In an intense segment, the all-new Volkswagen Tiguan is set to challenge its rivals in a very tough crossover battle, but we’re confident that this time it will fare well. Keegan Dorai takes it for a quick spin up to Ipoh and back to see what’s in store.



Folkswagen, as pronounced by Mr. Wolfsburg himself, or simply spoken out as Volkswagen with a strong ‘V’ intrinsically by the Asian bunch like us — is known for its sturdy and yet reputable image when it comes to building cars for the masses. Well, I mean, yes let’s forget all of the marque’s prevailing foibles and troubled past, and think why this brand means a lot to some. And subsequently, why it appeals to us enthusiasts. At times. Oddly.

To start off, I love the new Passat a lot. It’s no surprise that this serving of succulent sauerkraut in a D-segment saloon package is simply mind-boggling in its own right. An extremely worthy executive with lots of panache and verve. I’ve even said this before to Bobby that I will buy it over the new Audi A4, all because Ingolstadt’s latest offering is just plain vanilla. Whereas the Passat, in essence, is simply astounding.

Withal, now let’s move on to the Tiguan. Unlike its unique predecessor, the new kid on the block now musters a totally different approach. Like its aesthetic appearance, where it inclines itself to the latest design language. The older car was in fact more rounded at the edges but this time, the all-new model features a squarish and edgy look. A safe design I would say. Very typical of all VWs.

Beneath, it sits on the same modular chassis that’s used by the Golf. Known as the MQB platform. In a bid to maximise interior space, the engineers have fitted in a more compact dashboard that uniquely inches itself closer to the windscreen and slimmer seats.


But bringing back sauerkraut into mention, the Passat is one sampling that is done with an added glaze of fried onions and some potatoes on the side. Hence, making it one of my top pick in its category. But how about the other Volkswagen offerings? Well, some are just plain like the Jetta, or a bit spicier, like the GTi’s and such. Just like Porsiyon doner kebab. Served on a hot plate with grilled peppers alongside.

However, you can’t really go wrong with any Volkswagens. That’s just how they are. Going for a Polo? I would say it’s inoffensive. The Golf? Cracking hatch to drive. Touareg? The wise men’s choice cause it’s basically an Audi Q7 beneath at half the price. See! They’re all just good. Unless if you’re a yob that thinks about resale value then go look somewhere else.

Step inside the driver’s quarter and you’ll be greeted with a new 12.3-inch full LCD meter display, an electrically-adjustable seat and three-zone climate control. However, this features are only reserved for the range-topping Highline. The lower-end Comfortline on the other hand uses a conventional analogue meter cluster and manual air-conditioning controls; which I personally like due to its simple operation.

At scales, the new Tiguan also betters the older car in size as it boasts a 77mm longer wheelbase. Overall length has been increased by 60mm with an added 30mm width. And thanks to the smart modular platform that is thrown in with the use of lighter materials during construction, it also weighs in at 50kgs lesser than before.

Performance from the 1.4-litre TSi engine is respectable enough — pushing out 147bhp and 250Nm. Despite being implanted into a body that weighs more than a conventional Golf. Overtaking is done with ease, and thanks to the six-speed DSG gearbox; drivers can enjoy a seamless driving experience both at town and on the motorway.

Ride quality is good. While tackling some sweeping bends along the backroads of Tapah, it simply soaks up all assortments of road harshness. Be it a pothole, ripples or any typical broken surfaces. On smoother grounds, the Tiguan also returns a pliant ride feel with a touch of firmness. It handles surprisingly well despite possessing a slightly vague steering that lacks a little feedback.

In the end, the Tiguan remains a great effort that is left in the shadows of its extremely well-known competitors. Yes, we all know that most crossovers within this segment are no fun-to-drive machines, but fortunately — the Tiguan doesn’t string along with that ideology, making it one of go-to vehicles in the segment alongside the Mazda CX-5 if dynamics are priority.

On the refinement bit, you don't have to worry much as both engine and exterior noise are also well suppressed out from the cabin; instantly turning the Tiguan as a strong contender in the refinement-slash-ride comfort category.

Seating adjustments for both driver and front passengers are adequate, while rear occupants can enjoy the airiness inside, which isfurnished with a set of well-padded seats — with leather being used for the Highline and supple fabric-tucked benches for the Comfortline variant. Build quality is typical VW from every corner of the Tiguan, though there are some scruffy plastics being used at some areas.

While unloading our bags at the destination, it’s clear to see that the Tiguan scores extremely well in interior space and practicality. Besides the handy tray tables for people at the back, legroom space is good.Most families would love the large-boot opening that comes equipped with three individual flat-folding seats for added cargo. Thinking of hauling really bulky goods? Then don’t worry about space for that as the Tiguan will assist you by offering a whopping 1,655-litres worth of storage volume after folding the rear seats flat.

Yes, it is hard to pigeonhole the Tiguan out from your buying list. You’ll enjoy the great VW-built quality, adequate performance and acres of exceptional space inside. And thus, the Tiguan is a rather niche offering — which immediately makes it an unusual alternative that brings you some adversary within a crowd of commoners.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Engine inline-4, 1393cc, turbocharged

Power 147bhp at 5000rpm

Torque 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm

Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch DSG

Weight 1415kg

Power-to-weight N/A

Price RM148‍‍‍,990 (Comfortline) | RM168,990 (Highline)‍‍‍


video review by BOBBY ANG