around? Our Tiguan was equipped with the optional rear seats giving it a total of 7 seats. The 5 seats in front of decent space, the rear seats are really in case of emergency and for children, our 9-year-old daughter had a hard time sitting in the 3rd row. On the other side if these seats are not used the size of your trunk becomes enormous and can fit an enormous quantity of items, in our test we were able to fit a large Jogging/Bike trailer without too much hassle. If you did need even more space, you can also fold the 2nd row and have enough space for your furniture shopping too. The front seats felt slightly firm; however, they were still comfortable for longer journeys. The steering wheel had a nice feel and the leather felt of good quality, the steering wheel itself felt a little small for the car size, a larger steering wheel would make the driving experience more enjoyable for larger drivers.
On the other hand, smaller size drivers will enjoy the easier handling due to its smaller size. The front seats are also heated, there is no option to have the rear seats heated as well. Now going to the 2nd row the outer 2 seats can easily accommodate 2 adults comfortably, the central place is more appropriate for children. The good thing about the layout is that the seats fold in a 40/20/40 way, which means that long and narrow items can be transported without sacrificing rear seating. Access to the 3rd can be done even if a child seat is attached. This is great as in other SUV's you would have to condemn one of the sides ones a child seat is installed.
The Tiguan fuel consumption observed in the city was 14.2L per 100km and 7.7L per 100km on the HWY our combined result consumption over 1000km in the 8 days that Volkswagen lend us the Tiguan we achieved 10.6L per 100km. The official numbers provided by VW are as follows 10.7L per 100km in the city and 8.0L per 100km. The HWY consumption announced was easily obtainable without any effort; however, the city consumption was not easily attainable, especially in stop/go traffic. We used 87 octane fuel as this is the minimum suggested by VW and will most likely be the fuel used by most Tiguan buyers, premium fuel is recommended. These results were observed with 19-inch tires from Continental ProContact 255/45R19.
The Tiguan offered a good, stable ride on the HWY, the suspension is slightly on the firmer side, giving you a secure feeling while driving, and the fuel consumption was also good. The cabin does let in some road noise at higher speeds without being an annoyance. Our Tiguan also came with Volkswagen digital cockpit, that offers a multitude of settings, our favourite is the GPS view that shows all the information directly on your cluster where you would see your speed and fuel gage. The vehicle was also equipped with the anonymous emergency braking; the system in the Tiguan did not overreact, hence didn't become a nuisance in heavier traffic. What we also enjoyed was that blind-spot monitoring that comes standard starting with the Comfortline trim, this corresponds to the middle trim that offers good value and has most of the features people are looking for when getting the Tiguan.
Where the Tiguan really impressed us was the sound system, especially after testing the Audi Q7 earlier this year we weren't expecting such a high-quality sound system from VW & Fender. The sound system was tuned for a rich acoustic sound; even live recording sounded crisp. We've rarely experienced this with an audio system installed in a car. If you enjoy live recordings or music that offers a richer acoustic experience, the Tiguan and the option Fender sound system is a must. The 8-inch touchscreen still comes with a CD player for those of us that are nostalgic and like to listen to our music on a CD. The touchscreen itself is quick enough for everyday use; it also has a decent response time. The system comes standard with Apple Car Play and Android. The fault we could find is that the screen's contour is gloss black and will love finger smears, get ready to clean it regularly.
Now how is the Tiguan for installation of car seats or for young children to enter the car? The opening of the rear door opens large enough to get any type of car seat in place. The second row has 2 seats with ISOFIX ports which are easy to access and don't need any juggling around to find them nor is it difficult to install a variety of car seats in the Tiguan. For younger kids to enter the car by themselves it is a little higher due to the height of the vehicle itself, you'll need to help them open the door and than the Tiguan offers a little step to get into the car. However, nothing helps a younger child to hold themselves to get onto the first step except if they hold themselves on the door, and that is less than ideal as the door can easily close on them. As for the height of the seats, they are low enough for children to sit themselves into their seat. The belt buckles can easily be attained by a child, and the belt buckle is easy to latch. The 3rd-row seats do not offer any ISOFIX ports and as mentioned above are only for children as space is limited.
How does the Tiguan handle in an urban area? The Tiguan on paper is a good idea; it offers a larger seat capacity in a compact format. However, the driving experience in the city with a loud and unrefined engine makes accelerating from a stop less pleasant. Once the car has attained a cruising speed, the refined gets a lot better. The fact that the Tiguan offers a pedestrian monitoring starting with the Comfort line is great and not being limited to the highest trim. The fact that the start/stop feature is standard on the Tiguan is also refreshing. Parking is simple thanks to the Park Distance Control; the only fault we could find is that rear camera could benefit from an improvement in quality.
Why would we buy the VW Tiguan and what we like: The Fender sound system, the good fuel economy on the HWY, easy of driving.
Why wouldn't we buy the VW Tiguan and what we didn't like: The engine choice & power of that engine at low speeds. No heated seats for 2nd row, low driving engagement.
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