The newly launched Volkswagen Tiguan has received much positive attention from Malaysians, with Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) recently announcing it has ramped up production of the SUV to meet demand.

We had the chance to test drive both Comfortline and Highline variants before the launch with a drive up North to Ipoh.

Under the hood, both variants are powered by the same 1.4-litre TSI engine that sends 148hp and 250Nm of torque to a six-speed wet-clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), with differences being mainly aesthetic and functional rather than mechanical.

On the outside, the Highline comes with 18-inch alloy wheels against the Comfortline’s 17-inch ones, chrome roof rails, LED headlights and daytime running lights with Dynamic Cornering Assist and an electric tailgate, while inside, the Highline features leather upholstery, 12.3-inch Active Info Display, three-zone climate control, Park Assist 3.0, ambient lighting and an eight-inch touchscreen which supports navigation as well as a reverse camera.

The locally-assembled Tiguan’s exterior design is elegant, giving it an air of sophistication with its sharp, clean lines and angled shape, contributing to a more rugged look compared to its predecessor.

The Vienna leather seats in the Highline variant were comfortable, even over a long distance drive, but we found the fabric seats of the Comfortline to be a little too rough for our preference.

Being longer and wider than the previous generation Tiguan, it provides generous legroom and shoulder room, allowing us to stretch our legs in the front passenger seat and sit comfortably throughout the journey, and although it’s lower there is still ample headroom, and boot space is also impressive at 615 litres.

The backs of the front seats are equipped with foldable trays similar to those found in airlines to be used by rear passengers for their convenience, although we found the mechanism a little fiddly to use.

Driving experience was pleasant, and the SUV felt smooth on the road with suspension that was neither too soft nor too rigid, lending to a comfortable ride on both straight long highways or winding, hilly trunk roads.

Despite having only a 1.4-litre engine, the Tiguan didn’t feel underpowered; acceleration was immediate with hardly any lag in pickup when we stepped on the accelerator, and it effortlessly went up to high speeds without hesitation.

Its handling is good enough to give us confidence at corners – where although body roll can be felt, it wasn’t very substantial considering the size of the vehicle – as well as when overtaking traffic, during which it felt quite agile despite its height.

However, the wind noise became rather high at speeds of about 110km/h above, which we found quite disappointing as otherwise the cabin was quite silent.

Generally, we found the Tiguan to be pleasant to drive and a comfortable ride whether for short commutes or long distance journeys, especially in the leather-upholstered Highline variant for the latter.

Although the segment is currently dominated by Japanese automakers, this particular SUV seems like it may be able to compete well in the field, bringing something new to the table.

SPECIFICATIONS

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan

Price (RM) RM149,578 (Comfortline) and RM169,478 (Highline) OTR without insurance
Engine Type Turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder TSI
Displacement 1,395cc
Power 148hp @ 5,000rpm-6,000rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1,500rpm-3,500rpm
Gearbox Six-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG)
Safety Active bonnet pedestrian protection, anti-lock brake system (ABS) with brake assist (BA), anti-theft alarm system with immobiliser, interior monitoring and towing protection, central locking system with Safelock, Isofix, six airbags, electronic stability control (ESC)

GALLERY



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