Who has driven a Golf? “kee qiu”…. Who has driven a Golf GTi? “double Kee qiu”. They drive brilliantly don’t they? The Tiguan drives like a slightly taller, bigger GTi, Under ‘Sports’ mode, there is minimal roll (surely more than a GTi, due to its height), and weight transference when you flick the compact SUV around a series of bends. The permanent all-wheel drive 4MOTION system employed keeps the car in-check, effectively cancelling front-drive understeer. A rotary knob behind the gearshift lever provides controls for the 4MOTION, allowing users to set the drive for the kind of terrain that they encounter. While it is a ‘soft roader’, the Tiguan does boast hill-start and hill descent assist programming, electronic stabilisation, and even an electronic differential lock, for situations where the Tiguan might need to lock up opposing wheels to gain more off-roading traction. Not that you would need it here, but yeah…. Pressing down on the same rotary switch, changes the drive mode. Between the different suspension settings, there is very little difference to ride comfort, but handling does improve. Ride comfort by the way, is one of the best I have come across.
Powering the Tiguan is a familiar 2.0 turbocharged four, found in the GTi, but mated to VW’s new dual clutched 7-speeder. Get this! It is approximately 200kg heavier than the GTi, but it does a 6.5 second 0-100km/h... The GTi does 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds. All this, thanks to the new transmission, and its ability to plant all 220ps and 350Nm utilising all four wheels, onto the tarmac efficiently. Give the car the beans in ‘Sport’ mode, and you do also get rewarded with DSG farts during upshifts, much like the GTi too.
Steering feel is pretty good. The speed sensitive unit drops in more weight as the speed ticks up. And yes, there are the much needed paddle shifters for you to swap cogs, while keeping both hands on the wheel. The head up display is a very welcome item in the car, as you are able to just simply… focus.
And so the argument goes, as always, when it comes to buying a VW. We would agree that the car is expensive. A top-spec Nissan Qashqai sets you back at $123,300, and the Tiguan still costs more than the Honda CRV (which isn’t very pretty) but when stacking it up with premium badges, the Tiguan may be close in pricing to even a BMW X1, but what it offers in terms of practical space, interior refinement and equipment, just makes this more sensible. You are essentially buying some very good engineering here.