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Volkswagen have now been in South Africa for 65 years and they are a well known, well-loved brand. Volkswagen have built up this brand image with marketing campaigns that capture hearts and minds by telling beautiful stories. Many will remember Volkswagen adverts, examples such as Lucky, Memories and the father and son Touareg journey immediately come to mind. They have then backed this up with great product.
One such example is the Tiguan, although often under rated, it has enjoyed reasonable success in the medium SUV market. The first Tiguan was launched in 2008 and received a facelift in 2011. The car is now 53 kilograms lighter, 6cm longer, 3cm wider and has a 7,7cm longer wheelbase.
The Tiguan is the first SUV to be based on Volkswagens MQB platform, which has set standards in design, comfort and convenience. This also means that it benefits from the latest available technology and shares underpinnings with successful models such as the Golf and Passat. The Golf is a great car and a leader in the hatch segment, using the same platform catapults the Tiguan from mommy mobile to an eye-catching desirable SUV, with all the necessary technology on board.
With the Tiguan, Volkswagen is introducing a completely new design character for its SUVs, which combines striking proportions with a clear commitment to sophistication and authority. The attitude is backed up by details such as the horizontally aligned unit formed by the radiator grille and headlights, and the higher waist line compared to the previous model. Prominent wheelarches add to the rugged looks, the muscular stance creating the illusion that the car is much wider than what it is.
A first for an SUV is the fitment of dual LED headlights. The LED basic headlights deliver 10 percent better lighting performance compared to halogen headlights and the light has a much whiter appearance than with the basic H7 headlights. On top of this, the all LED headlight with lens and reflector, adds another highlight, being more powerful than a bi-xenon headlight.
All models can be equipped with the R-line package, which gives the car a sportier look and great road presence thanks to sportier front and rear bumpers and alloy wheels. The R-line package will retail for R18 000.
The Tiguan remains capable off-road, with a rugged 4MOTION all-wheel drive system that includes premium class technology for use on and off road.
A spacious interior is complimented by new generation seats, improved interior and boot space, which now boasts 520 litres of space and can be expanded to 1655 litres when the seats fold down in a 40/20/40 fashion. The rear offers 29mm more knee room and the sliding rear bench can also move 180 mm, maximising either legroom or boot space, depending on the requirements.
Manual air-conditioning, electric front and rear windows, cruise control, front fog lights, leather multi-function steering wheel, connectivity package and roof rails are among the many standard-fit features on all models in the range.
Some of the technology features include Adaptive Cruise control with front assist, active information display, heads up display, 3-zone climatronic and an electric tailgate.
Safety features include multi collision brake, pre-crash, driver and front passenger airbags, an airbag curtain system, front seat side impact airbags, electronic stability control, XDS transverse differential lock, fatigue detection, and an active bonnet for increased pedestrian safety. The active bonnet reduces the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists. When contact is made with the bumper, a sensor strip triggers a pyrotechnic actuator that lifts the rear edge of the bonnet by around 50mm within 22 milliseconds. This increases the distance between the hard engine components and the relatively flexible bonnet.
The active info display works in combination with the display of the radio or navigation system to create a virtual, flexible human-machine interface whose displays compliment one another. Six different views are available for the optional 12.3 inch Active Info Display. Also interesting is an off-road display profile with steering angle indicator and compass that was specifically designed for the car. When navigation is activated the large central display can be selected, as in the Passat. 3D navigation is shown directly in the Active Info Display, in addition to the infotainment screen.
Navigation is also supported by the optional retractable heads-up display that is integrated into the Tiguan’s dashboard and boasts laser-etched texturing. Information such as driving speed, speed limit, direction arrows for navigation and indicators for driver assistance systems are projected into the driver’s line of sight.
The Tiguan is equipped with the latest generation of infotainment systems. There is a choice of three different radios, and they are now Apple Car play functional and Android Auto ready.
At launch, the new Tiguan will be offered with two 1.4 TSI engines boasting 92kW and 110kW. The 2.0 TDI engines with 81kW, 105kW and 130kW as well as the range topping 2.0TSI with 162kW will be introduced in the last quarter of 2016. The high powered engines will be offered with 4MOTION as standard, while there will be the choice of Trendline, Comfortline and Highline equipment levels.
The 1.4-litre TSI with 92kW has up to 200Nm of torque while the 110 kW delivers up to 250Nm of torque. The latter variant has cylinder deactivation technology which is available for the first time on a Volkswagen in South Africa. This technology temporarily shuts off the second and third cylinder, which in turn reduces the fuel consumption.
The 92kW version will be available with a six-speed manual transmission while buyers of the 110kW will have a choice between the manual and a six-speed DSG transmission.
Both engines feature BlueMotion technology, including Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems to enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions.
With vast improvements in the styling and technology departments, it is interesting to note that the pricing of the Tiguan has not increased substantially. The entry level 1.4 TSI Trendline Manual retails for R378 000, making the Tiguan a great value for money offering in a market that sees new competitors launched almost on a monthly basis.