27 June 2024
Volkswagen Tiguan eTSI Review – Less Vroom, More Room

It may be down on power, but the new third-generation Volkswagen Tiguan adds more space and practicality to the mix, making it an easy choice for prospective buyers.

Volkswagen’s most popular SUV, the Tiguan. Believe it or not, this SUV even outsells the iconic Golf globally now.

Big shoes to fill then, for the new third-generation Tiguan, which promises to revolutionise without causing too many waves.

Let’s be honest, Volkswagen has had a bit of a rocky ride lately. Their ID launch models didn’t quite hit the mark, and some baffling ergonomic choices left us all scratching our heads.

But fear not, the new Tiguan arrives on the spanking new MQB Evo platform. This platform is designed to marry everything we’ve always admired about VW with cutting-edge technology. But, does it succeed?

Cat-A Friendliness

The Volkswagen Tiguan is now powered by a 1.5-litre engine producing 129bhp, meaning this new model can be registered here with a Category A COE.

Obviously, the Tiguan isn’t going to win any drag races. The 220Nm of torque is enough to get you moving, but if you’re running late, the sluggish throttle response and weak performance at higher RPMs might leave you gritting your teeth.

But, dial it back a notch, and the engine is incredibly refined; it’s more than happy to coast along with the engine shut off on the highway. Rocking a 7-speed DSG transmission, the Tiguan’s drivetrain delivers power smoothly when your foot calls upon it.

What About Handling?

With the aforementioned MQB Evo platform, the Tiguan feels nimble, diving into corners with the rear axle obediently following along. Grip is strong, handling is consistent, and body roll is impressively minimal for an SUV.

While it might not offer the thrill of a sports car, it’s one of the sharper handlers in its class.

However, this comes at the expense of comfort. The ride quality, especially at low speeds, leaves something to be desired; the Tiguan can feel quite boisterous over bumps and ruts.

Dialled Back, But Still Full Of Tech

Aesthetically, the new Tiguan has lost some of its predecessor’s rugged charm.

The sizeable grille is gone, replaced by more rounded details like the headlights and a less pronounced shoulder line.

If you’re a fan of the new design language seen in Volkswagen’s ID lineup but not ready to go fully electric, this new look might just win you over.

Have The Buttons Returned?

For those who keenly follow Volkswagen news, you might have scrolled straight to this section, eager for some juicy tea.

Volkswagen, known for its practical and sensible approach, seemed to throw caution to the wind with the Mk8 Golf and its various ID electric models, shoving almost every control, including the air-con, into a touchscreen back in 2020.

Well, the new Tiguan feels like a step towards redemption, albeit a cautious one. Yes, the gigantic 15-inch touchscreen still reigns supreme here. However, VW is now introducing ChatGPT-boosted voice commands to reduce how often you have to glance at the screen.

VW claims it’s learning from customer feedback and plans to reintroduce physical buttons to complement the touchscreens.

But Does It Work?

Well, the huge touchscreen is big enough to be in your field of vision and generally operates without fuss. We might still yearn for physical climate controls, but the illuminated sliders here do the job. Just be cautious not to press too long and accidentally blast the air con to its extremes.

There’s even a new touch-sensitive rotary dial, for easy access to volume, driving modes, and moods control. The screen is customisable, allowing you to keep your most-used shortcuts at the top, handy for quickly turning off overbearing safety systems.

Plus, its large size is perfect for reverse camera footage; if you still aren’t able to see the pillar you bumped into, it’s your fault not the car.

Voice assistant IDA is decent when tasked with a prompt, but we feel it is still a work in progress, promising updates as the technology evolves. For now, it handles simple commands in the car with ease, but more complex queries can be hit or miss.

It can fetch trivia from Wikipedia accurately, but ask it anything beyond cold facts, and it might struggle.

Big Enough For My Family?

Room is aplenty in the Tiguan. It hasn’t grown much from the second-generation, but boot space has increased by 37 litres, now offering 652 litres with the rear seats up, and you still gain an additional 1,000 litres with the seats down.

Leave the seats up, and there’s ample space for two adults, thanks to plenty of room for feet under the front seats and an extra 30mm in wheelbase length.

The bench slides forward and backwards, and the seat backs can recline. The quality is impressive too, with plush materials where your hands and eyes most often land and durable plastics where they don’t.

Sensible Reigns Supreme

It’s been an interesting few years at Volkswagen, but the Tiguan aims to bring the company back on track. It manages well, addressing ergonomic issues while integrating electrification and AI user interaction without making too many waves.

That’s the essence of the new Tiguan; while hybrids and EVs might dominate the sales charts, regular petrol engines remain on the menu, and hopefully, they are here to stay.

This mid-size SUV remains steadfastly sensible, choosing subtlety and practicality in a market where many competitors are vying for attention with bold designs and gimmicks.

If you’re looking for a reliable, no-nonsense vehicle for the family that won’t let you down, the Tiguan might just be the perfect fit.

Technical Specifications

2024 Volkswagen Tiguan Mild Hybrid

Engine: 1,498cc in-line 4 turbocharged, mild hybrid
Drivetrain: Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 129bhp
Torque: 220Nm
Gearbox: 7-speed DSG
0-100km/h: 10.6 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 198km/h
Fuel Economy: 14.9 km/litre (claimed)

Price: S$212,400 (Life), S$222,400 (Life Plus), both with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Volkswagen Singapore

Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

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