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A true all-rounder

VW do it by the book and come up with a truly usable, solid SUV, says Pierre Fava.

Without argument the compact SUV market is dominated by the Nissan Qashqai when looking at this segment from an entry level point of view. But what is the choice for buyers who are looking for something else,something more up-market and having all the characteristics of an SUV and family or business car put together?

The choice would then fall on the Mazda CX5, Ford Kuga, Renault Kadjar, Honda CRV, VW Tiguan, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque.

Here we would be looking at cars coming from many manufacturers, also including some premium marques but more importantly from VW which lies comfortably in between.

So what does VW do differently than others?

For starters the Tiguan ticks all the right boxes and VW offers a car that is a true all-rounder, having so many attributes and a build quality that is hard to beat. To attract car buyers that are also looking for models coming from producers of cars other than the premium marques, VW is offering the Tiguan at a starting price of €29,900 and this model comes very well equipped with all the necessary extras and much more.

When you are sitting inside the car the quality of the materials used for the door handles and also the steering wheel can be instantly felt. The driving position is also very good while the all-round outside view is impressive.

The original Tiguan was already a very good car but VW is now offering a more spacious model using better materials and improved efficiency. The car is designed for on-road use and offers plenty of space both inside the cabin and luggage space, to take five occupants and their luggage.

For those buyers who are looking for something to go off-road with, then the car can be specified with the 4-Motion set-up that will offer all the off-road ability that would be required for the normal user.

The car on test, which was a Trendline version, came with a 2.0-litre TDI Bluemotion engine producing 115bhp and 125g/km of CO2. This engine was coupled to a six-speed manual transmission which proved to be very versatile and easy to use. Rest assured that the 115bhp are enough to move this car around efficiently even when fully loaded with passengers.

The interior of the car is dominated by the eight-inch TFT screen which offers all the information you would require about the car

The power is offered very low down in the rev range and the engine is very torquey – that said, it produces very little noise even for a diesel. Obviously VW offers an array of engines depending on individual needs and these can also be coupled to a DSG auto transmission and 4-Motion drive set-up.

The interior of the car is dominated by the eight-inch TFT screen which offers all the information you would require about the car. All the entertainment and Bluetooth connectivity are controlled from here. The Tiguan comes equipped with a park assist system which gives you an acoustic and visual assessment for both front and rear obstacles. The good thing about this VW system is that you don’t need to engage reverse for it to be activated – the system is activated even when you get close to an object with the screen dividing into two and displaying the parking mode on the right hand side of the screen. This is a very ingenious system and should prove to be an asset for all drivers.

The dashboard is made of soft materials which look and feel very qualitative and both the steering wheel and gear knob are covered in leather. The steering-mounted controls are particularly useful when answering a call while driving. The Bluetooth was easy to use – thumbs up to VW as many cars have a fiddly and at times awkward system to set up and use. The Tiguan offers very supportive seats that are also adjustable for height while the steering wheel is adjustable for both reach and height. Finding a comfortable driving position should be an easy task for most drivers.

The Tiguan comes with a 20cm ground clearance and a ride height that is very convenient for getting in and out of the vehicle – at the same time, the car’s clearance is adequate for the occasional picnic or when driving through flooded roads.

The car on test came with 17-inch wheels which are an ideal diameter for a car of this size as they offer a ride quality that is very comfortable over our somewhat rough roads. This layout may not be sportive enough for some and these can opt for 18- or 19-inch wheels which are available as an optional extra.

An R-Line option is also available – this transforms the Tiguan into a sporty car with upgraded wheels, a sportier interior and sportier front and rear bumpers.

I was impressed by the build quality and superior feel of the interior and the overall excellent outside visibility. The new Tiguan should definitely be on the list of anyone considering to buy a car in this class. The overall dynamics,  space and sheer comfortable ride should impress even the most demanding of drivers. For those who have safety in mind the Tiguan comes equipped as standard with 10 airbags and a start/stop system with regenerative braking.

A very cool feature is the electromechanical parking brake which requires no driver interaction – perfect for those drivers who occasionally forget to use the handbrake. The only let down, in my opinion, is that keyless entry comes as an optional extra on the model tested and although the car came with central locking you still have to use a key to start the car. But that is a minor niggle because overall, this car delivers.

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