First Drive: Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI — A Germanic Blend Of Flair And Practicality

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Dubbed the "People's car" in German, over the course of 80-years, Volkswagen amassed a reputation for producing people-cars including the iconic Beetle, Golf and Transporter (Van) to name a few.

Today, Volkswagen India is looking to revolutionise the Premium Compact SUV segment with the newly launched Tiguan.

The Tiguan made its global debut at the 2016 Frankfurt Motor Show. It is the second SUV bearing the VW badge to enter India after the Touareg, which made a fleeting visit to Indian shores a few years ago.

It takes an efficient and sturdy car to survive in the crowded Indian Premium Compact SUV market. Throw in well-established rivals from Toyota and Ford, and you are left wondering — does the Volkswagen Tiguan have what it takes to unseat its competitors?


The styling of the Tiguan is typically Germanic. It must be said that the restrained yet sophisticated design may not appeal to the image-conscious Indian SUV buyer.

Up front, the almost sharp-to-touch and beautifully engineered bonnet creases stand out as being particularly attractive. The elegant front grille features two chrome-finished slats along with one that is blacked out. Flanking the grille, are large LED headlamps with daytime running lights, underneath which, sit the LED cornering lamps.

The bold front bumper features a large central air intake and plays host to the fog lamps. To top it off, its electrically foldable side mirrors come with sleek turn indicators that can be adjusted from your seat.

On the sides, the Tiguan sports a high and well-connected shoulder line that begins at the front wheel arching and running through the door handles, before meeting the rear tail lights. The beefed-up wheel arches play host to 18-inch alloy, which are shod with Hankook tyres.

The rear end of the Tiguan features a small spoiler and raked rear window. The Tiguan's sleek tail lights with their F-shaped LED pattern add a bit of fun to an otherwise plain-Jane rear end.

Overall, the Tiguan's right proportions, sharp creases, solid surfaces and short overhangs make it an attractive SUV. The design is progressive and competitive for this segment.

Interior, Features, and Safety

While onboard, the Tiguan offers spacious seating for five, plenty of storage cubbies, A-1 luxury features, and logically laid out controls.

Headroom and legroom are available in all around abundance. Taller folks seated at the front can cramp things up a teeny bit for rear occupants.

The cabin is designed to redefine comfort in a classic German way; however, it definitely lacks the au courant looks of its competitors. Overall, the interior comfort will delight you.

Volkswagen has packed the Tiguan with a host of features including the large 12.3-inch Active Info Display, which comes with Android Auto and CarPlay as standard on both trim levels on sale in India. The infotainment display is connected by an 8-speaker entertainment system that can hold a tune quite well.

Other features on the Tiguan include the three-zone climate control and rear air conditioning vents. However, the standout feature on the Tiguan is the large panoramic sunroof lined with LED lights that make the cabin feel roomier and brighter when open.

The 615-litre boot should more than accommodate any amount of baggage for a long road trip. However, for the extra large variety of luggage, the rear seats slide up to 170mm and recline, increasing the boot space to 1665-litres.

Accessing the boot is as easy as waving a foot underneath the sensor on the rear bumper. Shutting it is even simpler, either move away from the Tiguan or press a button.

Volkswagen has also included additional storage space in the Tiguan such as under the front passenger seat and the armrest. The chilled glove box is another useful feature during hot and sultry Indian summers.

On the safety front, the Tiguan comes with six airbags, a reactive bonnet for pedestrian safety, self-sealing tyres, and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Other electronic safety aids include ABS, traction control, electronic differential locks, Engine Drag Torque Control, and Hill Descent Control. On the crash test safety scale, the Tiguan scores high — a maximum five-star rating and an excellent 96 percent adult occupant safety rating (Euro NCAP crash safety test results).

Engine, Performance and Drive

The 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, coupled with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a drivetrain that is an all-wheel drive produces 141bhp and 340Nm of torque.

The Tiguan's power delivery is linear with little turbo lag. In fact, 340Nm of torque is available from as low as 1750rpm and offers superior city-and-highway drivability. However, there is no escaping the shudder from the diesel engine on startup.

On open roads and cruise control engaged, the Tiguan cruises at 120kph at 2000rpm in top gear effortlessly, and can achieve top speeds of 200kph+ (higher-than-recommended speeds).

Off-highway drives, the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system assists tackling different terrains by tuning the traction control for maximum grip.

The Tiguan has four drive modes: snow, paved roads, off-road forays, and driver-programmed individualised off-road settings. To activate these drive modes, one can use the 4MOTION Active Control knob on the centre console.

The Tiguan offers a smooth and meticulously polished ride. This is thanks to the precise and naturally weighted steering, well-contained wind and engine noise, a smooth-shifting gearbox that selects the right gear steadily and a well-tuned suspension. In sports mode, however, the firmer suspension tuning and the larger wheels transmit additional impact harshness into the cabin.

The body control is well tied, and there is less pitching while veering and driving over long-wave undulations. Overall, the Tiguan goes about its drive with plenty of poise and feels suave and surefooted.


The Volkswagen Tiguan comes with a 2-year (unlimited kilometre) and 12-year anti-corrosion perforation warranty. You can also avail extended warranty for a fee.

The Facts

Tested 1968cc Diesel, Automatic, Highline TDI
Price Rs 40 lakh on-road (Bangalore)
Fuel Tank Capacity 71 litres
Mileage Est. 12kpl (City/Hwy/Off-road)
Mileage (ARAI) 17.06kpl
Fuel Tank Range Est. 850km
Power/ Torque 141bhp @ 4000rpm/ 340Nm @ 1750rpm
Top Speed Est. 210kph


Toyota Fortuner 2755cc Diesel, 4x4 Automatic Rs 40 Lakh
Ford Endeavour Trend 3198cc Diesel, 4x4 Automatic Rs 40 lakh


The mid-sized luxury SUV market is incredibly lucrative, and Volkswagen has a solid product in the form of the Tiguan, which offers an interesting combination of functionality and emotion. Having said that, the overall sales may be challenged by the premium price point and the varied strengths of its rivals.

Jobo Kuruvilla Thinks!

Every lifestyle deserves a car to match. And if you have a soft spot for SUVs that offer a commanding view of the road and a fine blend of performance, safety, tech and fuel economy — the Volkswagen Tiguan is a well-grounded mid-sized luxury SUV.

Did you know?

The name Tiguan, pronounced TEE-gwan, is a blend word of German words tiger ("Tiger") and iguana ("Leguan").

Read more on: #review #volkswagen
Story first published: Monday, June 19, 2017, 14:43 [IST]
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