IT”s not every road test that starts with a plea to keep your animals under control.
But having endured some 90 minutes of the Volkswagen Tiguan’s stop/start system in frequent use, I feel I must remonstrate with the owner of the pig that caused traffic mayhem on the M1 the other week. The ‘tail’ backs (sorry) had to be seen to be believed.
Ironically ‘Babe’ was playing on the iPod as we ground to a halt – I like a bit of Take That – and it was some considerable time before the traffic cleared. Hopefully with said porker on the way to a bacon slicing factory.
I have no idea how much fuel I wasted during that time but rest assured it would have been considerably less that those around me with their engines constantly running.
And while we’re on the subject of motorways, take a trip up or down one and you’ll find it well populated with lorries hailing from Eastern Europe who don’t tend to use their mirrors in the same way we do. So sitting in the chunkiness of a VW Tiguan gives you that extra bit of reassurance when Bogdan decides to change lanes with less warning than di Matteo got that he was no longer on Roman’s Christmas card list.
The cabin is a very well laid out environment, good all round visibility with supremely comfortable seats and a good driving position with good lumbar and side support.
The interior in this model was a little sombre, with dark but top quality plastics and dark seat trimming, but it was helped by the large panoramic sunroof (fitted as a £935 option) which lets the sun flood in. Only it didn’t, as it was dark and overcast for much of the time we had the car, but you get the idea.
Good clear and easy to read instrumentation greets the driver and you can only really describe it as a user friendly cabin, well appointed and uncluttered.
A very neat touch is the way the bottoms of the doors wrap round under the sill to keep it – and your trousers – clean, and it’s cornered the market in face vents – there are eight neatly arranged across the dash in the front cabin to keep you refreshed.
Tiguan has large wheels and tyres (17 inch with 235/55 tyres) but even on our long run the constant drone of the road surface was well subdued and therefore not a problem. Ride quality is generally good, especially in town use where Tiguan will be called into service delivering youngsters to their seats of learning or filling up the large boot area on a trip to the supermarket.
There’s a decent turn of speed from the 2.0 TDI diesel unit, coupled with the famed DSG auto box that VW are rightly praised for. For something of its size, it’s a responsive vehicle with well sorted underpinnings and steering that has a firm, precise feel to it.
Stop/start is fine in principle but in practice you need to anticipate a bit ahead, as it can take a second or so to click back into full running mode, and you don’t want to get caught out going for a gap out of a junction that suddenly shrinks because you haven’t moved off as quickly as you thought you might.
Tiguan went on sale four years ago now as VW’s first compact SUV but there’s nothing compact about the amount of space on offer, nor any paring down on the level of equipment and overall finish from its big brother stablemate Touareg.
Our test vehicle here came with standard 4MOTION four wheel drive, alloy wheels, air conditioning, an MP3 compatible CD player, ESP, curtain airbags as well as a host of other items like electronic park brake with auto hold. So, well equipped.
It’s one of those four wheel drive vehicles that is actually adept at travelling off road, even though there’s no array of extra switchgear to start playing with – just an off road setting with hill descent control. And it gives that added reassurance of better on road grip, making it an all round safer mode of transport.
That’s the wonderful thing about Tiguan…..
FASTFACTS: VW Tiguan Escape BlueMotion Technology 2.0 TDI 4MOTION; £27,700; 1968cc four cylinder diesel, 6 speed DSG box; 140ps@4200rpm, 320Nm@1750-2500rpm; Top speed 117mph, 0-62mph 10.2 secs; Fuel: urban 40.9, extra urban 51.4, combined 47.1; CO2: 158g/km; Three year/60,000 mile warranty.