Cloud 9

Raymond Lai
22 Dec 2009

A road trip is about the journey as much as it is the destination

High life

It’s the school holidays once again and it’s time to take the good old family for a holiday. Well, you can fly off to a far destination, follow a tour or for those who love driving, you can bring the folks on a road trip.

Malaysia is obviously the most popular destination for road trips and recently, I tread myself to soothing Cameron Highlands in the Volkswagen Tiguan Sport. Wolfsburg’s small SUV is certainly well-equipped for the 500 plus odd kilometers drive to Cameron. It has the performance thanks to a 2-litre turbo motor with 200bhp and in the case of our car, it has the luxuries you need for a long drive like dual zone climate control, a panoramic glass roof, an infotainment system with an internal hard disk and more importantly, sat nav.

So the drive began on a laidback Friday afternoon for us. We ‘employed’ a one-stop strategy i.e. an overnight halt in KL. We left Singapore at about 2pm and by dusk, we’ve arrived on the outskirts of the capital city and treaded our way past the evening jams, depended on the Tiguan’s sat nav set (and a hand held Garmin one for back up!) and arrived at our hotel in Petaling Jaya still feeling fresh from the three plus hour drive. The Tiguan felt surefooted and stable at high speeds on the highway during the drive to KL despite its relatively tall height. The 2-litre TSI motor offers more than enough poke for cruising at three-figure speeds or for overtaking slower Kancils and Wajas.

The next morning, we left the hotel for Cameron at about 10am. Guided by the sat nav sets and the well-signposted road network, we drove ourselves back to the highway and headed north. 

The highway part of the journey wasn’t really an eventful one but the Tiguan managed to stretch its legs on this part of the drive as the highway was pretty short of traffic. We reached the exit of Tapah about an hour or so after we first set off. Exiting at Tapah will lead us to the south vicinity of the highlands via the ‘old’ route, known as route 59.

Alternatively, you can exit the expressway at Simpang Pulai, Ipoh further up north the highway and proceed via the ‘new’ route 145 to the top of Cameron Highlands.

Follow the tight, twisty and potholed route 59 and it’ll lead you to the highland’s most southern town, Ringlet in approximately an hour. The road can be a rather tiring and challenging one to drive on thanks to the less than perfect surface, less than flowing nature and the narrow width on some sections means that you’d have to constantly look out for oncoming and often speeding buses and lorries. 

The road gets better once pass the town of Ringlet though – the tarmac is smoother and the corners more flowing as we start to drive past some of the farms Cameron is so famed for.

We arrived at Tanah Rata as I was just about to enjoy the Tiguan’s capable handling on the smooth flowing road. Tanah Rata is the administrative capital of Cameron Highlands where the government offices, hospital and the district police station is located. The main bus station is also located here. Some jungle trekking and waterfall trails start from here but I’m not into trekking so we give it a miss and head straight into town for a well-deserved and much-needed lunch.

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Engine Capacity 1984cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 200bhp @ 5100rpm
Torque 280Nm @ 5000rpm
Power to Weight 127.4 bhp per ton


Acceleration 7.4s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 210 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type F4


Body Type SUV
(L x W x H)
(4427 x 1809 x 1686) mm
Wheelbase 2604 mm
Turning Circle 6 metres
Kerb Weight 1570 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 64 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs