The Volkswagen Tiguan grows up. 

Story Bruce McMahon

Volkswagen’s Tiguan is one of the bestsellers across the world for the German car maker; a beacon for the brand. The latest version moves up in size from its predecessor, now classed as a medium-sized, rather than small, SUV. Longer and broader, the second-generation Tiguan also arrives with a swag of fresh dynamics and gear. 

This is a more complete tourer for all manner of tasks. VW sees the Tiguan as a ‘premium product for the people’, an SUV that sits between Japanese and Korean rivals and those Euro wagons such as BMW’s X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

Although lacking a full-size spare, the Tiguan has the comfort, capabilities and a dash of premium quality to attract a range of buyers. 

The Tiguans can be bought with front-wheel drive or VW’s excellent 4Motion all-wheel drive system. There is a six-speed manual gearbox for base versions, with the rest using automatic transmissions. 

There’s the choice of three petrol and two diesel engines with power outputs from 110kW to 162kW. Retail prices, before on-road costs, begin at $31,990 for a two-wheel drive Trendline. Some 50 percent of all SUVs sold are now two-wheel drive.

As with many German products there is an understated elegance to the wagon’s body, now 60 millimetres longer and 30mm wider. The new dimensions translate into a bigger, more comfortable cabin with good room for Australian passengers. There’s more knee room and a sliding rear seat allows for up to 615 litres of cargo space out back.

The driving position is excellent, offering a commanding view of the road ahead without compromising headroom. 

Standard gear includes VW’s ‘Front Assist with City Emergency Brake’ for avoiding low-speed collisions, rear-view camera, 20-centimetre screen for the infotainment system and rain-sensing windscreen wipers. It steers well on its 17-inch alloy wheels and the ride is quite compliant.

Drivers looking to venture further down the track – those looking for extra grip on road surfaces from good bitumen to rough gravel and dirt, from snow-covered roads to bulldust tracks – would better appreciate a Tiguan with 4Motion.VW’s all-wheel drive system has been around for some time and is one of the most refined and seamless of these on-demand systems. Sensing slip or loss of traction at the front wheels, a multi-plate clutch engages drive to the rear in milliseconds. This is a most reassuring all-wheel drive car when needed.

A suite of electronic aids, such as stability and traction controls, also help keep the VW headed in the right direction and a centre console dial can be used to change drive-train characteristics for different surfaces, adapting engine and transmission responses to suit the terrain.

The hero wagon here could be the Tiguan Comfortline, with 4Motion, seven-speed auto and 132kW petrol engine – a vehicle for all seasons and priced from $41,490.

The two-litre engine’s maximum torque of 320Nm can’t match the 400Nm found with the diesel 140TDi, or that motor’s 140kW, but the petrol power plant is more responsive across the rev range, more eager to get on with business. 

VW claims the 132TSi will return 7.5L per 100 kilometres compared to the diesel engine’s 5.9L per 100km, but it costs an extra $8500 to buy into the 140TDi Highline and petrol fuel is a cheaper option in many parts of Australia.

The middle-class Tiguan Comfortline versions do not have quite the equipment list of Highline models but feature an extended range of standard equipment over the base Trendline, including satellite navigation, three-zone air-conditioning, folding tables on the back of the front seats and more storage spots.

VW is looking for strong interest in this latest Tiguan SUV, ready for battle in an ever-growing market segment. It offers a deal of promise for the German factory and the Australian family.

Volkswagen Tiguan, two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, petrol and diesel engine options, from $31,990 to $49,990. For more information phone 1800 607 822 or go to

This story is from Issue #112

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2017