The Volkswagen Tiguan continues to plough a lone furrow through the ranks of the small sports utility vehicle, one of the most competitive classes in the automotive world.

Since its Australian debut in 2008, Volkswagen has continually sought to make additions and improvements to the Tiguan to satisfy the demands of increasingly sophisticated buyers.

Recent upgrades to the range include introducing a more powerful diesel engine and unveiling a striking new flagship model. As well, all models now come standard with a rear-view camera, 6.5-inch colour touchscreen audio system, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, multi-function display and fatigue detection.

The beefed-up 2.0-litre TDI diesel is one of four engines, the others being petrol, and puts out 27 kW of power more than the previous 103TDI motor, with the new 130 kW powerplant boasting a potent 380 Nm of torque.


Fuel efficiency is a claimed combined urban / highway cycle of 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres.

The new flagship model, the 155TSI R-Line, keeps the same performance-oriented TSI engine featured in previous Tiguans and receives a stack of additional equipment, including 18-inch Mallory alloy wheels, Adaptive Chassis Control, Vienna leather-appointed seat upholstery and satellite navigation.

The 132TSI and 130TDI Tiguans can also be ‘R-Lined’ with the 18-inch Mallory alloys, upgraded exterior styling, sports suspension, gear-shift paddles and an R-Line cloth interior.

Prices start at $28,990, plus on-roads, for the 118TSI six-speed manual and hole out at $44,990 for the 155TSI R-Line seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The test Tiguan was the 130TDI with seven-speed DSG coupled with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.


Taking cues from its big brother VW Touareg, designers were given the task of making the Tiguan appear powerful and muscular. The result is strong wheel-housing shapes, a window line rising towards the rear, distinctive door and wing surfaces and typical VW C-pillars.

Inside, the five-door, five-seater is practical and versatile, with the rear 60:40 split bench adjustable forwards and backwards by up to 160 mm and also able to be reclined. Cargo capacity ranges from 395 to 1510 litres.

Comfortable front seats have height and lumbar adjustment, while under-seat drawers for driver and front passenger add to interior storage space. Front door pockets can take a sizeable drink bottle.

Volkswagen Tiguans come with the RCD510 6.5 inch colour touchscreen as standard, with all the controls for the driver designed to be intuitive and close at hand. Radio and navigation are at the top of the instrument panel in view of both driver and front passenger.

An upgraded 2.0-litre TDI turbocharged unit, which produces 130 kW at 4200 rpm and 380 Nm of torque between 1750 and 2500 rpm, comes with BlueMotion Technology, 4Motion all-wheel drive, and a standard seven-speed DSG gearbox.

BlueMotion technology incorporates visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption as well as Stop / Start, Coasting Function and Brake Energy Recuperation.

As with every Volkswagen, the Tiguan has daytime running lights, six airbags (front, front side and curtain airbags) and front head restraints as standard.

Volkswagen’s advanced technologies include Anti-lock Braking, Auto Hold function, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution, Anti-Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential Lock, Electronic Stabilisation Program and Engine Braking Control.

The upgraded 2.0-litre TDI is a quiet and smooth-running engine, far quieter than found in many large luxury saloons.

Also having a positive effect on noise reduction is the maintenance-free toothed belt drive for the camshaft.

Responsive behaviour – 8.5 seconds to 100 km/h with its seamless DSG gearshifts..

With VW claiming fuel efficiency of 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle, the best attained on test on the highway was 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres, while a tad over 10 litres per 100 kilometres was the best achieved in town work.

Information projected on to the 6.5-inch centrally situated touchscreen is at the mercy of reflected glare of bright sunlight, as well as sticky finger marks.

A folding table flips up from the backs of both front seats, but, beware, don’t lean on them too heavily as they can collapse into their put-away positions, with an accompanying embarrassing spillage on the cards. A sturdier clip is called for here.

Despite more power and a raft of added technology and convenience features, the VW Tiguan 130TDI DSG remains at the value-for-money end of the small SUV class.

Tiguan 118TSI: $28,990 (manual), $31,490 (DSG)
Tiguan 132TSI: $36,990 (DSG)
Tiguan 130TDI: $39,990 (DSG)
Tiguan 155TSI R-Line: $44,990 (DSG)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local VW dealer for drive-away prices.

Rear-view camera
6.5-inch colour touchscreen
Leather multi-function steering wheel
Multi-function display
Fatigue detection
Daytime running lights
Six airbags (front, front side and curtain airbags)
Safety front head restraints
Anti-lock braking system
Auto hold function
Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution
Anti-Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential Lock, Electronic Stabilisation Program, Engine Braking Control

SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen Tiguan TDI 2.0-litre turbo-diesel five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.968 litres
Configuration: In-line 4-cylinder turbo common-rail direct injection diesel with stop-start
Bore / stroke: 81.0:95.5 mm
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 4200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 380 1750-2500 Nm

Drivetrain: Front transverse 4-cylinder diesel engine with 7-speed DSG automatic transmission and 4MOTION all-wheel drive

Length: 4426 mm
Width: 1809 mm
Height: 1686 mm
Wheelbase: 2605 mm
Track: 1569 mm (front); 1571 (rear)
Ground clearance: 193 mm
Tare mass: 1642 kg
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity 395 litres (rear seatbacks up); 1510 litres (rear seat backs folded)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 64 litres
Turning circle: 12.0 m

Suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts with lower wishbone. Anti-roll bar (front); Independent, four-link with coil springs. Anti-roll bar (rear)
Brakes: Ventilated discs (front); solid discs (rear). Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP), Brake energy recuperation
Steering: Electro-mechanical power assisted rack & pinion
Wheels / tyres: Alloy wheels (Philadelphia) 17 x 7in; 235/55 R17 tyres

Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: 8.5 sec
Top speed: N/A

Fuel type: Diesel
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 6.2 litres per 100 km. CO2 emissions 164 g / km

Greenhouse Rating: 7.0 / 10
Air Pollution Rating: 6.0 / 10

3-year / 100,000 km

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