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INDIA EXCLUSIVE: 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan India Review, First Drive

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2017 Volkswagen Tiguan India launch has finally happened after much wait and our first interactions is already here to tell you more about the SUV

Enchanting –

  • Part butch – part sophisticated design
  • Superlative chassis, brakes, engine
  • Comfortable 5-seater with a large boot
  • Features filled upto the brim

Unsatisfying –

  • No base or 7-seater variant
  • Could have made power

Believe or not, Volkswagen’s big ticket back into the country is this, the just launched VW Tiguan. With the Tiguan, VW is finally making its first attempt at premium category (let’s face it, the likes of Passat, and even the Phaeton weren’t exactly ‘big ticket’ ones, as far as market importance is concerned).  The sub-30 (18-30 Lakhs) Lakh SUV segment is where the latest concentration of the industry is centered, as the traditional SUV’s in the segment grew both in terms of size and price, there has been a rather strange void in the price market.

Every brand is set to come into the market segment and there are some that are already here. Tiguan aims to take down its competition such as the Tuscon, upcoming Compass.  Despite all players in the segment matching on paper in terms of specification, it will still be compared with the full-fledged ladder on frame on SUV such as the Isuzu MUX, Fortuner and Endeavour.

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However, the third scenario is that Volkswagen is saying they are going against the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Sooner or later it will compete with the potent XC40 that is coming from Volvo which is based on the marvelous XC90. By now, you must have guessed it right, this time, it is all about the competition. Pricing is key, feature list is crucial and it is brand value card which every manufacturer will play to make their product stand out. How is the Tiguan? We drive on the unique roads of Bombay which are good and bad at the same time to give you first impressions that we have had with this SUV, a product which is critical for VW in every way. Have they worked hard enough to impress you? Let’s find out!

Styling

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The design will be a mixed bag for some consumers. History has shown us that the butch and aggressive the SUV is, the more it has been sold. However, cars VW wants us to compare its Tiguan too are already doing well. So the soft roader SUV looks are here, it is quite wide and boxy and with a good stance on the road for its class thanks adequate height of the SUV.

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The Tiguan isn’t edgy or aggressive from the side profile but the sharp line running and flared wheel arches with cladding to make it look an proper butch SUV and add a lot of character. However, it is the front and rear that are imposing and look aggressive, thanks to the busy layout at both ends. The bumper and the front grille along with large wrap around head-lights with LED’s looks intimidating to an extent. The honeycomb grille, the large chrome garnish three slated grille is a touch straight from other VW premium cars.

Chunky LED tail-lights, sculpted tail-gate, two parted bumper with chrome and faux diffuser makes it look special. Overall, we like the concept and design and in this category and VW’s timeless approach towards every car they have ever produced in the country, this should do just fine.

Interior and Features

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It is a VW, thus the interior quality is top notch as always. Soft touch materials on the top dashboard along with good plastic quality on the upper half of the dashboard surely impress. We think the A/C vents are placed well and look quite good. The SUV has mild amount of cheap plastics on the lower half but that is something which will not put down anyone by a big margin, be it enthusiasts or consumers. Leather seats are of fairly good quality, fit-finish levels as expected, are excellent. We did notice some misaligned C-Pillar chrome strip that is embed into the rubber after a very closer look though.

Steering wheel is similar affair to present range of VW’s cars in India, you get a piano black finished flat bottom with leather wrapping and soft touch horn pad which is great to look and feel. Large 8-inch touch screen on offer dominates the dashboard and has all the connectivity options. Space in the front is a bit tight but at the back, it proves that it is a spacious 5-seater with enough shoulder room.  

Headroom is in abundance as well, legroom is above average and makes thing comfortable, but isn’t special enough at the price and size that the Tiguan has to offer. Sadly, you do not get adjustable rear seat like most of its rivals for recline. Center armrest, dedicated 12V socket, with heating and cooling from the rear a/c vents is a welcome touch at the rear. Aircraft inspired tray tables are here to add to the executive feel.

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Apple Car Play and Android Auto is on offer. We drove the Highline model which had a good sound system on offer with 8 speakers. Feature list is pretty deep for this SUV from VW as well. There is an electric sunroof, reversing camera, ambient lighting, keyless entry and start-stop button, easy open boot on offer on the Highline. The features mentioned before are not seen on the Comfortline.

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However, there is automatic gearbox, AWD, LED lights with DRL’s, 6 airbags, steering mounted controls, fully electric ORVM, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering, three zone climate control, drive mode selector, electric parking brake, auto hold, Self-sealing tyres, rain sensing wipers, power seats, heated seats and a sun shade holder is placed below and not on the top, as standard. As you can see, VW has loaded the car with every possible feature that almost surpasses its local competitors and does just fine with its international rivals.

Performance

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Diesel engine as we know is the famed 2.0 litre motor that makes 140 PS and 340 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to the fabulous 7-speed DSG gearbox. The gearbox is the very best offered by VW as the shifts are downright seamless and quick in any mode. Diesel motor feels a bit laggy under 1800 RPM, post that the turbo spools and there is linear kick as the SUV surges forward unlike its ladder on frame rivals which lack the same.

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The mid range is very punchy and we are sure it can easily do speeds above 150 km/hr with no fuss all day long. The NVH level are excellent, there is bare minimum road or wind noise in the cabin at any speed. Overall, there are no complains here as the low kerb weight than its rivals makes it peppier to drive, but it could have a higher tune of power to make it more special to drive. However, VW claims a 17 km/l mileage which is quite high and will let you know once we road test it and get you real time numbers.

Dynamics

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It is a AWD drive so there is grip all the time with the car and driven spiritedly, there is always sense of security with the SUV. However, there is body roll enough to be noticed but not so much that it ends unsettle anyone in the cabin. Ride quality is where VW scores full marks, you do sense the thuds but feel none of the broken roads and potholes in the car until unless really huge ones comes in your path where you will feel a big-bad thud in the cabin.

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A balance of slightly soft suspension and our uneven highway means it stays rock solid and absorb everything in its path at any given speed. Steering is quite precise at any given speed, feedback is just about average from it though. There is nothing full-blown enthusiastic about driving the Tiguan but it does not let the enthusiast within you down with its composed nature and decent feedback from the chassis. All around disc brakes are great and tremendous stopping power with a great bite from the pedal is seen with the SUV.

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan India Review, Verdict

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This isn’t the first time VW has made its entry to the premium market, which most of the market is under the influence of. This is because VW enters a market of premium SUV’s, a car type which is being most liked, aspired and bought today and hence it is important for the brand to make its mark in the segment. This particular market is getting crowded as well, almost as much as the small car market as you have three types of SUV’s to buy and choose from which come in various price brackets.

VW Tiguan comes in the bracket which is the most premium of the lot and certainly does impress with typical European car manufacturer traits. The car has the mechanically robust package, it is loaded to the gills with features, it has a design which should appeal to a certain market audience immediately and with a price tag which may seem a bit higher but it promises a badge, which is aspired by most. The Tiguan is no different than a typical VW and that is why it should be your next pick if you are in the market for a Rs. 35-40 Lakh SUV that can do it all.

Prices on-road Mumbai
Rs. 34,41,804
Rs. 38,54,625

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Tiguan India Review
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Space
  • Value
  • Quality
  • Safety
4.7

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