Wednesday 26 October 2016

Cars: A question of price and value for Tiguan

Fine car but it isn't cheap

Published 28/08/2016 | 02:30

The new Volkswagen Tiguan
The new Volkswagen Tiguan

One of the dangers - and there are many - of people taking a car on Personal Contract Plans (PCPs) is that price becomes almost secondary. It can be more a matter of how much your new car costs every month and if you can afford the level of repayments. Beware.

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Of course the price has a big bearing on your repayments but there is a real danger you will fall into the psychological trap of saying to yourself: "What's another €30/€40 a month?" if you spec it up a bit. And more people are piling in the extras.

That's fine and dandy if the price is decent to start with - but how do you know? How do you know it is not set too high in the first place? So many factors play on the final monthly figure (your deposit, kilometre limits, agreed, APR etc) that you can lose sight of the fact the vehicle is too costly from the off.

Which brings me to this week's review car: the new Volkswagen Tiguan. Let me say, first off, that I liked this new crossover a lot. It is a substantial step up on the old one in virtually every respect. But I couldn't help feeling mine was too expensive for what you get, and for what it is.

Considering what is around for less premium money - and what is coming from the Volkswagen stable such as the Skoda Kodiaq (7-seater) and SEAT Ateca (less expensive) - I'm not so sure about the Tiguan. Volkswagen are adamant they are moving these motors upmarket and along with the premium level comes a corresponding price tag. I don't agree.

Yes, the cabin had a far better feel of quality to it and there was a high level of safety kit especially. But the truth is some rivals would claim they are in similar mode, though not as pricey.

I wouldn't buy the Tiguan for the sort of money they want for what I had on test - nearly €40,000. Yet I would seriously consider it if they knocked €3,000 to €4,000 off (all on the premise I won money somewhere of course).

The action for cars like this is around the €30,000 to €32,000 mark. I'm not haggling here. But I am saying that on occasion, and I believe this is one of them, carmakers get their pricing strategy out of kilter. In some cases, they get it madly wrong and I'll be reviewing a different marque next week to show how that happens. The Tiguan isn't madly out but it's enough to deter sufficient numbers of potential buyers who seem to be opting for crossovers such as the Hyundai Tucson (it isn't the country's bestselling car for nothing). I don't care what the backdrop to a car's prices are. I'm just concerned with what it costs me for what it offers. And that is before I talk PCP and monthly repayments.

Now you may look at the entry price of the Tiguan and ask what I'm complaining about. Let me be blunt here; entry-prices are usually not that relevant. They are there to get you looking and buy something further up the food chain.

It would be a shame if price alone kept people away because the Tiguan is a fine piece of work. It isn't a name that has resonated in the SUV/crossover world up to now; this was an opportunity to overcome that.

It's spacious inside for passengers both front and rear. A sliding rear bench also means you can balance leg room and boot space. There is a good size boot and plenty of places to stow stuff - these areas are important in cars like this.

While upper dash materials are nice and soft, I detected lower-quality plastic further down.

I liked the look of it; far more pleasant on the eye than the mundane, if perfectly functional, old one. It isn't all flares and frills - though my R-Line version made a bold attempt at proclaiming itself - it is nicely judged on appearance head-on and in profile.

The thing about it was that, as soon as I sat in, I knew instantly where everything was. It was default Volkswagen - and that's a compliment.

The 2-litre diesel had loads of poke and pull; and the car itself was decently agile; even over boggy roads it held well with minimum passenger discomfort.

There will be a lower-powered 2-litre (115bhp compared with 150bhp on the test car) in the not-too-distant future.

That looks to me like it could be a good opportunity to get the price really right.

The car, to be fair to it, deserves an even break in what is a truly cut-throat market and where the balance between value and price is absolutely essential. Without labouring the point, we, as buyers, should learn that too, and not let anything, including PCPs, blur our judgment.

Facts & figures

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 diesel (150bhp, 125g/km, €270 tax). From €29,765. Highline from €36,790 on-road. R-line (tested) €39,804.

Entry-level spec: sliding rear-seat, 5ins radio system (CD player/8 speakers), auto lights, air con, 17ins wheels, rear fogs, City Emergency Brake. Comfortline: 17ins alloys, front fogs, high beam assist, 6.5ins radio, ParkPilot, adaptive cruise control, 3-zone air con. Highline adds 18ins alloys, Park Assist. R-Line adds visuals, alloys, insets, etc.

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