Sunday 25 February 2018

How VW want to make Tiguan 'the Golf of compact SUVs'

First Drive in Berlin: Volkswagen Tiguan

VW Tuigan
VW Tuigan
VW Tiguan
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Already the talk is of 162; the new reg-plate from July 1.

Isn't it extraordinary the way we have absorbed the change and now plan our purchases around two distinct periods?

The talk around the new Volkswagen Tiguan, unveiled last week, was very much of 162-reg. That's because the new Crossover doesn't get here until May so people can order for July.

It goes without saying that demand for compact Crossovers is off the radar so it is a positive market for Volkswagen's new offering to be coming into.

There are, I'm told, plenty of people waiting to buy one. I'm sure other marques can echo that claim.

So what will they get with this new Tiguan? For a start a better looking motor. No surprise or quantum leap there because the old one is quite dull.

It is their first Crossover on the famous MQB platform so there is more vibrancy too in the way it handles and responds though that is of secondary concern to most families who will travel in it.

Much more important is that it is longer and wider, and consequently there is a lot more cabin room for front and rear passengers. I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was - the high ceiling helped create the sense of space too.

With a sliding rear-seat bench as standard you can also work out your seating and luggage demands as they arise.

The Tiguan, or any crossover in this category, is all about putting together a package: a decent, roomy cabin, plenty of boot space, a good spread of equipment, some practical touches, ease of driving/access/exit and low road tax and VRT.

It manages all those fairly easily. It's not rocket science and others have shown how it's done. I'm glad to say it is also a quieter and more pleasant drive now too. That means such a lot when driving either around town or on the motorway.

Volkswagen haven't exactly trumpeted the old one's virtues but I got the distinct impression from talking to executives at this First Drive that they have big plans for the new one.

Indeed they are convinced they can make this their 'Golf of compact SUVs' which would mean a serious rise in sales. The conditions for such a lift have hardly been better; we'll wait and see.

Prices will start at €29,765 with higher specced Comfortline versions from €33,765 and top Highline trim from €36,015. PCPs will start from €359 a month. Expect Comfortline/diesel to be the big-selling combination. Standard trim is notably higher by the way. More of that anon.

There is a 1.4-litre petrol but of course it's all about diesel and the 2-litre 148bhp is the one you'll get for this year. This was above average on my drives.

I particularly liked and noted its quietness. It refused to growl back at me even when I shoved it to 4,000rpm. There is a noticeable step-up on refinement in the cabin; they have certainly improved not just layout but materials and seats though some of the lower-down plastic looked a bit cheap.

By the way I think it looked great in the orange colour that predominated (visually anyway) our test-car selection. Didn't like it in grey at all.

For 171 (!!) there will be another 2-litre diesel which will be less powerful at 115bhp. Should be interesting. And you can expect to hear a lot about several other powerplants and variants. Among them is a plug-in hybrid (GTE) and a 7-seater version.

I had a 7spd DSG dual-clutch automatic on test but there is of course a 6spd manual; permanent 4Motion all-wheel drive is an option.

Tiguan isn't an instant response when talking of 'compact Crossovers'. You are far more likely to hear Nissan Qashqai or Ford Kuga or Hyundai Tucson and so on.

But as is often the case, cars like this are bought by people from Volkswagen dealers whom they have dealt with for years. This has done creditably well as a result.

However, I get the feeling there is a much bigger 'push' on this time. A big factor will be the PCPs and the way they have them set up - from €359 - tells me the are deadly serious when they say they expect this new version to become "the Golf of compact SUVs".

Nissan, Hyundai and many others will have something to say about that but one thing is for sure: customers are spoilt for choice.

Isn't that's the way it should be?

Indo Motoring

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