Why Tiguan is like a good keeper: a safe pair of hands on Crossovers
New motor a big improvement as VW edge upmarket
That headline says it all really.
The new Volkswagen Tiguan comes across as a particularly well-thought out machine without needing to do anything revolutionary. It has progressed significantly on the old one; it's much roomier (longer, lower and wider), the cabin fabrics, plastics etc are better quality. And, being built on the famous MQB platform, it has a good deal more 'drive' in it than before.
It keeps the frills to a minimum in a smart enough cabin that I could nearly negotiate with my eyes closed (while safely parked of course) such is the familiarity of the Volkswagen blueprint of where things are.
There is a simple, straight-line logic to it all. You get in and drive (6spd manual, 7spd DSG). You could be ultra critical and say you'd love something truly different just to set it apart but you also know it's clean-cut, long-lasting and easy-to-manage so if it isn't broken why fix it?
Like a good goalkeeper, it's a safe pair of hands all round for what Volkswagen consider a modern Crossover should look, feel and drive like.
They expect to 700 people to buy one from July 1 and possibly as many as 2,000 next year. The big seller in the sector is the Hyundai Tucson, with 5,069 registered in the first five months. The Tiguan is more expensive, Volkswagen admit, but in justification say they are nudging the 'premium' end of the market.
There are two engines. The 1.4-litre TSI petrol starts from €29,720 (125bhp). But the key price is the diesel and that's €33,765 for the 2-litre 150bhp TDI (from €270 road tax). It's the sole keeper of the diesel team for now but the ranks will expand for the 171-reg with a 115bhp version - should be interesting - and a GTE plug-in hybrid.
And there will be a seven-seater. I think there is a fair bit of demand for an 'occasional' extra row.
The 150bhp will, in the main, power 2WD models, though there will be some people who opt for the 4Motion All-Wheel Drive.
Also coming are 190bhp and 240bhp variants of that 2-litre. The 240bhp version should be something because, as I said, the underpinnings are there to take it.
I took the 150bhp Highline spec for a good runout across a misty, wet but beautiful Wicklow.
The engine took a minute or two to clear its throat before settling into a quiet and smooth drive - to Carnew and back. The car showed a nice turn of foot but, more impressively from an occupant's point of view, there was balance and decent poise. It was sure-footed and direct and I was quite relaxed about my drive.
So few people buy entry-level now but, even so, that trim is still well kitted out. There are 17ins Montana alloys, air con, Bluetooth connectivity, USB interface and ISOFIX points for two child seats.
Comfortline adds adaptive cruise control, 3-zone climate control, 17ins Tulsa alloys, multifunction leather steering wheel, silver roof rails, cornering lights, 6.5ins Composition Media radio system with CD player and eight speakers, premium multifunction display, ParkPilot.
And range-topping Highline has 18ins alloys, park assist including rear view camera, LED headlights, ArtVelours seat upholstery, active info display, electric folding/heated/adjustable wing mirrors, hill descent control, headlight range adjustment.