volkswagen tiguan 1 4 tsi review the golf that grew up and had a family
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Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI review: The Golf that grew up and had a family

Can that tiny engine deliver enough power now that the Tiguan is a much larger SUV than before?

Christopher Ng Photo

Christopher Ng

14 Sep 2018


Usually, with every new generation of cars that come along to replace the old, manufacturers will add a few millimetres here and there, and then take a bit off the top. Mission complete, good job team, let’s go get a drink. Not for the team at Wolfsburg though, they’ve made the new Volkswagen Tiguan significantly larger than the previous generation.

The evidence is crystal clear. Stand the new Volkswagen Tiguan beside the previous generation and you’ll see the difference. The second generation Tiguan is 60mm longer, 30mm wider and 33mm shorter, with a wheelbase increment of a whopping 77mm. The outcome of the upsizing lets the Tiguan have a wider, more powerful looking stance.


There’s no shortage of confidence in the Tiguan, the bold grille that seemingly extends to the headlamps plays up the effect. The lines on the body – from the front to the rear – appear as sharp and crisp as a properly pressed suit. It is a rather simple design but one that’s attractive enough to draw attention.

The Tiguan present today wears the Highline Package, proof of it is in the chrome roof rails, 18-inch ‘Kingston’ alloy wheels and LED headlamps with LED DRLs. The Highline Package also extends inside. The seats are wrapped in Vienna combination leather with the ‘Dark Grid’ trim adding highlights to a very familiar, black-dominated interior.

Step into any new Golf and you’ll see why – the similarities between this Tiguan and the Volkswagen Golf R I tested a few months back are striking but not entirely surprising. And it’s not a bad thing, too, since the dashboard is fitted to the same precision as the imported Golf R. By the way, this Tiguan is assembled in Malaysia.


Both vehicles ride on the same malleable MQB platform so the sharing of components are expected. Depending on the application, the MQB platform can be lengthened, which is what you get with the Tiguan. Interior space is, of course, more voluminous than the Golf, which opens more legroom. In spite of the shorter roof, the headroom inside is superb. 

Seats in the Tiguan are set high enough that you’ll be sitting tall. The seating position takes advantage of the large glasshouse, which affords you clear vantage points all around the Tiguan, making you forgive that this SUV does not come with any form of blind spot monitoring. 


And let’s not forget that the meter cluster, when you opt for the Highline Package, swaps the analogue meters for a digital monitor that displays the essentials and then some. Although this screen comes to the freedom to choose what you want to view at any given time, we’d gamble that you’ll have the navigation on at all times. 

Sheer engineering marvel has made the Tiguan 50kg lighter than the previous generation, despite the upsizing and the added tech. This, perhaps, helps to lessen the burden the tiny engine in front has to shoulder.

Pop the hood and you’ll find the familiar 1.4-litre TSI engine. Although small in size, this turbocharged four-cylinder delivers 148hp and 250Nm of torque. It does not make the Tiguan a hard and fast SUV if we're being honest, even when that accelerator is stepped on with full force. 

What keeps drivers satisfied is the torque’s early entry of 1,500 till 3,500rpm. It’s a torque band that’s large enough to quickly poke out of corners and give you a quick burst of speed should the need to overtake slower vehicles arises. Without a doubt, the torque range covers the nearly all of the 'everyday situations' that you’ll no doubt encounter. 


Completing the drivetrain is a wet-clutch six-speed DSG that shift as fast as it is smooth. If you’ve experienced the awkward shifting of the initial gears of past dual-clutch transmission units, you’d be assured to know that this new one does not display any of that nonsense. And it is a good thing considering most of the time you’d be stuck in the typical city traffic.

Get up to speed on a clear patch of road, you’ll uncover a ride that’s comfortably gentle. Spring and dampers flatten large undulations, and only the more jarring ones escape into the cabin.


On winding roads, the Tiguan displays appreciable body control that gently rights itself after every corner. With a quick steering in your hands, the Tiguan can display bits and pieces of fun through the B-roads. But carry too much speed and the SUV begins to progressively understeer, giving you a chance to make appropriate adjustments. Failing that, the ESC kicks in to return the SUV to a more controllable state. 

While it may not be too crazy on the power, this Volkswagen does deliver a comfortable and quiet drive that’s better than most. And on that note, the Volkswagen checks all the right boxes that a typical family would want in their everyday vehicle.

Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Highline

Engine

1,395cc

4-cyl., direct injection, turbocharged

Transmission

6-speed DSG

Wet-clutch, front-wheel drive

Power

148hp

@ 5,000 - 6,000rpm

Torque

250Nm

@ 1,500 - 3,500rpm

Performance

9.2s 0-100kph

6.7l/100km, 148 g/km CO2

Price

RM166,560

On-the-road, without insurance, with SST

Overall Rating

8 Rating

8/10



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